St Cuthbert, Dalmeny

Feature Sets (4)

Description

Dalmeny church is a four-cell building consisting of a west tower, nave, vaulted chancel and vaulted apse.  The original west tower seems to have collapsed in the fifteenth century and was subsequently re-built on the same ground plan in 1937, preserving the original sides of the tower arch (capitals and bases) leading into the nave. Four corbels which were found when the tower arch blocking stone was removed have been re-used on the interior of the tower.  In 1671, much of the eastern part of the north wall of the nave was taken down to form a new aisle and this area was again altered in 1816.  The twelfth-century parts of the church are built from a local sandstone, which on the interior of the church is a soft, light brown, but on the exterior has weathered to a light grey.  Both on the interior and on the exterior faces of the walls, the stone is of coursed ashlar and of high quality.  In the 18th century, the nave walls were lowered and the chancel walls heightened to form a continuous roof line, but these were put back to their original levels in the restoration work carried out between 1927 and 1937.  In addition, some of the windows had had the inner orders taken out to create more light in the 18th century and these windows were restored back to their original form during the restorations.  Only one window in the main part of the church is entirely modern, that west of the south entrance, which was inserted in the 18th century to allow light into the gallery (since removed) which had been built at the west end of the nave.  In the apse, a tomb niche was inserted into the south interior wall at some point subsequent to the twelfth century.

On the interior, both the chancel arch and the apse arch are elaborately decorated with chevron patterns and there are head corbels carrying both rib vaults, but it is the south exterior entrance which has the most elaborate decoration, though badly weathered.  This consists of a doorway with voussoirs carved with various figures and heads, and an upper zone carved with interlacing arcading surmounted by head corbels. In addition, there are three original, heavily decorated windows on the apse, two on the chancel walls and three on the nave walls. Original exterior corbels survive in situ on the chancel, apse and above the south entrance, and there is a 12thc sarcophagus outside the church.

The west tower of the church is thought to have fallen c.1480, at which time the tower arch was filled with rubble. Four romanesque corbels, found when the tower was rebuilt in 1937, were inserted into the west interior wall of the tower above the tower arch.  Sometime before 1604 a loft was built into the west end of the nave.  Around 1671, part of the north nave wall was taken down to build a north aisle (called the Rosebery aisle), while in 1766 the exterior wall walls of the choir were heightened and the nave walls decreased in height so that the roof continued unbroken across both.  Sometime also in the later 18th century, a new window was inserted on the south side of the nave, west of the doorway, to allow light into the loft.  In 1816, a gallery was built in the Rosebery aisle and a plaster ceiling in imitation of the stone vaulting in the eastern parts was constructed over the nave (since removed).  About the same time, a porch which had been built in front of the south nave doorway, the roofline still in evidence, was taken down, along with the removal of the south chancel doorway. In 1832 a new west belfry was added.  Restoration work on the church was finally carried out between 1927 and 1937, at which time the pews and west loft were also removed.  A new west tower was also built onto the west end during these restorations after some discussion of the form it should take.  Finally, in or before 1948, A.J. Turner undertook a study of masons’ marks in the church.

History

The early records of the town refer to it as Doumany or Dunmani, but there are no known extant documents referring to the building of St Cuthbert’s Church.   It has been suggested that there was an earlier church on the site, but little evidence has been put forward to support this.  Certainly nothing is known between this possible earlier church and the present church and no early carved work has been found on or near the site.  During the medieval period, we know that the church was dedicated to St Cuthbert and that there were two other altars, one dedicated to St Adamnan and the other to St Bridgit.  The dedication of the church to St Cuthbert has continued to this day, but the associations with SS Adamnan and Bridgit have disappeared, along with their altars. Traditionally, the church has been thought to have been built by Gospatric, but there has been considerable confusion about just who this Gospatric was, as the name is found frequently in the family of the Earls of Dunbar. 

Features

Exterior Features

Doorways

Nave, S doorway.

Round headed, 3 orders. The main entrance (and only original doorway) to the church, located on the south side of the nave, consists of a highly decorated doorway surmounted by a series of blind interlacing arches above which are seven corbels.  The doorway, itself, is carved with radiating voussoirs, all of which are original except for the inner order which dates from restorations carried out  between 1927 and 1934. Because of severe weathering of the stone, much of the original detailing no longer survives.

