Sir William Bruce, 1673; porches added 1820; restored 1969-72. Greek Cross plan church with low central tower surmounted by squat steeple and Gothick porches to NW and SE re-entrant angles. Harled rubble with red sandstone ashlar dressings, including vertical margins at arrises, coped gables with beaked skew putts to each arm and architraved openings. Simple Gothic mullion and transom window with intersecting tracery and moulded architrave to gable of each arm; pair of wide rectangular windows with moulded architraves below.
TOWER: 2-stages; square in plan to apex of roofs; octagonal above. Single round-arched window with keystone and imposts and louvred vents to alternate faces of upper stage. 2 pigeon holes beneath eaves to each face. Squat spire surmounted by weather vane.
ARMS: fenestrated to gable end only, apart from N and E arms, each of which have a single low wide window, built into upper section of original church entrance towards NE re-entrant angle (corresponding entrances formerly existed to SW re-entrant). Gable of N arm surmounted by small sandstone cross finial and its skew putts surmounted by sandstone obelisk finials (only pair remaining intact of those originally flanking each gable). Stone slab funerary plaques mounted on church wall to W side of S arm and N side of E and W arms.
PORCHES: of square plan. Eaves band with crenellated sandstone parapet with ridged coping above. Entrances to N side of that to NW re-entrant and S side of that to SE re-entrant. Each with round-arched doorway with hoodmould and replacement boarded timber door. Simple Gothick window to W and E sides respectively.
Multi-pane timber windows; some of lower ones with top hoppers; single stained glass window to N gable. Grey slate roofs.
INTERIOR: pointed arches spring from piers to each side of crossing. Late 18th century panelled pulpit of hexagonal plan and hexagonal sounding board with pointed apex surmounted by gilded spiked ball finial attached to SE corner of crossing; later pilastered back with incised lines. Boarded timber dado and panelled box pews to ground floor and lofts. Lofts installed at different dates from about mid 18th century onwards. Much refitting of interior in 1820, when porches added (to give covered access to lofts in place of external stairs which had preceded them) and 1860's. Stone flagged floor to each porch; half turn staircase with stone steps and timber handrail supported on plain cast iron balustrade; 6-panel internal timber doors at ground and upper levels. Stained glass window to N arm dedicated to daughter of former minister in 1901.
ENTRANCE GATES AND CHURCHYARD WALL: pair of sandstone ashlar gatepiers. Rusticated piers on moulded bases to outer/N face; plain/largely rendered to gate reveals and inner/S face. Each with cornice decorated by 3 flower motifs to N/outer face and moulded coping surmounted by obelisk with recessed panel to each face. Replacement cast iron gates. Whinstone rubble wall encloses churchyard, apart from at railed gaps at NE and SE corners; mainly with rubble coping; squared sandstone ashlar coping, largely replaced in concrete, to N side, where main section of wall was lowered in 1980's. Various gravestones incorporated into wall, including early 19th century red sandstone monument with moulded pediment and oval plaque and headstones of Romanes family tomb (Robert Romanes was distinguished local historian). Churchyard contains variety of 18th and 19th century gravestones.
Statement of Special Interest
Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Built by John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale to replace the original Lauder church which stood outside the village and close to his residence, Thirlestane Castle. William Bruce was at the time engaged in remodelling the castle. In a letter dated 15 April 1673 the Duke requests that the church should be 'decent and large enough, with a handsome little steeple, if any of the timber of the old church will serve, it will be cheaper etc'. The aisle-less Greek cross plan with arms of equal length appears to be unique in Scotland and is thought to derive inspiration from the church of Francois Mansart at Balleroy in France (Fenwick). Originally, when the service was Episcopal, the church was probably without lofts and the east arm was the choir. Later, during Presbyterian worship, the choir appears to have been disused for a while and the lofts were erected; The Trabroun loft, over the S aisle, is known to have been existence by the mid 18th century; the Tweedale loft was constructed over the formerly disused choir in 1789; the Lauderdale (Maitland) and town lofts are first mentioned in 1820 in connection with their original external staircases. Stylistically the lofts are very similar and consistent with a mid/later 18th-early 19th century date, with the Trabroun and Lauderdale lofts being slightly the earliest in appearance. The Parish Minister applied to the church heritors for the enclosing of the churchyard in 1784. In 1820 the pulpit was lifted and set back to the east by one foot by taking the corner off a pillar and alterations were made to the pews. In 1835 a weathervane was erected. In 1862 the lofts were altered and a greater slope made to the galleries. In 1864 wooden floors were installed and the pews were altered and refitted. Restoration work carried out between 1969 and 1972 included the replacing of stonework to the windows and doorways, the renewal of the datestone and the re-harling of the exterior. The bell was the gift of Charles, Earl of Lauderdale in 1687 and has been recast twice, in 1751 and 1834.