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Newton Parish Church, Watch House, Boundary Walls and Gatepiers

A Category C Listed Building in Dalkeith, Midlothian

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9119 / 55°54'42"N

Longitude: -3.0974 / 3°5'50"W

OS Eastings: 331497

OS Northings: 669299

OS Grid: NT314692

Mapcode National: GBR 60T2.6L

Mapcode Global: WH6SV.DN8Q

Entry Name: Newton Parish Church, Watch House, Boundary Walls and Gatepiers

Listing Date: 22 March 2001

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395075

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB47734

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Newton

County: Midlothian

Electoral Ward: Dalkeith

Traditional County: Midlothian

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Description

Circa 1828. Single-storey rectangular watch house. Rock faced and droved random sandstone with projecting polished margins, ashlar skews and chimney quoins. Heavy cut stone ridging. Modern re-pointing to each elevation.

E (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: gable end with projecting margined side quoins to right, abutting Kirkyard entrance pier to left; central entrance doorway with stop chamfered projecting margins, replacement plank door.

S ELEVATION: integral part of the boundary wall; adjoining ashlar entrance pier to right.

W ELEVATION: plain gable end, heavy plain skews; gablehead chimney stack: prominent ashlar drip course, projecting ashlar strip quoins with rendered in-fill to each elevation, shaped ashlar neck cope, no cans.

N ELEVATION: low wall; blind central window with projecting ashlar margins, top lintel abutting roofline; projecting margins to side quoins.

No original glazing remaining. Steeply pitched, piended graded slate roof, skews rising high above roof level.

INTERIOR: not seen, 2000.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATE PIERS: random rubble walls with slab coping surmounting. Pairs of square ashlar gatepiers in S wall and W wall: raised bead course below stepped overhanging plinths, square cope with pyramid cap surmounting; replacement timber gates to both entrances.

Statement of Interest

Situated at the Windy Gow, which was once the original entrance to the Kirkyard, the watch house was built to house vigilantes at night to prevent grave robbing. Newly buried bodies were taken from Newton Kirk for use by Dr Knox, the anatomist in Surgeon's Square, Edinburgh. A gravestone in the Kirkyard has a bullet mark in it, showing the length the watchers would go to, to preserve the dignity of the dead. Men hired by Burke and Hare frequently visited looking for fresh corpses, until the end of 1828 when Hare gave evidence against Burke who was hanged. It is now used to house gravediggers equipment.

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