Dimensions
1st order (modern), doorway exterior height 3.05m
1st order (modern), width between jambs on exterior 0.88m
2nd order, E capital, depth 0.205m
2nd order, E capital, height 0.245m
2nd order, E capital, width 0.215m
2nd order, height 3.25m
2nd order, W capital, depth 0.21m
2nd order, W capital, height 0.25m
2nd order, W capital, width 0.205m
2nd order, width (between bases) 1.34m
2nd order, width (between capitals) 1.36m
2nd order, width (between imposts) 1.30m
3rd order, E capital, depth 0.23m
3rd order, E capital, height 0.245m
3rd order, E capital, width 0.25m
3rd order, W capital,depth 0.205m
3rd order, W capital, height 0.25m
3rd order, W capital,width 0.255m
E imposts, height 0.17m
interior height of doorway 3.46m
interior width of doorway (between jambs) 1.345m
W imposts, height 0.16m
1st order

Entirely of 1927-34. This inner order is entirely of the restorers design, there being nothing left in situ on which to base it, this having been removed at some earlier date. It is therefore not described here.

2nd order

Octagonal en-delit nook-shafts on tall chamfered bases, original but badly weathered. The shafts carry worn block capitals with plain roll neckings, the W chipped.   The W capital is carved with two lower rows of deeply-cut arches which curve around the capital.  At the top of each face are two curving stems, each of which finishes in the upper corners with a spiral (volute) shape.  Midway along the stems is a linking clasp. Both faces of the capital are carved with the same decoration. The decoration of the E capital consists of a corner head from whose mouth emerge long tendrils ending in spirals.

The decoration on all the doorway imposts seems to have been the same as on the label, consisting of a repeated pattern of a motif formed by two curved stems crossing, at each end of which was a spiral. The lower edge of each impost has a simple plain chamfer

Each of the 13 voussoirs of the archivolt is carved with a design in relief as follows (from W to E):

1) Winged birdlike animal with interlacing tail.

2) Two affronted human-like figures, each seated on the ground, with hand and feet stretched out towards each other.  It is possible the figures originally jointly held something, but this is not entirely certain.

3) Bird with twisting tail facing curving snakelike form.

4) Winged quadruped with tail curving up over its back.

5) Winged, beaked animal with interlacing tail and two legs.

6) Bird with tendril interlacing around its tail.  It is unclear whether the interlacing part is attached to the bird or separate from it.

7) Two animals and foliate motif.  The lower figure is a quadruped with open-jawed head, while the upper animal, also a quadruped, is badly weathered with now-indeterminate features.

8) Single winged animal with a head at both ends.  At least one of the heads has an open jaw.  From the bottom of the wing emerges a foot-like form.

9) Two affronted and interlaced dragon-like figures with wings, the heads crossing over each other and the legs extending out towards each other.

10) Lion-like quadruped.  The tail loops down between the back legs  and then up over the back part of the animal.  The tail ends in a tuft-like form.

 11 )Winged quadruped with bird’s head.  The tail loops up between its back legs, over the animal’s back and extends up between the wings.

 12)Interlacing serpent-like animal with head in the upper east part of the voussoir.

 13) Agnus Dei.

3rd order

Cylindrical en-delit nook-shafts on tall chamfered bases, original but badly weathered. The shafts carry worn block capitals with plain roll neckings and the imposts are as the 2nd order. The E capital is carved with two lower rows of deeply-cut arches which curve around the capital.  At the top of each face are two curving stems, each of which finishes in the upper corners with a spiral (volute) shape.  Midway along the stems is a linking clasp.  Both faces of the capital are carved with the same decoration.

The W capital is carved with a corner head with open mouth, out of which interlacing tendrils emerge.  On the south side of the capital, biting the head, is a quadruped, while on the east face an interlacing serpent-like creature also bites at the head.

The archivolt is unusual in that its voussoirs are alternately flat faced and bulbous (i.e. projecting from the plane of the arch). The 17 voussoirs of the archivolt are carved with relief designs as follows (from W to E):

1) Two seated human-like figures.  The one on the left appears to have two heads and extends his arms towards the other figure.  The figure on the right holds a spear in his left hand and has his right arm extended in front of him.  It is possible that originally he held something in this hand.

2) Grotesque mask which projects out from the main plane of the arch.  The jaw is open and appears to have had large teeth.

3) Sagitarius-like creature shooting an arrow towards a now-indeterminate form.

4) Grotesque mask which projects out from the main plane of the arch.  The jaw is narrower than the upper part of the head and its mouth is of oval shape.

5) Weathered, tree-like form with a series of  pointed, spear-like projections or branches. Earlier photographs and drawings seem to show that there were either seven or eight of these pointed projections originally carved.

6) Weathered Grotesque mask which projects out from the main plane of the arch.

7) Weathered decoration which may have originally had a human figure and interlacing form in front of it (based on what survives and earlier photographs and drawings).

