History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Coldingham, Coldingham Priory (Church of Scotland) Including Transept Arch, Former Hearse House and Gravedigger's Store, Graveyard, Boundary Walls, Gatepiers and Gates

A Category A Listed Building in Coldingham, Scottish Borders

We don't have any photos of this building yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 55.8868 / 55°53'12"N

Longitude: -2.1557 / 2°9'20"W

OS Eastings: 390358

OS Northings: 665969

OS Grid: NT903659

Mapcode National: GBR F0DC.3L

Mapcode Global: WH9XW.V9NG

Plus Code: 9C7VVRPV+PP

Entry Name: Coldingham, Coldingham Priory (Church of Scotland) Including Transept Arch, Former Hearse House and Gravedigger's Store, Graveyard, Boundary Walls, Gatepiers and Gates

Listing Date: 9 June 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 335263

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB4059

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Coldingham

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Parish: Coldingham

Traditional County: Berwickshire

Tagged with: Churchyard

Find accommodation in


A rectangular-plan parish church of composite Norman and First Pointed Gothic style. It incorporates fabric dating from the 11th century onwards including fabric from the 13th century cruciform-plan priory on the site. The building was extensively remodeled in 1662 with further work in 1851-55. A former hearse house, built around 1850, is located at the west entrance to the graveyard. The church is surrounded by an irregular-plan graveyard.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following is excluded from the listing: scheduled monument SM383.

The Priory Church is built in coursed pink and red sandstone. Each corner has a full-height square-plan tower with a pyramidal cap. Full-height and plain pilasters divide each bay of the east, north and west elevations. The bays have round-arched, blind arcading with chevrons and engaged colonnettes and there are pointed-arch lancet windows above. The south elevation has a gabled entrance porch, a pointed-arch bellcote and an engaged stair tower in the re-entrant angle to the right. There is a two-leaf timber door surrounded by a chevron moulded arch. The stained glass windows include work by Robert Home, dated 1904. Other windows are predominantly leaded diamond-pane glazing. The roof has grey slates with coped skews and parapet. Rainwater goods are cast iron.

The interior, seen in 1999, has a vestibule with a stair accessing the vestry to the northeast. The nave has a boarded timber floor, timber pews and an open beamed roof with boarded timber ceiling. The altar is at the east end and there is a large pipe organ at the west end. The west, north and east walls have continuous pointed-arch arcading at ground level with free-standing ashlar columns, foliate capitals, moulded arches and spandrel motifs. The clerestory level to the north and east walls has an arcaded walkway with free-standing clustered columns and tall nook shafts framing the lancet windows.

The former hearse house and store is a single storey, rectangular-plan, sandstone rubble building. It has a large two-leaf boarded timber door in the southwest gable with a small pointed-arch opening above the door. The northeast gable has a pointed-arch window with Y-tracery. The southwest elevation has a boarded timber door in a shouldered-arch surround and a small pointed-arch opening to the left. The roof has grey slates and coped skews. The interior was not seen in 1999. The sandstone gatepiers are square-plan with tiered pyramidal caps and have iron gates with a cross motif. The northern gatepier adjoins the south corner of the former hearse house.

The memorial stones in the irregular-plan graveyard include table-top monuments, classically-detailed stones, obelisks, decorative grave slabs and stones with carved memento-mori symbols.

Post-medieval rubble boundary walls, partially rebuilt and of varying height, enclose the graveyard.

Statement of Interest

A place of worship in use as such.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following is excluded from the listing: scheduled monument SM383.

The shire of Coldingham was given by King Edgar of Scotland to the Benedictine monks of St Cuthbert of Durham in 1098. The first church, probably serviced by monks from Durham Priory, was consecrated in 1100.

Shortly after its virtual destruction by the English King John in 1216, a new, much larger, cruciform-plan priory church was built and the existing monastic buildings renovated. In 1504 the priory was annexed to the Crown and in 1509 severed from Durham and placed under the Abbey of Dunfermline (also Benedictine). The priory was attacked by Cromwell in 1648 and the choir's south and west walls were blown out. In order to render the choir a suitable place for worship, these walls were rebuilt in 1662 and a bell tower was erected to the west.

In 1745, the church was again partially destroyed by fire, and around 1770, its vast tower (thought to have stood either in the northwest angle of the transept or over the crossing) collapsed. Much of the stone from these disasters went towards the construction of local houses.

By 1851 the church was in poor condition and required substantial renovation. These renovations, complete by 1855, included the removal of rubble to expose the original floor level and the foundations of the 1100 church, the gutting of the interior (including the removal of the galleries), the partial rebuilding of the west and south walls, the repair and replacement of the original carved stonework, the removal of the bell tower and the subsequent rebuilding of the west wall, the raising of the corner towers, the addition of a parapet, the installation of a new roof and ceiling and the formation of a new entrance with a vestry and belfry above to the south. In 1955 the pulpit and communion table were moved to the east end and the pews turned to face them.

The north and east walls of the choir of the present church incorporate fabric from the 13th century priory.

Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2017. Previously listed as 'Coldingham, Coldingham Priory (Church of Scotland) including transept arch, former hearse house and gravedigger's store, graveyard, boundary walls, gatepiers and gates'.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.