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Newlands Church and graveyard, 50m south west of Newlands House

A Scheduled Monument in Tweeddale West, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.7052 / 55°42'18"N

Longitude: -3.3365 / 3°20'11"W

OS Eastings: 316112

OS Northings: 646559

OS Grid: NT161465

Mapcode National: GBR 524G.GP

Mapcode Global: WH6TP.QVDP

Entry Name: Newlands Church and graveyard, 50m SW of Newlands House

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1971

Last Amended: 23 May 2018

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3071

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross-incised stone; Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Newlands

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Tweeddale West

Traditional County: Peeblesshire


The monument is a church and graveyard, first recorded in 1317. The church is roofless with the gables and walls standing almost to wall-head. The associated burial ground surrounds the church and is enclosed by stone walls. The monument is located on valley floor of the Lyne water at about 220m above sea level.

The church, aligned east-west, is rectangular on plan with external measurements of 19m by 8m transversely. On its west gable is an attached burial enclosure with crow-stepped gables. Another simpler burial enclosure is attached to the northeast of the church. Elements of the church date from the later medieval period including a large pointed arched window in the east wall and a round arched doorway through the south wall. The church underwent extensive post-Reformation changes with loft access added to the east and rectangular windows added to the south wall. In 1795, the church was gutted by fire and has been ruinous since then. The graveyard contains numerous stone grave markers, mostly from the 19th century, but with some 18th century examples. Immediately north of the church, a roughly rectangular carved slab, now set on end, is likely to be a medieval recumbent slab grave marker. Incorporated into the north graveyard wall is a cross incised stone which potentially has early Christian or medieval origins.

The scheduled area covers the church and graveyard, extending to and including the graveyard walls, and includes the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The schedule excludes all grave markers and memorials post-dating 1850, metal gates and railings and the Mackay of Scotstoun Tomb located at the northwest of the graveyard.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The cultural significance of the monument has been assessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics.

The church remains survive in very good condition with the walls largely complete to the wall-head. Although the architectural features suggest a 14th/15th century date for the church with extensive later remodelling, further analysis of the structure could provide more information on the chronology of the site, including its date of origin and development sequence. There is also high potential for buried archaeological deposits that could support a better understanding of the church structure. Excavation of other medieval churches and chapels has shown that they were often re-modelled and structurally adapted.

The graveyard is enclosed by a stone wall. Many grave markers are still standing with some 18th century examples displaying interesting carved details. Evidence of medieval remains in the graveyard include the slab standing immediately north of the church. This slab, around 1.5m tall, has the appearance of a medieval grave marker that would have been laid flat on the ground. The roughly hewn back and chamfered and squared edges are typical of such a slab. Also incorporated into the north graveyard wall is a rectangular stone with an incised cross which may be of an early Christian date.

There is also potential for historic burials within the monument and scientific study could reveal evidence for health, diet, illness, cause of death, and perhaps the types of activities people undertook during life over a long time period. Buried artefacts and ecofacts may also provide information about the nature and use of this ecclesiastical site. The original function of the monument was as a place of worship and burial, and the development of the building demonstrate the changes to Christian worship over a number of centuries.

Contextual Characteristics

The system of medieval parishes was consolidated under King David I and it is likely that the parish of Newlands was formally established sometime during his reign (1124 -1153), although the incised cross of potential early Christian date may indicate earlier origins. The rectory of Newlands is documented in Bagimonds Roll from the late 13th century, and the church was recorded as a benefice of Dunfermline Abbey in 1317. The present building is believed to date from the 14th century but may incorporate elements of an earlier parish church. The survival of substantial medieval churches as upstanding structures is not very common; many have been adapted, demolished and rebuilt or cannot be traced in the archaeological record. Although modified, particularly after the Reformation, the fact that this structure has medieval elements and stands almost to wall-head makes it a relatively rare survival in Scotland.

The graveyard displays evidence of great time depth as medieval stones, such as the grave slab and incised cross, are possibly originally from the medieval church and the graveyard itself displays significant mounding, especially on the interior of the west graveyard wall. This can indicate a long history of burials at the site.

The monument is a relatively prominent feature and focal point in the local landscape. A holy well called 'The Head Of Peblis' is recorded in the field to the north of the church (Canmore ID 49967).

Associative Characteristics

The earliest record of the church is from 1317 when John Graham, Lord of Dalkeith, gifted Newlands Church and grounds to the Abbot and monks of Dunfermline Abbey.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular to the study of medieval churches and ecclesiastical architecture. The structure of the church is substantially medieval with some post-Reformation alterations. The monument can contribute important information about the origin, form and development of medieval churches and their physical adaptation after the Reformation. The potential that site may have early Christian origins enhances its importance. It can also inform our understanding of burial practice and medieval and later health, diet, illness, and cause of death. The loss of the monument would impede our understanding of the architecture and development of medieval churches in lowland Scotland, and how they were adapted to post-Reformation worship.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE IDs 231363 (accessed on 22/02/2018).

Printed sources:

Brooke, C J. (2000). Safe sanctuaries: security and defence in Anglo-Scottish border churches 1290-1690. Edinburgh.

Fawcett, R (2002). Scottish Medieval Churches: Architecture and Furnishings. Stroud.

Fawcett, R. (2011). The Architecture of the Scottish Medieval Church 1100-1560. London.

MacGibbon and Ross, D and T 1896-7, The ecclesiastical architecture of Scotland from the earliest Christian times to the seventeenth century, 3v, Edinburgh, vol 3, 479-482.

Online sources:

Kirkurd and Newlands Parish Church of Scotland (official congregation website) church history: (accessed on 22/02/2018)


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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