12/12/2016
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

A history of Lennel medieval kirk

9e6d85e5-5326-4b9e-87e1-23dd7879f488

William Murray explores the history of Lennel Medieval Kirk, which has recently been studied by members of the Coldstream History Society. For history, heritage and archaeology news, opinion and features, sign up for our free e-newsletter.

It is unclear when exactly a church was erected in what is now the village of Lennel. The manor of Lennel, which included the church, was in existence during the reign of Edgar, King of Scots and was probably sited to the North of the Kirk. Edgar, or to give him his Gaelic name Eagar mac Mhaoil Chaluim, sat on the throne from 1074 to 1107 and was the fourth son of Malcolm the Third.

By the year 1120 there was a parish and church of Lennel and was mentioned in several clerical documents and Charters of that time under the various names of ‘Lienhale ‘, ‘Leyonall’ ,’Leinhall’ or ‘Laynell’. The Anglo Saxon ‘Lyn’ and ‘Len’ signifies a pool or bend in a river and ‘Hal’ means large house. It appears that half of the church was granted to Coldstream Priory in or around 1166 by Cospatrick, Earl of March, and shortly after his death the other half was passed over to the Priory by his successor Waldeve.

The church was in the Diocese of St Andrews was served by chaplains appointed by the Priory. In 1243 the church was dedicated to St Mary by David de Bernham who was then Bishop of St Andrews.

Post-medieval history

It was noted that by 1627 there were over 800 communicants aged over 18 years. However by this time following the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England the bulk of the population was beginning to shift towards the settlement of Coldstream, which was positioned beside a major ford on the River Tweed.

It was now thought necessary to have a new and much larger church built in the centre of the burgeoning town, now free from the ravages of invading armies. Partly this was because the old church was in very poor condition and the cost of repairs were nearly as much as the costs of a new building. There were objections to the move, led by the Earl of Haddington of Lennel and Lady Grissel Ker who was then living at Milnegraden but these were, however, overruled and the building of the new church went ahead.

The new church, in Coldstream High Street, was paid for by Charles, the earl of Home and completed in 1705 and it became the new Parish Church in 1718. After that there was no further talk of repairs to Lennel Church and it was allowed to fall into a ruinous state. There is a relic, now housed in Coldstream Museum, called the ‘ Lendon Hand Bel ‘. This bell was used at Lennel probably as a ‘Mort Bell’. in the churchyard rather than in the church itself. It would have been tolled on the day a villager died so that people could pray for the soul passing into eternity. It would also have been rung again before the cortege on the day of the funeral.

Apparently this bell has not been rung once since the Reformation in the 16th century and it did well to survive the attentions of the Protestant reformers who were keen to destroy everything connected to the Roman Catholic church. Instead the Bell was handed over to the Reformed Church together with other ecclesiastical property and thus it survives to this day as by far the oldest relic in the Parish.

William Murray MA is vice chairman of Coldstream & District Local History Society. For more on the society, visit their website.

 

Images from top: copyright Walter Baxter and James Denham.

Back to "Features" Category

12/12/2016 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Outlaw James Macpherson was hanged at Banff - On this day in Scottish history

Outlaw James Macpherson was hanged at Banff on 16 November 1700 for cattle and sheep stealing.


National Museums Scotland reveals its exhibitions programme for 2019

Exhibitions exploring romantic visions of Scotland, robots and conscientious objectors are among the ...


The story of the Jacobite steam service on the West Highland Line

A history of one of the Great Railway Journeys of the World – the Jacobite line between Mallaig and Fort ...


Fight for the Castle - brand new permanent exhibition opens at Edinburgh Castle

A fourteen-foot-high sculptural siege engine forms the centrepiece of Fight for the Castle, a new exhibition ...


Other Articles

Walk in the footsteps of Mary Queen of Scots - history travel trail

In our latest guest blog, to mark the release of the film Mary Queen of Scots, Anne Daly of Mary's Meanders ...


James Bruce claimed to have discovered the source of the Nile - On this day in history

On 14 November 1770, Scottish explorer James Bruce claimed to have discovered the source of the Nile in ...


2019 dig dates announced for Swandro Dig on Rousay - archaeology volunteers welcome

Applications are now open to volunteer for the 2019 Swandro Dig on the island of Rousay, which will take ...


On this day in history - Author Robert Louis Stevenson was born

Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was born on ...