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Lamberton old church, church and churchyard 75m NNE of Border View

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8097 / 55°48'34"N

Longitude: -2.0521 / 2°3'7"W

OS Eastings: 396831

OS Northings: 657379

OS Grid: NT968573

Mapcode National: GBR G138.J7

Mapcode Global: WH9YB.G71K

Entry Name: Lamberton old church, church and churchyard 75m NNE of Border View

Scheduled Date: 11 March 1953

Last Amended: 29 October 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM384

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Mordington

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire

Description

The monument comprises the ruins of a church, dedicated to St Lambert. The first mention of a church at this location occurs in 1199 or 1200. The church occupies the crest of a prominent knoll that overlooks the North Sea and the road between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Eyemouth at a height of around 120m above sea level. The monument was first scheduled in 1954 but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains; the present scheduling rectifies this.

Preserved as a standing ruin, the remains of Lamberton old church lie within a burial ground enclosed by a post-and-wire fence on the south and a stone wall on all other sides. The church is aligned approximately E-W and measures 19m by 6.2m at its W end and 5.6m at its W end with walls standing to between 1.5m and 2.0m in height and rounded corners. The walls of the church have been capped with cement and there are patches of a similar type of render on the external wall-face. The interior of the church is divided into two compartments by a stone retaining wall that is likely to date to the late 18th or early 19th century when the ruin was reused for burial enclosures by prominent local families. The N wall of the church is built on two different alignments, with the E compartment being larger than that on the W and this suggests that the later medieval church was partially rebuilt prior to being used as a pair of burial enclosure. The external wall-face has partially collapsed at the point where the two compartments meet and the wall-core is exposed. Immediately to the east of the church is a level grassy platform. A substantial, squared, earthfast stone protrudes through the turf and appears to adjoin the SE corner of the building, suggesting that it may occupy the site of an earlier structure or realignment/rebuilding of the E gable. The W compartment has an entrance near the SW corner of the building. The entrance is faced with ashlar and may be an original feature or incorporates masonry from an earlier doorway. A substantial buttress, also constructed of ashlar, stands between the entrance and the SW corner of the building. A substantial mural monument, comprising a plain sandstone surround with a slate inscription panel, is built against the W wall and marks the burial place of the Logans of Lintlaw. One end of a partly buried stone trough or coffin lies close to the E wall of the compartment. The E compartment has an entrance in its SE corner which is similarly faced with ashlar and is furnished with a wrought iron gate. There are no funerary monuments visible. The burial ground surrounding the church is irregular on plan, with the SW-facing slope occupying a substantial proportion of the enclosure. Several headstones and a partly collapsed table tomb lie immediately to the south of the church near the top of the rise.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, defined by the boundary of the burial ground, to include the remains described above as shown in red on the accompanying map. All active burial lairs are specifically excluded from the schedule as are the above-ground elements of all burial monuments, both within the church and the burial ground. The above-ground elements of all post-and-wire fences, stile, the stone boundary wall and the wooden enclosures around the saplings are all specifically excluded from the scheduling to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

Rural church sites of the later medieval period rarely survive in an upstanding form and Lamberton old church is a well-preserved example of its type. Although the building has undergone renovation in the past it is likely that the present structure retains much of its original fabric, form and dimensions. It is likely that reuse as a pair of burial enclosures has ensured the survival of Lamberton old church with maintenance being undertaken by the owners of the lairs. There is excellent potential for the preservation of buried deposits around the church that could reveal earlier places of worship on this site as well as illustrating the construction and subsequent development of the present building and its conversion for use as a pair of burial enclosures. The burial ground is likely to contain interments associated with one or more of the phases of use of the chapel. In addition, buried deposits may reveal valuable information about the later medieval period in the area and the people living there at the time. Such deposits could also reveal the presence of other associated remains in antiquity, now removed.

Contextual characteristics

This church was part of a network of parish churches covering Scotland and served as a central place of worship, prayer, baptism and burial for the local community. Lamberton parish lay within the jurisdiction of the See of St Andrews and was part of the wider organisation of religion in later medieval Scotland. Comparison of the local ecclesiastical architectural features in this area with those on other Scottish churches may enhance our understanding of regional variation in ecclesiastical architectural in the later medieval period.

Associative characteristics

Lamberton church was dedicated to St Lambert, bishop of Maastricht, who was martyred in 709 and is patron saint of Liege in Belgium. Lamberton church is first recorded in 1199 or 1200 when the parish was granted to the monks of Durham, and its revenues to Coldingham Priory, by Roger de Beaumont, Bishop of St Andrews; the grant was confirmed in 1253. It is likely that Coldingham Priory supplied priests for services at Lamberton until the Reformation in 1560. In 1616 the parishes of Lamberton and Foulden parish were united and served by a Protestant minister. However the union proved short-lived and was dissolved in 1627 in favour of a new union with the parish of Ayton instead. This too was dissolved in 1650 and Lamberton parish merged with Mordington and has remained part of that parish ever since. The church of Lamberton likely fell into disuse as an active place of worship around this time, subsequently becoming a high-prestige place of burial for the Logans of Lintlaw and Burnhouses and the Rentons of Lamberton, both prominent local families in the late 18th and early 19th century. Lamberton Church appears in the 1503 marriage treaty of Princess Margaret Tudor and King James IV of Scotland as the place where Margaret was to be delivered to James' commissioners. Here Margaret's 2000-strong retinue of English noblemen and gentlemen were received by the Scots lords who took her to Dalkeith to meet James. Margaret returned to Lamberton in 1517 against a backdrop of political turmoil. With James IV killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513, Margaret married Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, in 1514. A power struggle for control of the young King James V broke out between Margaret and the Regent John Stewart, Duke of Albany, who was heir to the throne after James V. Albany forced Margaret and her husband to leave Scotland, fearing the influence of the Douglas family. Refused entry to Berwick-upon-Tweed, Margaret and Archibald stopped at Lamberton Church before proceeding to Coldingham Priory and then to Harbottle Castle in Northumberland where their daughter, Margaret Douglas, was born. In 1573 the Treaty of Lamberton was signed at Lamberton church, enabling an English army commanded by Sir William Drury to lay siege to Edinburgh Castle (then occupied by supporters of the deposed Mary, Queen of Scots) on behalf of the Earl of Morton, acting as Regent for the infant King James VI. In 1633 King Charles I was welcomed at Lamberton church by a substantial gathering of local notables, including prominent families from the Lothians and Teviotdale, and more than 600 mounted retainers and kinsmen of the Earl of Home.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular later medieval church organisation and religious practices in SE Scotland. This potential is enhanced by the relative rarity of this type of monument as later medieval churches in rural locations are not common. Lamberton old church possesses significant historical importance and is well-supported by documentary sources. In particular, the site is strongly associated with Scottish royalty, notably Margaret Tudor and King Charles I, and the civil war of 1568-73 between supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots and the government of the Earl of Morton. The loss of this monument would impede our understanding of later medieval parish churches in SE Scotland and our ability to understand the later medieval and Reformation periods in Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The RCAHMS record the site as NT95NE 8.00. The site is designated as 1220007 by the Scottish Borders Council SMR.

References

Binnie, G A C 1995, The Churches and Graveyards of Berwickshire, Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Cowan, I B 1967, 'The parishes of medieval Scotland', Scottish Record Society 93, 126-7.

Dent, J & MacDonald, R 1998, Christian Heritage in the Borders, Hawick: Scottish Borders Council.

RCAHMS 1915, Sixth Report and Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the County of Berwickshire, Edinburgh: HMSO, 152, No. 267.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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