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Lunnasting, Lunna, St Margaret's (Lunnasting) Kirk (Church of Scotland), Including Kirkyard Wall

A Category B Listed Building in Shetland North, Shetland Islands

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Coordinates

Latitude: 60.4028 / 60°24'10"N

Longitude: -1.1199 / 1°7'11"W

OS Eastings: 448590

OS Northings: 1169089

OS Grid: HU485690

Mapcode National: GBR R1L7.MGN

Mapcode Global: XHF8S.TSXF

Entry Name: Lunnasting, Lunna, St Margaret's (Lunnasting) Kirk (Church of Scotland), Including Kirkyard Wall

Listing Date: 13 August 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 352662

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB18590

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Nesting

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland North

Parish: Nesting

Traditional County: Shetland

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Description

1753, probably incorporating earlier work, and with alterations of circa 1840 and 1933. Traditional galleried 4-bay hall church of rectangular plan with unusual buttresses and lean-to vestry centring N elevation and wide forestair to gallery at W gable. Base course to harled rubble walls.

E (ENTRANCE) GABLE: symmetrical, with substantial base course, vertically-boarded timber door at centre framed by 3 concrete pilasters to each side spanned by concrete lintel; margined surround centred above containing 4-pane timber glazing to fanlight and loft gallery window aligned above with round-arched 2-pane timber fixed-light at gablehead.

S ELEVATION: symmetrical, substantial buttresses at centre with flight of crowsteps to E side; modern tall 4-pane timber fixed-light windows in bays flanking centre; buttresses with raggles to inner faces flanking centre bays, matching central buttress and linked by low rubble wall; 2-pane timber fixed-light windows to outer bays, elevation framed by smaller buttresses to outer left and right.

W GABLE: asymmetrical, rubble forestair rising from S to flagged platt centred on vertically-boarded timber gallery door offset to left of centre; small window centred over door with narrow 2-pane timber fixed-light adjacent to right.

N ELEVATION: near-symmetrical, lean-to vestry at centre with single-flue wallhead stack over re-entrant angle to left; buttresses to outer left and right.

Purple-grey slate roof with interlocking droved ashlar skew-copes and bracketted skewputts to principal gables, droved ashlar skew-copes to vestry.

INTERIOR: many internal timber fittings surviving including vertically-boarded wainscoting to ground floor, horizontally-boarded pews in U-plan arrangement around pulpit centring S wall; hexagonal panelled and grained pulpit accessed by balustraded steps, blind architraved arch and hinged brass lamps to sounding board rising to circular corniced canopy sounding board with octagonal ogee dome terminated by urn. Timber Roman Doric columns supporting U-plan gallery with boarded pews, panelled and grained fronts to E and W sides and balustraded front to centre. Pedimented monument of circa 1780 to S wall left of pulpit, carved with emblems of death, to Thomas Hunter of Lunna, his wife and son. N doorway contains armorial monument of circa 1700 to Robert Hunter and his wife, with 17th century inscribed stone below.

KIRKYARD WALL: drystone rubble wall extending E and W from N wall of church and enclosing roughly rectangular graveyard to S; square rubble entrance gatepiers to E of church; W wall extending N and S to W gates and shore respectively.

Statement of Interest

A Group with Lunna House, Fishing Booth, Folly, Former Schoolhouse, Gothick Cottage, Lunna Harbour, Steading, Walled Garden, and West Gates. In ecclesiastical use. This church was built as a chapel of ease on the site of the family mausoleum at the expense of Robert Hunter of Lunna. Gifford suggests that the centre bays of the S elevation had burial enclosures between the buttresses and that the squint, commonly referred to as the ?leper?s squint? might be part of a medieval church. A brief study in May 1997 by the Scottish Vernacular Buildings Working Group concluded that the buttresses and squint were probably components of an early central heating system which warmed the south wall. From analysis of the components, they concluded that the raggles on the buttresses were evidence of roofs that were extant prior to the cills of windows flanking the central buttress being lowered. The central buttress also revealed a hollow centre in the form of a flue running towards the church, and suggested the flight of crowsteps on the E side were for cleaning this flue, possibly flanked by peat store and furnace chambers. Discussion about how this arrangement might have heated the hall led to further investigation which revealed a large duct behind the sounding board of the pulpit, and the assumption from visible evidence that the outer buttresses were also flues forming a 'hot wall' system as found in walled gardens and greenhouses. These conclusions suggested the 'leper squint' and another similar opening were more likely to be ventilators for the heating chamber. In conclusion, the Working Group suggested that the church is an 18th century building, probably on medieval foundations, with buttresses and the associated heating system dating from the early 19th century, the buttresses perhaps being terminated by tapered obelisks with beach-stone finials to match the Gothick aesthetic of Lunna House and the West Gates.

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