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Glencorse, Old Parish Church

A Category A Listed Building in Glencorse, Midlothian

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8546 / 55°51'16"N

Longitude: -3.2073 / 3°12'26"W

OS Eastings: 324518

OS Northings: 663038

OS Grid: NT245630

Mapcode National: GBR 601R.F4

Mapcode Global: WH6T5.P3XM

Entry Name: Glencorse, Old Parish Church

Listing Date: 22 January 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 339328

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB7454

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Glencorse

County: Midlothian

Parish: Glencorse

Locality: Midlothian West

Traditional County: Midlothian

Description

1665. Rebuilt 1699 and early 21st century alterations. Cruciform-plan church with E-W rectangle with addition of N and S aisles, with stairs to lofts above. Random rubble. Skew-gabled. Additional ashlar tower with broached clap-board steeple to W, 1811. Early 20th century slate roof.

W ELEVATION: centre of gable obscured by tower addition, rectangular window to either side.

TOWER: 1811. Square tower, stugged ashlar with base band and string course. Slit window to left return; doorway with two steps and small square blocked window above to right return; louvred windows to 3 sides at 2nd stage; internal stairs leading to window overlooking church interior; timber-framed broach spire, clap-boarded; weathervane atop.

N ELEVATION: plain rubble; square window to either side of Glencorse Aisle, door to far left.

GLENCORSE (N) AISLE: 2-storey, random rubble with string-courses, skew-gabled; gable end window breaking 2nd storey string course; steps to metal barred doorway of stone vaulted undercroft (containing two pedimented marble funerary plaques); small rectangular barred window flanking either side; central forestairs with stone parapets to Laird's loft above to right return, sculptured armorial panel flanking either side of moulded doorway; small rectangular window close to eaves to left return.

E ELEVATION: random rubble; skew gabled, long and short ashlar quoins; pedimented funerary plaque inset to left, 2 to right.

S ELEVATION: random rubble; to left of Woodhouselee Aisle doorway with moulded plaque above; rectangular window to right (lintel missing); to right of aisle, doorway with inset funerary monument adjacent; small damaged window above (slightly offset), window to left of door.

WOODHOUSELEE (S) AISLE: 1699. Random rubble, crowstepped gable, string-coursed aisle addition. Central door, hood-moulded panel above (armorial sculpture missing), small circular looped Gothic tracery window above, dated 1699; to right return 2 inset pedimented funerary stones; fore-stairs with stone parapets to moulded doorway (lintel missing) of Laird's loft above to left return; sculptured armorial panel flanking either side of doorway (right missing).

12-pane glazing pattern in timber sash and case windows. Slate roof.

INTERIOR: simple unreconstructed interior with exposed stone rubble walls. Modern (c2004) timber roof structure with shallow arched tie beams and vertical slatted boarding. Fireplace in E elevation, door to tower in W gable, slate flooring.

Statement of Interest

An outstanding post-Reformation church, with distinctive channelled broached spire, set in historic kirkyard. Sited on an ancient place of worship called Erncraig, the rectangular church was rebuilt in 1699 following a fire, then gradually extended to include the Glencorse and Woodhouselee Aisles. The Lairds and their families used the upper floors, and the Glencorse aisle has a vaulted undercroft (previously the Lairds had used lofts within the main body of the church). Robert Louis Stevenson attended the church in his youth, travelling over the Pentland Hills from Swanston. He later described it as the "most delightful place on earth." The church was used until 1885, when the present kirk was built to accommodate larger congregations due to more troops at the barracks. Robert Trotter (resident of Bush House) either repaired or added the timber spire to the old kirk, and a later descendant of the same name contributed £400 towards a new church. He also donated a field at New Milton Farm as a parish cemetery, which is still in use today. Old burial ground has interesting 'trade' gravestones (see separate listing).

The kirk fell into a state of disrepair and remained ruinous until it was re-roofed circa 2004 bringing it back into use for religious services. The interior has been consolidated but is in an "unfinished" state with exposed stonework and freestanding pews creating a picturesque atmosphere.

Descheduled and list description update 2013.

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