Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.

STOBO PARISH CHURCH AND CHURCHYARD INCLUDING BOUNDARY WALLS, MORT HOUSE AND GRAVESTONESLB15356

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
A
Date Added
23/02/1971
Supplementary Information Updated
06/03/2013
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
Planning Authority
Scottish Borders
Parish
Stobo
NGR
NT 18271 37654
Coordinates
318271, 637654

Description

Early 12th century with later alterations, largely reconstructed by John Lessels in 1863 and reconstructed N chapel by James Grieve 1928. Romanesque church, largely rectangular-plan in two sections with lower, narrower nave to E and W tower with pitched roof and stone arched belfry. Sited to centre of large rectangular graveyard on elevated, steeply sloping site. Later medieval additions of transept chapel to E of N wall (reconstructed 1928) and porch to W of S wall enclosing original Romanesque entrance door. Pebbledash render. Later pointed arched windows and doors to S elevation with small rectangular window, plain doorway and complex 4-light traceried window with circlet to apex to chancel. 2 small round topped slit windows to N chancel wall, 3 carved stone pedimented memorials to E gable and dwarf stone walled burial enclosure with wrought-iron railings off centre to right.

Decorative stone sawtooth skews with pyramidal skewputts, stone ridges, graded grey slates, and 4 gabled roof dormers with slated cheeks to N roof pitch. Cast-iron rainwater goods. Plain squared and diamond pattern leaded glazing with various decorative painted panels.

INTERIOR: fine interior scheme largely dating to 1863 remodelling with surviving 12th century Romanesque elements such as two widely splayed narrow arched windows to the N of the chancel and the two doorways to nave.

Arched braced exposed timber roof structure with balcony to W end with quatrefoil top detailed timber balustrade supported on octagonal timber columns. Timber boarding to dado painted render above,

timber pews, stone slabbed floor. Chancel with large arched recess and 2 arched windows to N wall, large traceried window to S and tripartite pointed arched memorial panel with prayer to gable.

N chapel with exposed rounded field rubble stonework to walls and coursed stone vaulted ceiling, recess to N with paired round headed windows and circular light over. Decorative margined white marble floor pattern. Freestanding timber chairs. Stained glass windows to S, leaded lights elsewhere.

CHURCHYARD, BOUNDARY WALLS, MORT HOUSE AND GRAVESTONES: large, irregular rectangular-plan graveyard enclosing church on steeply gradiented site with ancillary structures and range of important 17th century pictorial gravestones (see Notes). Stone and slated mort house midway up north boundary wall, squared rubble stone wall enclosure with wrought iron gate to south wall with further smaller enclosure on higher ground to west. Rubble and boulder capped wall to N, and S, bounded by hedge to SE corner and taller smooth coped walls to later graveyard extension to W end. Rounded coursed red sandstone gatepiers with domed caps, decorative wrought-iron gates. Mid 20th century extension to Western, higher level end of graveyard site.

Statement of Special Interest

Place of worship in use as such.

Stobo Parish Church is one of the two most complete Romanesque parish churches in the Scottish Borders, still in use, along with Legerwood Parish Church (see separate listing). The church has a very similar plan layout to the A-listed Dalmeny church near Edinburgh. A parish church is noted on this site by 1120 linked to Glasgow Cathedral although the building is also referenced to have been founded in 1127 and dedicated to St Kentigern (St Mungo). The building retains early Romanesque fabric despite undergoing incremental changes over the centuries; a major remodelling phase was undertaken around the 15th and 16th centuries, again in the later 19th century and additions in 1928. The walls, now rendered, are likely to be largely original and further Romanesque fabric is evident in the 2 arched and widely splayed windows in the N chancel wall and two nave doorways the N of which is now converted to a window. The S (main entrance) doorway (now enclosed in a later porch) consists of two plain arches with octagonal nook-shafts and scalloped caps to the jams. The survival of this original Romanesque door in a common position, to the W end of the south elevation of the Nave, is unusual as many of the doors in this position in early churches were relocated or blocked up to allow for the internal replanning of post reformation worship.

The chancel and former 15th century N aisle were separated off after the Reformation and the N aisle fell into a state of disrepair and collapse. John Lessels (1809-1883) carried out a major restoration in 1863 at which point the chancel was brought back into use, the windows reopened and the chancel arch widened and replaced with a new arch. The timber roof and dormers also date to Lessels reworking. John Lessels had been a student under William Burn and when Burn moved to London in the 1840s Lessels had the opportunity to take on his former clients in the Borders, some of the first being the Montgomery's of Stobo for whom he added a porte cochere to Stobo Castle in 1849, as a precursor to the work at the parish church.

James Grieve (1863-1939) rebuilt the outer walls and vault of the ruined N aisle on a smaller scale than the original in 1928 in a rounded masonry style with a rounded curved roof. Grieve was Clerk of Works for R S Lorimer, working on both Ardkinglas and the Thistle Chapel in St Giles Cathedral and his work at Stobo is reminiscent of Lorimer's Arts and Craft style detailing.

The tower was raised above the first floor in the 16th century and the upper parts of the tower have been altered with stages of works carried out in 1657 and 1765. A new stone floor was added at the 1st floor of the tower to form a meeting room, with a timber forestair in 1991. The 17th century 'jougs' on display to left of entrance porch were used to shackle offenders by the neck in the 18th century.

Some of the 17th century pictorial gravestones are important historical references for the period costume they depict.

Category changed from B to A, and list description updated and statutory address amended in 2013. Previously listed separately as 'Stobo Parish Church'(HB 15356) and 'Churchyard' (HB 15377).

References

Bibliography

Roy Map (1752-55). 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1855). K Cruft, J Dunbar, R Fawcett 'Buildings of Scotland, Borders' 2006 (p699). C Strang, 'Borders and Berwick' (1994) p245. I G Lindsay 'The Scottish Parish Kirk' (1960) p9. J R Hume 'Scotland's Best Churches' (2005) p26. Dictionary of Scottish Architects (www.scottisharchitects.org.uk), accessed 2012.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see www.historicenvironment.scot. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

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