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Abbey St Bathans Church (Church of Scotland) Including Graveyard, Boundary Walls, Gatepiers and Gates

A Category B Listed Building in Abbey St Bathans, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.853 / 55°51'10"N

Longitude: -2.3871 / 2°23'13"W

OS Eastings: 375863

OS Northings: 662266

OS Grid: NT758622

Mapcode National: GBR C0SR.0Q

Mapcode Global: WH8WV.94JV

Entry Name: Abbey St Bathans Church (Church of Scotland) Including Graveyard, Boundary Walls, Gatepiers and Gates

Listing Date: 9 June 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 332770

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB1970

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Abbey St Bathans

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Mid Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire

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Description

Site of late 12th century Cistercian priory. Former priory church (in part) converted to parish church mid 17th century; repairs 1675, 1699; internal alterations 1719; 1st glazed 1726; bell installed in earlier tower 1820; heavily re-worked 1867-68 and porch and present tower erected; windows/doors re-worked (plate tracery added); stained glass inserted 1868. Plain Romanesque style comprising rectangular-plan, 3-bay nave, later single storey porch to SW, square-plan 2-stage tower and spire to NE (1867). Harl-pointed rubble whin and sandstone to nave; cream sandstone dressings. Rubble quoins; stugged long and short surrounds to lightly droved, round-arched openings; windows recessed within (trefoil-headed panels with quatrefoil details above). Whinstone rubble porch; cream sandstone dressings. Sandstone bracketed eaves; stugged long and short surrounds to openings; round-arched columnar doorpiece. Whinstone rubble 2-stage tower; cream sandstone string course dividing floors; sandstone brackets beneath corniced eaves; gabled, sandstone doorpiece; voussoir arches to pointed-arched openings.

W (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: 2-leaf, round-arched boarded timber door in single storey porch recessed to right of nave; surrounding doorpiece with flanking columns (scalloped capitals); keystoned, voussoir arch. 3-panelled window centred in nave advanced to left; surmounting finial. 2-stage tower recessed to outer left.

S (SIDE) ELEVATION: 4-panelled window in bay to outer right; 2 panelled window off-set to left of centre; single window in piended porch advanced to outer left. Remains of wallhead sundial to outer right.

E (REAR) ELEVATION: 2-stage tower recessed to outer right with steps to gabled doorpiece comprising 2-leaf boarded timber door; stop chamfered, pointed-arched surround; finialed gable with Turnbull coat of arms centred beneath apex; flanking carved motifs. Belfry above with recessed bipartite opening set in pointed-arched surround; columns dividing louvred bays (cushion capitals); weathervane surmounting broach spire. 2-panelled window centred in nave advanced to left (missing finial?); single storey porch recessed to outer left.

Stained glass windows with leaded circular panes, floral and foliate detailing. Grey slate roofs; raised stone skews; moulded skewputts. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: inscribed memorial gravestone set in vestibule wall (Rev George Home, died 1705); round-arched boarded timber door accessing nave. Boarded timber dado panelling; boarded timber pews in place. Tiled floor to central aisle; boarded timber floors beneath pews. Boarded timber hammerbeam ceiling. Timber panelled pulpit; trefoil-headed carving to table; octagonal timber font (1948). Pointed-arched opening accessing N chapel (vestry). Round-arched painted panels flanking E window with Biblical text; deep, painted window reveals; chamfered cills. Later 20th century light fittings. Recumbent sandstone effigy in later segmental-arched niche centred in E wall.

GRAVEYARD, BOUNDARY WALL, GATEPIERS AND GATES: surrounding, near square-plan graveyard. Various gravestones including classically-detailed memorial to the Turnbulls set in NW corner with inscribed, recessed panels; dogtooth carving lining upper reveals; Corinthian-style capitals to red sandstone engaged columns flanking central bay with trefoil-headed upper centred beneath gable. Figurative carving to some remaining stones. Rubble-coped random rubble walls enclosing site; stepped, polished coping to W wall. Tapering square-plan stop-chamfered, sandstone gatepiers flanking entrance; tiered, pyramidal caps; decorative wrought-iron gates with barley-sugar uprights; fleur-de-lys finials.

Statement of Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Said to have been built on the site of the small, late 12th century Cistercian Priory of St Bothon, dedicated to St Mary. Part of the priory church is thought to have been incorporated within the existing building. Binnie notes that the masonry at the foot of the N and S walls is likely to have come from the old church, whilst the E wall, which protrudes just beneath the skewputts, is thought to be that of the previous building?s W wall. Writing in the late 18th century, Rev. Sked noted that the church "..is a very ancient building; it was formerly large, measuring 58 feet by 26, but part of the wall was lately taken down by the desire of the heritors, and the size of the church greatly contracted; it is still sufficiently large to accommodate the inhabitants of the parish." The conventual buildings, formerly associated with the priory, were set between here and the nearby Whiteadder - all remains have since disappeared. During extensive renovation in the late 1860s (funded by John Turnbull, of Abbey St Bathans House - see separate list entry), a 6ft effigy of a prioress was discovered built into the N wall. Although damaged in part, and according to MacGibbon and Ross, missing a dog which originally lay at its feet, it remains an impressive piece of carving, thought to date from the early 16th century. At the centre of the parish, Abbey St Bathans church is acknowledged as one of its most significant buildings. The nearby former manse is listed separately.

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