Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site

Coldingham Priory Church including former hearse house and store, graveyard, boundary walls, gatepiers and gates and excluding scheduled monument SM383, ColdinghamLB4059

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
Planning Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 90394 65949
390394, 665949


A rectangular-plan parish church of composite Norman and First Pointed Gothic style. It incorporates fabric dating from the 11th century onwards including fabric from the 13th century cruciform-plan priory on the site. The building was extensively remodeled in 1662 with further work in 1851-55. A former hearse house, built around 1850, is located at the west entrance to the graveyard. The church is surrounded by an irregular-plan graveyard.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following is excluded from the listing: scheduled monument SM383.

The Priory Church is built in coursed pink and red sandstone. Each corner has a full-height square-plan tower with a pyramidal cap. Full-height and plain pilasters divide each bay of the east, north and west elevations. The bays have round-arched, blind arcading with chevrons and engaged colonnettes and there are pointed-arch lancet windows above. The south elevation has a gabled entrance porch, a pointed-arch bellcote and an engaged stair tower in the re-entrant angle to the right. There is a two-leaf timber door surrounded by a chevron moulded arch. The stained glass windows include work by Robert Home, dated 1904. Other windows are predominantly leaded diamond-pane glazing. The roof has grey slates with coped skews and parapet. Rainwater goods are cast iron.

The interior, seen in 1999, has a vestibule with a stair accessing the vestry to the northeast. The nave has a boarded timber floor, timber pews and an open beamed roof with boarded timber ceiling. The altar is at the east end and there is a large pipe organ at the west end. The west, north and east walls have continuous pointed-arch arcading at ground level with free-standing ashlar columns, foliate capitals, moulded arches and spandrel motifs. The clerestory level to the north and east walls has an arcaded walkway with free-standing clustered columns and tall nook shafts framing the lancet windows.

The former hearse house and store is a single storey, rectangular-plan, sandstone rubble building. It has a large two-leaf boarded timber door in the southwest gable with a small pointed-arch opening above the door. The northeast gable has a pointed-arch window with Y-tracery. The southwest elevation has a boarded timber door in a shouldered-arch surround and a small pointed-arch opening to the left. The roof has grey slates and coped skews. The interior was not seen in 1999. The sandstone gatepiers are square-plan with tiered pyramidal caps and have iron gates with a cross motif. The northern gatepier adjoins the south corner of the former hearse house.

The memorial stones in the irregular-plan graveyard include table-top monuments, classically-detailed stones, obelisks, decorative grave slabs and stones with carved memento-mori symbols.

Post-medieval rubble boundary walls, partially rebuilt and of varying height, enclose the graveyard.

Statement of Special Interest

A place of worship in use as such.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following is excluded from the listing: scheduled monument SM383.

The shire of Coldingham was given by King Edgar of Scotland to the Benedictine monks of St Cuthbert of Durham in 1098. The first church, probably serviced by monks from Durham Priory, was consecrated in 1100.

Shortly after its virtual destruction by the English King John in 1216, a new, much larger, cruciform-plan priory church was built and the existing monastic buildings renovated. In 1504 the priory was annexed to the Crown and in 1509 severed from Durham and placed under the Abbey of Dunfermline (also Benedictine). The priory was attacked by Cromwell in 1648 and the choir's south and west walls were blown out. In order to render the choir a suitable place for worship, these walls were rebuilt in 1662 and a bell tower was erected to the west.

In 1745, the church was again partially destroyed by fire, and around 1770, its vast tower (thought to have stood either in the northwest angle of the transept or over the crossing) collapsed. Much of the stone from these disasters went towards the construction of local houses.

By 1851 the church was in poor condition and required substantial renovation. These renovations, complete by 1855, included the removal of rubble to expose the original floor level and the foundations of the 1100 church, the gutting of the interior (including the removal of the galleries), the partial rebuilding of the west and south walls, the repair and replacement of the original carved stonework, the removal of the bell tower and the subsequent rebuilding of the west wall, the raising of the corner towers, the addition of a parapet, the installation of a new roof and ceiling and the formation of a new entrance with a vestry and belfry above to the south. In 1955 the pulpit and communion table were moved to the east end and the pews turned to face them.

The north and east walls of the choir of the present church incorporate fabric from the 13th century priory.

Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2017. Previously listed as 'Coldingham, Coldingham Priory (Church of Scotland) including transept arch, former hearse house and gravedigger's store, graveyard, boundary walls, gatepiers and gates'.



Historic Environment Scotland CANMORE ID: 60143


Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1856, published 1858), Berwick Sheet V.12 (Coldingham) 1st Edition, 25 Inches to the Mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (revised 1898, published 1899), Berwickshire 005.12 (includes: Coldingham) 2nd Edition, 25 Inches to the Mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Archive Sources

National Monuments Record of Scotland, Ordnance Survey Name Book (1856-1858) Reel 61, Book 10.

Printed Sources

The Statistical Account of Scotland (1794) Coldingham Parish. p.46-47.

Binnie, G. (1995) The Churches and Graveyards of Berwickshire, Berwick on Tweed: Published by the author. p.88-104.

MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1896, reprinted 1991) The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, Vol 1, Edinburgh: D. Douglas. p.437-448.

Robson, J. (1896) The Churches and Churchyards of Berwickshire. Kelso: Rutherford. p.51-60.

Thomson, A. (1908) Coldingham: Parish and Priory. Galashiels: Craighead. p.74-103.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (1909 and 1915) Inventory of Monuments in the County of Berwick. p.12-14 and p.35-43.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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 1997 Act. 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 subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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Coldingham Priory Church and graveyard looking south during daytime on a cloudy day.
Former Hearse House and north gatepier at Coldingham Priory Church, looking north during daytime with sun shining.



Printed: 21/05/2024 14:24