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Dunglass Collegiate Church, 70m east of 2 Stable Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Dunbar and East Linton, East Lothian

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Latitude: 55.9396 / 55°56'22"N

Longitude: -2.3752 / 2°22'30"W

OS Eastings: 376659

OS Northings: 671897

OS Grid: NT766718

Mapcode National: GBR NFH0.NKM

Mapcode Global: WH8W8.HZ51

Entry Name: Dunglass Collegiate Church, 70m E of 2 Stable Cottages

Scheduled Date: 10 September 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13313

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: collegiate church

Location: Oldhamstocks

County: East Lothian

Electoral Ward: Dunbar and East Linton

Traditional County: East Lothian


The monument comprises the remains of Dunglass Collegiate Church, founded in the first half of the 15th century. It is visible as a roofed building comprising a nave, crossing and bell tower, transepts, chancel and sacristy. The church is situated in the landscaped grounds of Dunglass House on a grassy plateau overlooking the Dunglass Burn. The monument was originally scheduled in 1921, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

Dunglass Church is cruciform in plan. Its nave measures approximately 12m by 6m E-W and stands 9m high from ground to apex of the vault. The chancel to the E of the nave measures 10.5m by 5.75m, with the apex of the vaulted ceilings 7.3m above ground level. A square central tower surmounts the crossing. The tower would have contained three storeys beneath the wallhead, with the floor beams supported on projecting corbels. A doorway in the wall above the W arch of the crossing would have given access to the lower apartments of the tower. The tower is flanked by transepts to the N and S which measure 7m by 4.1m and are 6.8m high from ground to apex of the vault. A small, vaulted sacristy, measuring 4m by 7m with a height of 7.2m, opens onto the chancel through an archway in the N wall. The walls of the church are of pink-hued sandstone ashlar and the roofs of the nave, chancel and transepts are overlaid with stone slabs. Works carried out by the HM Office of Works revealed the N wall of the nave and indicated that the church had originally been rectangular in plan, comprising a nave and chancel, with the tower and transepts added later. The original chancel arch on the E side of the later tower is the only one of the four crossing arches with foliage caps and late Gothic mouldings.

There are three open doorways to the church: the priest's door entering the chancel from the S, and doorways in each of the lateral walls of the nave to the W of the transepts. These have semi-circular heads with roll mouldings. Two later lintelled doorways can be found on the E wall of the S transept and the W wall of the sacristy, although the latter has been blocked up. A pointed arch window pierces both the W gable of the nave and the E gable of the chancel. The latter has been widened to allow access to the building when it was converted for use as a stable and barn in the 18th century. The nave and the chancel are lit by traceried windows: two windows in the S wall and one between the sacristy and transept. Each face of the tower is pierced by a lancet window with a trefoil head. The carved stonework of Dunglass Collegiate Church is particularly fine. In the chancel, the triple sedilia on the S wall has cusped and crocketted ogee canopies, pinnacles and corbels carved with angels playing musical instruments, while the corbels of the tomb in the sacristy are carved with female heads.

The scheduled area extends 5m beyond the visible remains of Dunglass Collegiate Church and includes the remains described above and an area around the church in which evidence for its construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes: any burial lairs where rights of burial still exist; 20th-century or later burial enclosures; the above-ground elements of the modern raised floors; the above-ground elements of all services and signage and footlights; and the top 200mm of all paths and gravelled areas to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an upstanding collegiate church that can make a significant contribution to our understanding of medieval ecclesiastical foundations in the Lothians, medieval patronage and status, and medieval Christian liturgy. Apart from the hole in the E gable of the chancel, the monument survives in excellent condition and is a remarkably intact example of a Scottish medieval collegiate church. It represents an important component of both the medieval and contemporary landscapes. It retains a number of unusual features, including the sedilia and the carvings of female heads on the recessed tomb in the sacristy. In addition to the upstanding structure, there is high potential for the presence of buried archaeological remains that can provide information about the sequence of development of the church and its reuse. Burial deposits can also inform us about medieval Christian burial ritual and belief, while skeletal remains can provide evidence for health, diet, illness and cause of death. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our ability to understand the form, character, architecture and decoration of medieval collegiate churches in lowland Scotland and their role in the expression of status.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the castle as NT77SE 4.

The church is a property in the care of Scottish Ministers.

A-Kelly, C (2000) 'Dunglass Collegiate Church, East Lothian (Oldhamstocks parish), carved stones', Discovery Excav Scot, 28-9.

Cowan and Easson, I B and D E (1976) Medieval religious houses, Scotland: with an appendix on the houses in the Isle of Man, 219. London.

Fawcett, R (2002) Scottish medieval churches: architecture and furnishings, 73, 115, 210, 236, 267, 333. Stroud.

MacGibbon and Ross, D and T (1896-7) The ecclesiastical architecture of Scotland from the earliest Christian times to the seventeenth century, 3v: vol 3, 179-89. Edinburgh.

RCAHMS (1924) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Eighth report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of East Lothian, 75-9, no 124, fig 115. Edinburgh.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Dunglass Collegiate Church
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Related Designations

Designation TypeGarden & Designed LandscapeStatusDesignated

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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