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St Mary’s Haddington : Architecture

St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland

St Mary’s Parish Church Haddington

‘Lamp of Lothian’

St Mary’s Church, Haddington : Lauderdale Aisle
just south of town centre, by River Tyne, Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland

St Mary’s Haddington : photo © Adrian Welch

The former sacristy of the great 15th century parish church, with splendid monument of early-17th century date, in marble, with alabaster effigies. St Mary’s is one of the ‘three sisters’ Scottish Collegiate churches, set in capitals and former capitals of Scotland, including Edinburgh and Linlithgow.

St Mary’s is the longest parish church in Scotland, and is of cathedral scale. The Lauderdale Aisle – an Episcopal Chapel within a Church of Scotland Building with strong Catholic and Orthodox influences – was the inspiration for the annual international ecumenical pilgrimage on the second Saturday in May.

Nungate Bridge, adj. St Mary’s Haddington © Adrian Welch

Begun in the late 14th century and consecrated around 1400, St Mary’s Church is one of three great pre-reformation churches in the Lothians, the others being St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh and St. Michael’s in Linlithgow.

St Mary’s Haddington was known as the ‘Lamp of Lothian’ due to its beauty and spiritual significance. The church was badly damaged during the Siege of Haddington (1548-9) when the English barricaded the town against the joint forces of Scots and French. At the request of John Knox, born in Haddington, St Mary’s nave was restored and used as the parish church for 400 years, while the choir and transepts remained open to the elements. A major restoration between 1970 & 1973 returned the church’s eastern half. The ‘Lamp of Lothian’ contains alabaster tombs in the Lauderdale Aisle.

Today St Mary’s Church maintains a tradition of ecumenicalism, exemplified by the Lauderdale Aisle, an Episcopal chapel within the church, with strong Roman Catholic and Orthodox influences. This is the burial place of the Earls and Duke of Lauderdale. Other features of the church are its fine stained glass and the Lammermuir pipe organ, installed in 1990, and built locally at Oldhamstocks. New bells were installed in 1999, replacing those removed by the English army on 1548; they came from Dunnecht House, near Aberdeen.

St Mary’s Church, Haddington – Opening Times
Please check with Church:
Easter weekend and from May to end of September – Sunday to Friday 13:30 to 16:00 and Saturday 11:00 to 16:00.

Tea room, bookshop, gift shop
Guides are only available with booked tours and brass rubbing is only by booking.

Contact St Mary’s Haddington:

Churches to Visit in Scotland: 10 Years Commemoration Volume. Scotland’s Churches Scheme, John R. Hume (Illustrator)
Paperback 429 pages (October 30, 2004)
Publisher: NMS Enterprises Limited – Publishing ISBN: 1901663868
Churches to Visit in Scotland

St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh

picture © Adrian Welch

Haddington Buildings
Briery Bank Haddington
Haddington Town House
Waterside Bistro Haddington

Scottish Castles
Scottish Country Houses

Scottish Architecture

Edinburgh Walking Tours

Featured Edinburgh Area Religious Buildings:

Rosslyn Chapel
picture from the architect

St Giles Cathedral

St Peter’s Church
photograph : Keith Hunter

Canongate Kirk
photo © Adrian Welch

Tron Kirk

Scottish Churches

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St Mary’s Church Haddington : page