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East Kirk, Dalkeith

A Category A Listed Building in Dalkeith, Midlothian

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Latitude: 55.8955 / 55°53'43"N

Longitude: -3.0688 / 3°4'7"W

OS Eastings: 333258

OS Northings: 667442

OS Grid: NT332674

Mapcode National: GBR 7008.DH

Mapcode Global: WH6T1.T2VS

Plus Code: 9C7RVWWJ+5F

Entry Name: East Kirk, Dalkeith

Listing Name: High Street, St Nicholas Buccleuch Parish Church, with graveyard walls and watch house, excluding scheduled monument SM1188

Listing Date: 22 January 1971

Last Amended: 12 June 2023

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 360294

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB24377

Building Class: Cultural

Also known as: Dalkeith,choir of Collegiate Kirk of St Nicholas,parish church
St Nicholas Church (Dalkeith)

ID on this website: 200360294

Location: Dalkeith

County: Midlothian

Town: Dalkeith

Electoral Ward: Dalkeith

Traditional County: Midlothian

Tagged with: Church building Cemetery Gothic architecture

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St Nicholas Buccleuch is a 15th century, Late Gothic church which was partly remodelled during restoration by David Bryce between 1851-4. The steeple was rebuilt in 1888. The church is cruciform in plan with side aisles, north and south transepts, a chancel to the east and steeple to the west. There is a roofless choir to the east with a former sacristy projecting from its north wall (designated separately as Scheduled Monument SM1188).

CHURCH. The church is constructed of stugged squared and snecked ashlar with a coped base course. It has pointed-arched windows with a variety of curvilinear tracery, largely 3-light with deeply and double chamfered margins and cills. There is a dogtooth cavetto course above the windows on the south elevation. The building has coped set-off buttresses and gablet-coped skews. The roof is grey slate with stone ridging. There are some original rainwater goods; the rainwater heads are dated "1851".

STEEPLE. Built in 1888 in three stages. It is advanced slightly from the side aisles and has diagonal angle buttresses to the 3rd stage. It has a coped base course and courses between stages and hoodmoulded 2-light windows. There is a pointed-arched moulded doorway on the west face. There is a window above the door on the 2nd stage. There are further window with clocks below on each face of the 3rd stage. There is a canted stair tower projection above aisle roof to the right of the south face. This stair tower has a slit and stone slab half-piend roof with a cusped and corbelled eaves course. The steeple is topped by a broached ashlar spire with 2-light geometric-traceried gabled lucarnes on alternate faces with slit lucarnes above. The spire is crowned by a weathervane.

S AISLE: The south aisle has 3-bays with a porch in the bay to the left. There are windows in the remaining bays, which are divided by buttresses. There is a window to the right and 2 lancets to left on the west return. The porch is gabled; with a chamfered pointed-arched doorway on the south side with a carved corbel above. There are diagonal buttresses with block pinnacles flanking the porch. It has a stone slab roof and a dogtooth eaves course. Internally, there is a pointed-vault with surface ribs, which are probably mediaeval and a hanging lantern.

N AISLE: The north aisle comprises 4-bays with a vestry to the west. There are windows in 3 bays to the left, divided by buttresses and, a 2-light window to the right. There is a hoodmoulded 2-light window on the west return.

TRANSEPTS. The transepts have aisles adjoining the west return elevations. There are hoodmoulded windows on the north and south sides. There is another window on the east return of the south transept. The transepts have sawtooth skews and gableted skewputts.

CHANCEL: The chancel has windows on the north and south sides in advanced bays. There is a gableted buttress with a canopied niche and carved pinnacle on the right hand side of the south elevation.

INTERIOR: The interior has painted rubble and plaster walls and timber dadoes. There are timber roofs, vaulted in the nave with coombed aisle roofs. There is a 3-bay nave with moulded pointed arches on octagonal ashlar piers with moulded plaster capitals, with hoodmoulds and carved head label stops to the arches. There are transepts opening off the east bays. There is a pointed arch separating the aisles from the transepts.

