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Dalkeith, East Kirk, Church Of St Nicholas

Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (15th Century), War Memorial (20th Century)

Site Name Dalkeith, East Kirk, Church Of St Nicholas

Classification Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (15th Century), War Memorial (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) The Old Parish Church; Dalkeith Kirk; Old Kirk; The East Parish Church; Collegiate Church Of Dalkeith; War Memorial Window

Canmore ID 53417

Site Number NT36NW 11

NGR NT 33258 67442

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/53417

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Midlothian
  • Parish Dalkeith
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District Midlothian
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT36NW 11.00 33258 67442

NT36NW 11.01 NT 33280 67442 Church

(NT 3327 6744) Collegiate Church (NR) (remains of)

OS 1:1250 map (1967)

The SDD state that Dalkeith parish church was built about 1350 and enlarged about 1416-20. Originally a chapel, dedicated to St Nicholas, it was made collegiate in 1406 and became the parish church in 1467. The E part of the chancel was partitioned off about 1590, its roof collapsing about 1770. The rest of the church, which is still in use, was repaired at various times, and thoroughly restored in 1851-4. The choir (scheduled) which has not been restored, is now very ruinous. Within it is a monument, apparently not in its original position, in the form of an oblong stone table on which recline two weather-worn effigies.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1897; RCAHMS 1929, visited 1915; D E Easson 1957; SDD List 1964

Description correct.

Visited by OS (BS) 30 October 1975.

NT 3327 6744 A watching brief was undertaken at St Nicholas Church in March 2005 during the excavation of four post-holes, part of a programme of restorative works on and around the Morton Monument ( ), an ancient memorial structure situated in the ruinous 15th-century choir of the old Collegiate Church. The post-holes were intended to hold the supports for a protective canopy over the newly restored monument.

At the time of the excavations the main part of the monument was off-site undergoing restoration, leaving only a large foundation slab in situ. The new post-holes, all of which would measure 400mm square by 500mm deep, were positioned at the four corners of the foundation structure.

The material below the monument slab was excavated in 1963 prior to the laying of a new floor and foundation slab, which may account for the layer of concrete seen 350mm down in two of the trenches, suggesting that this material only lay between the foundation slab and the S wall. Additionally, the lack of human remains, other than a few small fragments, may indicate the scale of the clearance work here 40 years ago.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: Kenneth Ferguson & Partners.

D Stewart 2005.

Architecture Notes

NMRS REFERENCE:

Architect: David Bryce 1852 (restoration)

John Adam making elevation and section of fitting up Duke's Gallery 2 March 1757 and visits church to estimate on repairs 1752/3

William Burn & David Bryce 1847 - designs for addition

EXTERNAL REFERENCE:

National Library: Vol. 1 No. 10 and Vol. II Nos. 35, 36 and 38

"Water Colour Sketches" by Thomas Brown, Advocate

Reference "Adv. MSS 34.8.1-3"

EXTERNAL REFERENCE:

1763, April 22. Letter by John Adam (Architect), Edinburgh, to Archibald Campbell, W.S., certifying that the steeple of Dalkeith Church was in a very bad condition when he visited it in 1752 and 1753: and that after the 1753 visit he and other tradesment present recommended that it should be taken down.

SRO. GD224/390/2/17

Activities

Publication Account (1998)

The church of St Nicholas figure 19.A has a strong visual impact on the townscape figure 10. First built in the latter part of the fourteenth century (see p 20), it was created a collegiate church in 1405, and underwent considerable change during the next decade. The Reformation, rebuilding, political events of the seventeenth century and major reconstruction in the nineteenth century all had an effect on the church. Only a little remains of the original Gothic building to testify to its early grandeur. This includes the heavily buttressed choir, now badly damaged by weathering, and a few fragments of the nave. In the old choir can still be seen the Morton Monument figure 7, with the recumbent effigies of James, first earl of Morton, who died in 1498 and that of his wife, Joanna, daughter of James I. The choir was seen as a testimony to idolatry after the Reformation and was blocked off from the main body of the church, c 1590.

Rebuilding of the western portions then commenced, with the church being used as a stable by Cromwell 's troops in 1650. The interior was much altered with the addition of lofts to seat the incorporated crafts of the town, particularly in the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (see pp 32- 3). A reminder of these times is the 1665 banner of the Incorporation of Hammermen, still within the church. The Calderwood Monument is sited on the south-west wall, in memory of William Calderwood, minister of Dalkeith from 1659 to 1680. In the sacristy, the Buccleuch family burial vault, with its lead-studded coffins, may still be viewed. Of the early church only a few remnants survive, such as the south porch and the piers in the nave. This is a result of the fact that the parish church, from 1841 known as the East Church (after the construction of the overflow West Church in Old Edinburgh Road), underwent radical recasting and reorientation in 185 1- 5 by William Burn and David Bryce, including the addition of a west gallery in 1885 and the construction of a new steeple in 1888.

The choir, the only part to avoid restoration in the mid nineteenth century but now becoming increasingly ruinous, is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Extensions, alterations and restorations over the centuries mean that structural elements of earlier phases of the church, including the original chapel, may be preserved within the present building. Indeed, parts of the south porch and the piers in the nave survive from the original church. Other elements may also have been incorporated into the fabric itself, or may equally survive as foundations sealed below the present floor levels. The position of the church is interesting as is stands slightly skewed in relation to the present alignment of the High Street, and its graveyard almost seems to jut out into the street. Kirkyard boundaries often change, so the possibility that medieval burials might extend out into the street should be considered.

Information from ‘Historic Dalkeith: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1998).

Watching Brief (March 2005)

A watching brief was undertaken at St Nicholas Church in March 2005 during the excavation of four post-holes, part of a programme of restorative works on and around the Morton Monument, an ancient memorial structure situated in the ruinous 15th-century choir of the old Collegiate Church. The post-holes were intended to hold the supports for a protective canopy over the newly restored monument.

At the time of the excavations the main part of the monument was off-site undergoing restoration, leaving only a large foundation slab in situ. The new post-holes, all of which would measure 400mm square by 500mm deep, were positioned at the four corners of the foundation structure.

The material below the monument slab was excavated in 1963 prior to the laying of a new floor and foundation slab, which may account for the layer of concrete seen 350mm down in two of the trenches, suggesting that this material only lay between the foundation slab and the S wall. Additionally, the lack of human remains, other than a few small fragments, may indicate the scale of the clearance work here 40 years ago.

Sponsor: Kenneth Ferguson & Partners.

D Stewart 2005

Kirkdale Archaeology

Project (February 2014 - July 2014)

A data upgrade project to record war memorials.

References

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