8) Weathered grotesque mask which projects out from the main plane of the arch.

9) Weathered decoration originally carved with two human-like figures and something else (based on what survives and earlier photographs and drawings).

10) Now indecipherable carved decoration, but earlier photographs show that this was another projecting grotesque mask with open mouth.

11) Weathered figure facing frontally and seated on a throne-like chair.  The figure's hands are raised up and at least one of the hands originally held something (based on what survives and earlier photographs and drawings)

12) Projecting grotesque mask with open jaw and pointed teeth.

13) Maned, lion-like quadruped with head facing outwards.  The tail curves down between the back legs and up over the animal’s back, ending in a double tuft-like form.

14) Projecting grotesque mask, now too weathered to determine the original features.

15) Human-like figure holding something in its right hand, riding a horse-like quadruped (based on what survives and earlier photographs).

16) Projecting grotesque mask with open-mouthed toothed grin.

17) Interlacing, now too weathered to determine if this was originally just interlace or of zoomorphic form.

Most of the decoration on the label has weathered away, but enough survives to determine the original design.  This consisted of a repeating pattern of a geometric motif formed by two curved stems crossing, at each end of which was a spiral.  The inner part of the label is formed by a simple plain chamfer.

Side figures

To each outer side of the label is a figure.  That on the east side wears a long tunic, faces inwards and carries a spear and shield.  The rest of the detailing has weathered away.  The figure on the west side wears a shorter tunic and also a belt, but again the main details have weathered away.

Windows

Apse E window

Two orders, round headed. The plain and continuous inner order of the window arches is not original, but most of the 2nd order is, except for the N impost.  The label decoration consists of three rows of alternating billet.  The archivolt is carved with chevron which curves over the lower edge of the archivolt.  The S impost has a plain upper face with lower roll, beneath which is a chamfered edge. Only the S capital's decoration is still clearly identifiable, but the N capital appears likely to have been similar.  The decoration on each of the two carved faces of the of the S capital consists of two concave stemmed volutes, those on the corner meeting along the edge of the volutes, themselves. Beneath the corner volutes is carved a motif with concave stem, topped with a central point flanked on each side by a spiral. Across the stem, itself, are carved two small roll mouldings.

Apse N window

Two orders, round headed. The inner order of the window is plain and continuous. The outer order consist of a label carved with triple, alternating billet. The archivolt is carved with chevron which extends over the lower edge. Both imposts are plain, with a simple lower chamfer. The two capitals are of double scallop form with plain upper faces.

Apse S window

Two orders, round headed. The 1st order of the window is plain and continuous. The outer order consists of a label carved with triple, alternating billet. The archivolt has chevron which curves over the lower edge.  The imposts are plain with a lower chamfered edge.  Because both capitals are heavily weathered, it is difficult to decifer the original decoration of the E capital, but the W capital seems to have been carved with a corner head from whose mouth eminate long tendrils ending in a series of spirals.

Chancel N window

Two orders, round headed. At one time, a roof must have cut across this window, the scars of which survive. The inner order is plain and continuous. The outer label is carved with a series of saltires with beading in the spaces.  The archivolt has chevron which extends over the lower edge. The E impost is weathered, but may originally have been carved with some sort of interlace on the upper face above a plain lower chamfer.  The W impost appears not to have been carved but has a lower chamfered edge. Both capitals are heavily weathered but may have had some sort of interlace carved on them.

Chancel S window

Two orders, round headed. The plain and continuous inner order is not original and the outer order of the S window of the chancel is heavily weatherd. The label was originally decorated, probably with a four-petalled 'flower' motif. The archivolt has chevron which curves over the lower edge. Both imposts were decorated, possibly with arched forms.  Neither capital is now easily legible, but the W capital appears to have had some sort of animal.

Nave N window

Two orders, round headed. Only this one window on the N side of the nave survives. Its inner order is plain and continuous, but the outer label has a series of four-petalled 'flowers' carved on it. The archivolt has chevron which extends over the lower edge.  Only the W impost is original and has a plain upper face separated from a lower chamfered edge by a quirk. Both capitals are fragmentary and only the E capital decoration is deciferable. This seems to have a winged animal with knotted tail.

Nave S window, 1st E of doorway

Two orders, round headed. The plain and continuous inner order is not original. The label of the outer order is carved with interlace and the archivolt is carved with chevron which extends over the lower edge. Both imposts were decorated, but both are difficult to decipher.  The E capital is broken on the W face, but the S face retains one upper volute and two rows of arches below this. The W capital is broken on the E face and is too weathered to be certain of the original design.

