Heriot Parish Church

Heriot Church, exterior, from north

Summary description

Largely rebuilt in 1804-5, and again in 1875.

Historical outline

Dedication: unknown

The early history of the parish and church of Heriot is utterly obscure.  What appears to be the first surviving reference to the church is a note of its dedication by Bishop David de Bernham on 6 March 1245.(1)  It was an independent parsonage when it was recorded as Herihot in the rolls of the papal tax-collector in Scotland in 1275, assessed at a substantial 51s 8d in the first year.(2)  On 10 June 1285, the chapter of St Andrews confirmed the grant of the church to the monks of Newbattle made by Roger de Quincy, earl of Winchester (d.1273), and his daughter Elena de la Zouch, and the annexation of the parsonage fruits to the abbey in proprios usus made by William Fraser, bishop of St Andrews.(3)  The bishop reserved the right of collation of the vicar, to whom a portion of £20 annually and twenty acres of land for his support was assigned.  A quarter of a century later the vicarage, too, was annexed to the abbey.  On 21 November 1309, Bishop William Lamberton gave a warrant to the abbot and monks of Newbattle to annexe the vicarage of Heriot and apply the fruits to the costs of maintaining the abbey’s fabric, but without harming religious life at Heriot.(4)  On the same day, Lamberton issued a mandate to the rural dean of Haddington to induct the monks or their proxy in the vicarage, and to defend their future possession of it and of the fabric of the church.(5)  This whole process had been made possible by the resignation of William Blare, vicar of Heriot, of his charge into the hands of the bishop.(6)  Both parsonage and vicarage thereafter remained annexed to the abbey, being valued at the Reformation at £53 6s 8d.(7)

Notes

1. A O Anderson (ed), Early Sources of Scottish History, ii (Edinburgh, 1922), 525 [Pontifical offices of St Andrews].

2. A I Dunlop (ed), ‘Bagimond’s Roll: Statement of the Tenths of the Kingdom of Scotland’, Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi (1939), 33, 56.

3. Registrum S Marie de Neubotle (Bannatyne Club, 1849), no.59.

4. NRS GD40/1/30.

5. NRS GD40/1/31.

6. NRS GD40/1/29.

7. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 102.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Granted to Newbattle by Elena de la Zouche, daughter of Roger de Quincy c.1285. A perpetual vicarage was set up but it was annexed in 1309; the fruits thereafter were with the abbey. The cure was a vicar pensionary.(1)

[No references to the church in the pre-Reformation records]

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church parsonage and vicarage with Newbattle, set for £53 6s 8d.(2)

1582 (20 Dec) Presbytery of Dalkeith enquiries in the estate of the church - the minister is no longer able to reside at the church due to a dispute between Robert Blaikie and Thomas Andmosan which led to the shedding of blood (inside the church).  The state of the church is described as lamentable and in the absence of the minister a certain John Bennett is ministering to the congregation [it is not clear why the minister cannot return; he is not named but seems to have been connected to one of the two groups involved in the violent feud].(3) On 27 Dec Robert Blackie compears infront of the Presbytery and is reprimanded for the shedding of blood, John Bennet is warned to ‘keep himself quiet’ and to avoid the parish church.(4)

1588 (8 May) Letters of admission by Mr David Lyndesay, commissioner, with consent of the presbytery of Dalkeith, in favour of Mr John Bennat as minister at Heriott, on presentation by Mark Ker, Lord of Newbothill.(5)

1594 (21 Mar) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Dalkeith found the fabric to be ruinous, and ordinance made for the repairing of the church and for providing a manse for the minister from a local taxation.(6)

1627 (16 May) Report on the parish by the minister (William Calderwood) describes the church as formally under the patronage of the abbey of Newbattle, and now under lay patronage of the heirs of the Laird of Borthwick. Calderwood asks for some lands from the parish of Stow to add to his parish (as they come and are buried in his church anyway).(7)

1633 (13 Sep) A visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Dalkeith finds the minister to be acceptable, but notes concerns over the seats in the church. The minister presents an act of session writ within which he was granted the liberty to build 4 seats (Mr Cranston has one already built). The report also notes that the kirk yard dykes are yet to be built. A stent is organised to fund the dykes.(8)

1643 (1 June) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Dalkeith; the minister was approved (William Calderwood). The minister desired the reparation of the church and of the church yard dykes and that a bell might be hung up. All the heritors agreed the necessity of the reparation and ordered a stent.(9)

1655 (26 Apr) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Dalkeith; the minister states that it is necessary to repair the kirk yard dykes and the bell hangings.(10)

1658 (10 Aug) Visitation of the church anent the seats; Lord and Lady Borthwick to get the whole east gabell.(11)

1685 (3 Nov) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Dalkeith finds the fabric somewhat ruinous by the want of slates, and the church yard being altogether unbuilt. The heritors agree to set about speedily on a repair of the church. Patrick Pettiwade, mason, James Cleuch, wright, commissioned to mend the ruinous manse.(12)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Alexander Hunter, 1791): ‘The church is an old and infirm building. It is scarcely safe to perform public duty in it. ... It is probably the most shabby and miserable place for divine service in Scotland’.

‘The old bell is rent, it has the inscription Maria Vocor, A Dni MCCCCCXVIII, Jhonn Davies’.(13)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Robert Court, 1835): ‘The parish church was rebuilt in 1804’.(14) [old bell still present in church]

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 81.

2. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 102.

3. NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1582-1630, CH2/424/1, fol. 54.

4. NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1582-1630, CH2/424/1, fol. 58.

5. NRS Papers of the Kerr Family, Marquises of Lothian, GD40/14/9.

6. NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1582-1630, CH2/424/1, fol. 313.

7. Reports on the State of Certain Parishes in Scotland, pp. 70-74.

8. NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1630-1639, CH2/424/2, fol. 36.

9. NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1639-1652, CH2/424/3, fols. 104-105.

10. NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1652-1662, CH2/424/4, fol. 177.

11. NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1652-1662, CH2/424/4, fols. 352-353.

12. NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1673-1688, CH2/424/5, fols. 271-273.

13. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1791), xvi, 53.

14. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1835), i, 203.

Bibliography

NRS Papers of the Kerr Family, Marquises of Lothian, GD40/14/9.

NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1582-1630, CH2/424/1.

NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1630-1639, CH2/424/2.

NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1639-1652, CH2/424/3.

NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1652-1662, CH2/424/4.

NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1673-1688, CH2/424/5.

Cowan, I.B., 1967, The parishes of medieval Scotland, (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh.

Donaldson, G., 1949, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, (Scottish History Society), Edinburgh.

Kirk, J., 1995, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, (British Academy) Oxford.

New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, Edinburgh and London.

Reports on the State of Certain Parishes in Scotland, Made to his Majesty’s Commissioners for Plantation of Kirks, 1835, ed. A. MacGrigor (Maitland Club), Edinburgh.

Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, ed. J. Sinclair, Edinburgh.

Architectural description

Heriot was granted to the Cistercian abbey of Newbattle by Lady Elena de la Zouche, the daughter of Roger de Quincey, a grant confirmed by Bishop William Fraser in 1285. Provision was made for a vicarage perpetual, but that was annexed to the Tironensian abbey of Kelso in 1309, after which the cure was served by a pensionary vicar.(1) Bishop David de Bernham carried out one of his dedications here on 6 March 1245.(2)

By the later sixteenth century both the material and spiritual condition of the church appear to have been in a declining condition. On 20 December 1582 it was said that the minister was unable to reside in his parish because of a dispute between two of his parishioners, while the church was said to be in a lamentable state.(3)

The situation had not improved by 1594, when a visitation by the presbytery on 21 March found the church to be ruinous.(4) There may have been some improvement a century later, however, when on 3 November 1685, it was little more than problems with the slating that called for attention.(5)

But things had again deteriorated by 1791, when it was said:

The church is an old and infirm building. It is scarcely safe to perform public duty in it. It is neither dry, nor decently seated. It is, perhaps, the most shabby and miserable place of accommodation for divine service in Scotland. The heritors, however, have just met and agreed to make some small repairs upon it; among which there is to be a new bell, the old one [dated 1518] being rent.(6)

In fact the church was to be substantially rebuilt, rather than repaired, in 1804-5,(7) by the mason Charles Sanderson, and in 1835 it was said ‘were it lathed and made free from damp, [it] might be considered a neat, cleanly place of worship’.(8)  Somewhat perversely, that account went on to bemoan that ‘the walls of the former church were much more substantial than those of the present, and would, with little repair, have been in every respect better’.

There was to be yet another phase in the church’s structural history, when it was wholly or partly rebuilt, by James Maitland Wardrop of Wardrop and Reid, in 1875.(9) As now seen, it is constructed of pink rubble with buff dressings, but with a harled west wall that may have been retained from the previous building, as may also some of the furnishings.

Of a basically rectangular plan, which may partially perpetuate the layout of the medieval and later buildings, in its final state the church was afforded enhanced architectural presence by shallow gabled transeptal projections close to the west end. In addition there is a north porch in the angle against the north-west transept, a gabled bellcote on a broad turret at the centre of the east wall, and an irregular grouping of vestry and associated structures against the south-west transept.

The style of this work is English mid-thirteenth century. There are single trifoliate-headed windows to the main body, pairs of lancets in the south transept and west wall (the latter with a cinqefoil above) and a three-light geometric-traceried window in the north transept.

Along the south wall are three memorials: that at the centre being an arched and gabled composition apparently contemporary with the church. That towards the east end is an imposing mid-eighteenth-century design flanked by volutes and with a winged angel head in the pediment; the inverted egg-and-dart border suggests a misunderstanding of pattern book sources. Internally the church is covered by a ceiling of polygonal profile with arched braces.

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish record Society), 1967, p. 81.

2. Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, Edinburgh, 1922, vol. 2, p. 521.

3. National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1582-1630, CH2/424/1, fol. 58.

4. National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1582-1630, CH2/424/1, fol. 313.

5. National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1673-1688, CH2/424/5, fols 271-273.

6. Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-99, vol. 16, p. 53.

7. National Records of Scotland, GD/135/Box 104/11/6-13.

8. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 1, 203.

9. Colin McWilliam, The Buildings of Scotland, Lothian, Harmondsworth, 1978, p. 250; Kitty Cruft, John Dunbar, Richard Fawcett, The Buildings of Scotland, Borders, New Haven and London, 2006, pp. 370-71.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Heriot Church, exterior, from north

  • 2. Heriot Church, exterior, from south

  • 3. Heriot Church, exterior, from north west 1

  • 4. Heriot Church, exterior, south wall, monument

  • 5. Heriot Church, interior