Monday, 21 September 2009

Our Lady of Haddington, a Great Surprise

A couple of weeks ago, before starting at Swanvale Halt, I was up north of the Border visiting chums in East Lothian. On a day of constant downpour which thwarted our planned trip to a haunted castle we went instead to the fair town of Haddington, and visited the Kirk of St Mary, 'lantern of Lothian' as it was known. It was enough of a surprise to discover that the chancel lay in ruins until the 1970s and its restoration - hardly the most auspicious time for rebuilding churches. Then I turned a corner and found, in an ostensibly Presbyterian church, this:

Apparently the chapel containing the image of Our Lady, the successor to a medieval pilgrimage site, was restored in the 19th century by Earl Lauderdale, whose family were Episcopal (quite right too), and so remains officially an Episcopal place of worship.

Outside in common with many Scottish kirks is a wonderfully grim graveyard. There was plenty of fun to be had, even in the appalling rain, but my favourite was this little skellie peeping out from beneath a fallen urn to see whether it was safe:

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