CHANCEL: the north and south windows are recessed in narrow pointed-arched panels. There is a timber communion table and brass table-top lectern dating from 1908. There is also a stone pulpit (The King George V Memorial Pulpit) and lectern dated 1936. There is a stone font (2nd World War Memorial) dated, 1948. The organ is by Foster and Andrews (Hull) and dates to 1884.

There is a full-height pointed arch on the west wall of the nave and a gallery with a rib-vaulted roof in the 1st stage of tower, which dates from 1882. There is a panelled screen with cusped glazing and 2-leaf doors at ground floor level dating from 1861. A pointed-arched piscina is located in its original masonry panel to right on the east wall of the north aisle.

The Calderwood Memorial on is on the west wall of the south aisle – this was probably re-located during the 1851 restoration work. This memorial takes the form of a late 17th century Renaissance-style stone wall monument to William Calderwood, minister of the church from 1659-80; it has a swan neck pediment, dentilled cornice, Corinthian nook-shafts and elaborate carving, including emblems of mortality.

The banner of the Dalkeith Hammermen's Society, dated 1665, is located on the west wall of the north aisle. A timber internal porch is approached from the south porch, to right of the aisle wall. There is a vestibule in the tower, with a vestry to the north and an entrance to the stair tower to the south.

STAINED GLASS: The chancel window depicts the Good Shepherd and St Nicholas, in memory of Rev W M Dunnett (d. 1957). There is a War Memorial window in the east wall of the south transept by Mr Ballantyne, 1921. There is geometric stained glass in the gallery window to the west. There are coloured glass margins around the remaining diamond-paned windows.

GRAVEYARD WALLS AND MONUMENTS: the graveyard is bounded by ashlar coped rubble walls. There are 4 coped set-off buttresses on the north wall in the garden of No 127 High Street (see separate listing). There are ashlar piers with cornice and a blocking course to the High Street. The graveyard has iron gates and contains a number of 18th and 19th century monuments, including a substantial triumphal pedimented wall monument, dated 1722.

WATCH-HOUSE: there is a small, gabled rectangular-plan watch-house incorporated into the boundary wall to the west of the gates on the High Street. It is built of squared and coursed rubble; with a stone slab roof. The door is to the east with a window on the north side. There is a coped gablehead stack on the west side.

Statement of Interest

The choir is a Scheduled Monument and is specifically excluded from the Listing. The church has been variously known as the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas, Dalkeith Kirk, the Parish Church, the Old Parish Church, the East Parish Church, St Nicholas and the Old Kirk.

The church shares features with contemporary Collegiate churches in the Lothians, e.g. Seton and Dunglass. The Chapel of St Nicholas was probably in existence by the later 14th century. In 1406 it was raised into a Collegiate Church and endowed by Sir James Douglas, 1st Lord of Dalkeith, who made contributions to the enlargement of the building between 1390 and 1420. Dalkeith was established as a parish in 1592, and St Nicholas became the Presbyterian Parish Kirk. A number of Incorporated Trades Lofts were erected and enlarged between 1660 and 1838. By the mid-19th century, the church was in need of expansion and extensive repair. The newly constructed West Church (1840) eased the accommodation problem, and the congregation of St Nicholas worshipped there whilst restoration work was carried out at St Nicholas for 3 years from autumn 1851, to the specifications of David Bryce.

The original walls of the 1420 church were incorporated in the new building, the exterior was refaced and the windows were altered. An 85ft (25.9m) high steeple was constructed, and the lofts were removed. The building was re-roofed, and a sunken pavement was formed around the church. The church re-opened in spring 1854. The cost of restoration was £4160, and 760 sittings were provided after restoration. In 1885 a fire destroyed the steeple and gallery; they were rebuilt in 1888, and the vestry was restored. Following the union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church in 1929, the church was renamed the Church of St Nicholas. The chancel was restored by Thomas Aikman Swan in 1936. This included the removal of the 1851 pulpit which revealed a piscina set in the original wall. The congregations of Old Kirk and West Church united in 1979 to form St Nicholas Buccleuch Church; both churches continued to be used alternately. When West Church closed in 1989, St Nicholas Buccleuch became the parish church.

External Links

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