Aberlady Parish Church

Hi friends. What’s new with you?

The countdown to our next Scottish adventure is officially ON! The light at the end of a very long tunnel is finally shining through and the long wait is almost over. I am more excited than I can say. Oh, what wonderful new things I will have to share with you soon!

Today we are going to make a quick stop in the small coastal village of Aberlady, Scotland to visit Aberlady Parish Church. Aberlady is located about 17 miles to the northeast of Edinburgh in the council area of East Lothian – a very fine part of the country indeed.

Aberlady Parish Church is part of the Church of Scotland.

In my last blog post, I wrote about Lindisfarne Castle which sits on the religiously significant Holy Island. What a coincidence that today I learned that the community of Aberlady was once on the pilgrim route between the monasteries on Holy Island and the Isle of Iona! In fact, in 1863 a fragment of an ancient Celtic or Anglo-Saxon cross was discovered in a garden area next to the church. The carvings on the cross were found to be similar to artwork in the Lindisfarne Gospels, which now reside in the British Library in London. How magnificent!

As such, Aberlady has been associated with church history for centuries upon centuries. According to the web site for Aberlady Parish Church, “the earliest place of worship in Aberlady might have been a Culdee chapel, ruins of which were discovered in the northwest corner of the old churchyard…at the time of the Reformation” (the Culdees were members of ascetic Christian monastic and eremitical communities – basically hermits who lived a lifestyle of complete deprivation).

The history of Aberlady Parish Church, however, dates back to 1452 with the initial construction of the watch tower. The main part of the church and a chancel were added in 1509.

The watch tower, original construction from 1452.

A reconstruction effort took place in 1773 and the building was altered in design. It became known as the “square kirk”. Of the original 1500’s/1600’s structure, only the watch tower, two aisles, and a small portion of a wall remained.

Wonderful old grave stones
I would love to know the story of this!

In 1886, the 10th Earl of Wemyss (a heritor, or privileged person in a parish under Scots law-ooh la la…) felt the need for the church to be rebuilt in a more attractive design. Hm, wonder who agreed to foot the bill for that one, eh? Again, only the watch tower, the two aisles, and the small portion of the original wall remained. The new church was opened for worship in June 1887 and was described as being “one of the finest ecclesiastical buildings in Scotland”.

In the years following the 1886 reconstruction, very little has changed and Aberlady continues to be an active church in the community to this day. Aberlady is a cute little community and it’s worth the quick stop to see this small piece of history.

Well, that’s it for today, guys. Nice and short. I wish each of you a wonderful week. I’ll see you next time!

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