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Latitude: 55.3906 / 55°23'26"N
Longitude: -2.5949 / 2°35'41"W
OS Eastings: 362415
OS Northings: 610896
OS Grid: NT624108
Mapcode National: GBR B6B3.0F
Mapcode Global: WH8YW.3RMW
Entry Name: Chesters, Southdean Parish Church (Church of Scotland) Including Boundary Wall
Listing Date: 12 May 2003
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 396786
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49195
Building Class: Cultural
County: Scottish Borders
Electoral Ward: Hawick and Denholm
Traditional County: Roxburghshire
George Grant of Glasgow, 1874 (opened 1876) with internal alterations 1923-1924. Early English, rectangular-plan buttressed church with gabled entrance porch and single storey, square-plan vestry to rear. Rusticated red sandstone ashlar with polished window and door dressings; deep base course (panelled in places) and moulded eaves course. Skew gabled with bell tower gable to N.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: to left, square-plan pitch roofed porch: 2 stone steps leading to 2-leaf timber boarded door with ornate wrought-iron hinges and pair of wrought-iron ring door handles, very deep moulded surround with hoodmould terminating in female head label-stops, voussoirs to outer of door surround; rest of elevation plain with inset oval moulded stone with raised 1874 date stone set within quatrefoil; stylised fleur-de-lis cross to apex of gable. To left and right return: deep sloped base course, small arched floral stained glass window with moulded surround and short stepped buttress to lower outer angle. To rest of principal elevation, small round window divided into 4 panes above porch and to right, 3 regularly placed single-light arched windows with hoodmoulds terminating in foliate label stops, each window with stepped buttress between.
S ELEVATION: gabled end with band course and central three-light arched window with architraved surrounds, continuous hoodmould with foliate label stops and sloped drip sills; stepped buttresses to outer flanks. Small round window with sandstone voussoirs near gablehead, stone cross on apex.
E (REAR) ELEVATION: to left, single storey vestry: blind gabled section to left and flat-roofed section to right with central square window; to left return: timber boarded arched entrance door with decorative wrought-iron hinges within moulded door surround (lean-to style gable surmounting), to right, small square 2-pane window of square leaded quarry; to right return, small square window partially in-filled (created from former entrance door); pair of round windows flank roof line of vestry. To centre and right, 3 regularly placed single-light arched windows with hoodmoulds terminating in foliate label stops, each window with stepped buttress between.
N ELEVATION: gabled end with central stepped buttress, tall lancet window to flanks with moulded surrounds, continuous hoodmould terminating in foliate label stops and small oculus near gablehead Apex of gable rises into pitched roof bell-cote with single metal bell (wheel ringing mechanism with chain running down side of buttress still in situ) and cockerel weather vane surmounting.
Decorative and figurative stained glass windows (donated by landlords of the Parish and former Ministers) including: E window in memory of James Thomson paid for by public subscription; N gable window paid for by Earl and Countess of Home. Westmoreland slate roof with stone ridging. Painted cast-iron rainwater goods with semi-hexagonal hoppers and plain downpipes.
INTERIOR (see NOTES): pulpit steps and position of organ altered 1923/4 to make way for fumed oak Communion Table (which doubles as a memorial to the Southdean parishioners who died in World War I) with much older 'super altar' to centre inscribed with 5 crosses. 12th century stone font brought from earlier church Timber pews.
BOUNDARY WALL (TO W): coursed red sandstone wall with small squared terminating piers to N and S and chamfered coping; entrance off centre left with taller squared piers with shaped caps and slightly lower wing walls to outer flanks, pair of later decorative wrought-iron gates.
Originally, the church at Souden or Zedon lay to the south of this site. It was first recorded in the 12th century, and in 1388 it was used as a meeting place by Scottish nobles to plan an invasion of England. It was eventually abandoned in 1688 after its roof fell in. The ruins can still be seen about a mile to the south of the village. A simple replacement church, with a thatched roof and a dirt floor, was built, sited within the old cemetery at the east of the village. The father of James Thomson, the poet (author of The Seasons and Rule Britannia) was the Parish Minister of this 2nd church from 1700-1716, and the poet spent his childhood there. The former manse, which dates from 1795, lies some distance to the south of Chesters and was associated with this 2nd church. The area where the present church stands was formerly part of the Kirk Plantation, which stood to the north east of the 2nd church and the village school. The church was started in 1874 and completed some 2 years later. The Rev. Dr Kirk of Hutton conducted its inaugural service on the 1st October 1876. Little is known about the architect, George Grant of Glasgow, but it is believed his grandson was the organist at Southdean and Hobkirk. Some alterations and improvements were carried out in the 1920s. The Communion Table was paid for with money left over from a War Sale held by the Women?s Institute. They had organised these sales to provide money for the families of troops fighting in World War I. The Hawick Archaeological Society carried out an excavation of the earliest church in 1910. The super altar and font from the earlier church are now in the later church. Southdean remained a parish in its own right until 1960 when it became linked with Edgerston; in 1973 it was affiliated with Hobkirk (with which it was united in 1988). From then on it has been linked with the Parish of Cavers and Kirkton. Listed as an attractive rural red church with interesting historical associations.
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