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Lasswade, Old Parish Church And Churchyard

Church (13th Century), Churchyard (Medieval) - (Post Medieval), Gravestone (16th Century), Gravestone (15th Century)

Site Name Lasswade, Old Parish Church And Churchyard

Classification Church (13th Century), Churchyard (Medieval) - (Post Medieval), Gravestone (16th Century), Gravestone (15th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Old Kirk; Kirkyard; Newton Church

Canmore ID 53450

Site Number NT36NW 24

NGR NT 30178 66106

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/53450

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project

Lasswade 1 (St Edwin), Midlothian, cross-arm fragment

Measurements: H 0.23m, W 0.28m, D 0.13m

Stone type: sandstone

Place of discovery: NT 3017 6610

Present location: National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh (X.IB 21)

Evidence for discovery: found re-used in the ruins of the thirteenth-century church in or before 1867 when it was donated to the museum.

Present condition: broken and worn.

Description

This is most likely to have been the left-hand arm of a free-standing cross, ornamented in relief on the two main faces. It is of cusped and square-ended form. Within a plain flatband moulding, face A bears the hand of the crucified Christ with a nail through it, and face C contains an animal whose tail curves between its hind legs. Its head shows a round eye and triangular ear and an elongated tongue protrudes from its wide-open jaws.

Date: tenth or eleventh century.

References: ECMS pt 3, 423-4.

Desk-based information compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project

Lasswade 2 (St Edwin), Midlothian, carved fragment

Measurements: H 0.28m, W 0.41m, D 0.10m

Stone type: sandstone

Place of discovery: NT 3017 6610

Present location: National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh (X.IB 20)

Evidence for discovery: found re-used in the ruins of the thirteenth-century church in or before 1867 when it was donated to the museum.

Present condition: broken and worn.

Description

This fragment of a larger slab is carved in relief on one face only with a panel containing a quadruped with long tail curving up and over its back. Behind it is part of a panel of diced work.

Date range: eleventh century.

References: ECMS pt 3, 423-4.

Desk-based information compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Archaeology Notes

NT36NW 24.00 30178 66106

NT36NW 24.01 NT 3018 6610 Cross; Stones: Sculptured

(NT 3018 6610) Church (NR) (remains of)

OS 6" map (1968)

The old parish church of Lasswade which was dedicated to St Edwin was built in the early 13th c. It was allowed to become ruinous after 1793 when a new church was erected (at NT 3012 6612). It consisted of a single oblong chamber 20' in width, with a tower 16' square at the W end. The aisle, on the N, was preserved and converted into a mausoleum in the 17th century Henry Dundas, First Lord Melville, is buried in it. W of it is the mausoleum of the poet Drummond of Hawthornden (died 1649): this was restored in 1892 when a medieval floriated finial cross, presumably from the old church, was erected above the entrance. The tower fell in 1866, and now all that remains of the rest of the church is a 13th century fragment of the S wall.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1896; RCAHMS 1929, visited 1920; H Scott 1915

The present remains of the church are as described. Though considerably ruined, the existing ivy-covered walls are in fair condition. There is a striking Transitional window in the N wall of the N aisle. A modern burial vault on the S appears to be on the foundations of the early choir, and a fragment of the S wall of the nave is to be seen W of this vault.

Visited by OS (JLD) 1 September 1954

In the 19th century two sculptured stones were found in the ruins of the church. One (Royal Museum of Scotland [RMS] IB 21) is a side-arm from a free-standing cross which is carved in relief with, on the front, the Saviour's hand pierced by a nail, and, on the back, a beast; the other (RMS IB 20), which is also carved in relief, bears a four-legged beast and a border of diced work.

J Allen and J R Anderson 1903; RCAHMS 1988.

Architecture Notes

NMRS REFERENCE:

This church was demolished 1955/56. Information from Demolitions catalogue held in RCAHMS library.

EXTERNAL REFERENCE:

Scottish Record Office:

Report on the condition of the Church by George Paterson (-D.1789) and William Robertson (-), architects. Consideration by the Presbytery of the alternate plans and estimates for extensive repairs or for a new Church.

1774 GD164/Box 40/286

Plans and estimate for the repair of the Church. The Presbytery accepted Mr. Paterson's plan to cut off the 3 Arches from the West end of the Church and take in a space from the East. The west Gavel was to be brought forward to the Hammermen's Loft.

Estimate #263. 3. 0.

It was agreed to employ Messers. Paterson and Young for the work.

Extracts of a Decree of Presbytery of Kinghorn.

1774 GD164/Box 40/286

Activities

Field Visit (7 June 1920)

Parish Church, Lasswade.

In the old churchyard, which lies on the same steep bank above the village as the modern cemetery, but slightly to the eastward of it, is the roofless ruin of a north transeptal aisle. Now a mausoleum, it has survived the destruction of the rest of the early 13th-century church, which stood to southward and is now represented only by a portion of the south wall.

The aisle is an oblong structure of 17th century date and measures externally 23 feet from north to south by 20 ¼ feet from east to west. The walls are of rubble and the back-set dressings indicate that the structure was harled. The north gable contains a lofty quasi-Gothic window of "plate" tracery, comprising a lancet doublet, transomed, and having a vesica light in the mid spandrel. The jambs are grooved for glazing, the arrises are chamfered, and the margins back-set. High up in the gable is a small square window. The east wall contains the entrance, a lintelled doorway with splayed arrises on jambs and lintel. On the lateral walls a Renaissance cavetto returns as an eaves-course. This aisle was the burying place of the Clerks of Eldin. West of it lies the mausoleum of the Drummonds of Hawthornden, which was restored in 1892, when a medieval floriated finial cross, presumably from the old parish church, was erected above the entrance.

EFFIGY. South-east of the Eldin aisle there lies exposed to the weather a 15th-century effigy of a knightly figure clad in plate armour. The figure is lying on its back; the head rests on a folded napkin over an oblong cushion which has a tassel at each corner. The helmet is oval and is attached to a gorget. The body armour comprises a cuirass with laminated epaulieres, and brassarts with coudieres, which terminate at the wrists, leaving the hands, which are folded conventionally on the bosom, exposed. Below the cuirass, a skirt of steel taces protects the lower trunk, and at its edge is a richly ornamented baldric, below which on the dexter side are seen three points of a mail hauberk, and from which is suspended, on the sinister side, a short sword with slightly depressed quillons, serrated hilt, and rounded pommel. The lower limbs are clad in rounded cuisses, with shaped genouilliéres, codpiece, and keel-shaped jambards. The feet, which are mutilated, but appear to be clad in laminated sollerets, rest on a mutilated and diminutive lion couchant; at the feet there is a suggestion of a mantle. The effigy is 5 feet 11 ½ inches in length. It is fractured at the waist.

RECUMBENT SLAB. In a rubbish heap south of the Eldin aisle is a 16th-century slab, 6 ½ feet long and 2 feet broad, bearing an incised inscription in late Gothic lettering which has been read as HOC SUBEST SARCOPHAGO HONESTA MATRONA ELISABETHA BANNATIN QUÆ OBIIT [SESQUIMILLESIMO].* (Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., xli. (1906-7), p. 84.) The inscription borders an incised shield, which bears in chief three cross crosslets fitchy above a stag's head cabossed.

SCULPTURED FRAGMENTS FROM CHURCH. Two sculptured fragments recovered from the ruins of the old church at Lasswade are now preserved in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland. The first, measuring 11 by 9 by 5inches, represents one of the side arms of a free-standing cross and bears sculptured designs on its two faces, with a marginal incision running round each edge of the fragment on its narrow sides. One of the faces shows a hand of the crucified Saviour with a nail through it, and the reverse the figure of a beast with its head turned backwards, open-mouthed, and with an elongated protruding tongue. The other is a portion of a slab of red sandstone, measuring16 inches in length by IO! inches wide and4 inches thick, sculptured in relief on one face only, showing the body and legs of an animal with the tail curved well over the back and with a diced or checky pattern in two rows on the sinister side. Cf. Early Christ. Monts., pp.423-4.

RCAHMS 1929, visited 7 June 1920.

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