Nave S window, 2nd E of doorway

Two orders, round headed. The plain and continuous inner order is not original. The order is heavily weathered, but the label appears to have originally been carved with a series of 'flower' motifs. The archivolt is carved with chevron that extends over the lower edge. Both imposts are too weathered to determine any original decoration, but the lower edge is chamfered.  The E capital seems to have had two animals with heads meeting on the corner, while the E capital decoration consists of a central stem from which emerge side spirals. The decoration on the E side of this capital no longer survives.

Exterior Decoration

String courses

Apse stringcourse

On the S side of the apse the stringcourse is carved with beaded rinceaux (running scroll), but on the  N side it is carved with a series of 8-petalled flower motifs.

Chancel N wall stringcourse

The N stringcourse of the chancel has 8-petalled flowers, but the centre nob of each is carved/drilled out. 

Chancel S wall stringcourse

Stringcourse carved with beaded rinceaux (running scroll).

Nave N wall stringcourse.

The stringcourse on the N wall of the nave is chip-carved based on a motif formed by a diagonal line across a square.

Dimensions
height 0.17m

Nave S wall stringcourse

Stringcourse carved with beaded rinceaux (running scroll).

Arcading

Blind arcade above S nave doorway

Above the south doorway an area of blind arcading, above which is a series of 7 corbels (see section on corbels).  Below the arcadings is what appears to have been a decorated stringcourse which is now much weathered.  Except for 2 capitals, the decoration of which is badly weathered, the capitals are of double-scallop form.

Corbel tables, corbels

Apse corbel table

Apse Corbels:  There are 24 roof corbels on the apse exterior.

A1. Two rolls placed one on top of the other.

A2. Grotesque beast head with tongue-like form projecting out from its mouth.

A3. Humanoid head with mustache.

A4. Grotesque beast head.

A5. Humanoid head.

A6. Grotesque beast head with mustache-like decoration.

A7. Grotesque beast head.

A8. Grotesque beast head, its hands holding open a wide mouth with tongue.

A9. Humanoid head with open mouth and extended tongue.

A10. Grotesque beast head with hands holding open a circular mouth with a circular row of teeth.

A11. Humanoid head with oval shaped mouth.

A12. Beast head with muzzle around its jaw.

A13. Grotesque beast head.

A14. Bearded humanoid head with hands holding open its oval-shaped mouth.

A15. Beast head with harness or muzzle formed by two connecting straps, one around the jaw and one around the upper part of the head.

A16. Grotesque beast head with curved forms over its temples (horns?).

A17. Bearded grotesque beast head.

A18. Horned, ram-like head.

A19. Grotesque beast head with open mouth and small tongue.

A20. Two, joined humanoid heads.

A21. Grotesque beast head.

A22. Grotesque beast head with oval mouth.

A23. Grotesque beast head with large open mouth and tongue (replaced?)

A24. Badly weathered corbel of indeterminate form (not illustrated).

Chancel N side corbel table

There are 11 roof corbels on the N exterior wall of the chancel.

NC1. Grotesque beast head with prominent eyebrows.

NC2. Weathered corbel of indeterminate form.

NC3. Grotesque beast head with flaring nostrils, prominent eyebrows and open mouth with tongue protruding.

NC4. Fox-like head with pointy ears.

NC5. Grotesque beast head with prominent eyebrows and wide mouth.

NC6. Grotesque beast head.

NC7. Grotesque beast head with prominent eyebrows and pointy mustache.

NC8. Quadruped with open jaw and tail curving down between its legs and up over its back.

NC9. Alternating rows of billet.

NC10. Foliate form with lower and upper leaves and two interlacing stems.

NC11. Humanoid head with protruding eyes, flaring nostrils and wide toothed mouth with tongue.

Chancel S side corbel table

There are 11 of these, the same number as on the north side of the chancel.

SC1. Grotesque beast head with hands holding open a large mouth.

SC2. Grotesque beast head with flaring nostrils and large toothed mouth.

SC3. Weathered head with open mouth.

SC4. Grotesque beast head with open jaw.

SC5. Grotesque beast head with open mouth and mustache-like forms on either side of its nose.

SC6. Grotesque beast head with open mouth and mustache-like forms on either side of its head.

SC7. Humanoid head.

SC8 Grotesque beast head with open mouth and protruding tongue.  On either side of the nose are mustache-like forms.

SC9 Humanoid head.

SC10. Beast head with open mouth and muzzle around its jaw.

SC11. Weathered corbel, possibly originally of grotesque beast head and short arms.

Corbel table above S nave doorway

Although the rest of the nave corbels no longer survive, there are 7 corbels at the top of the south nave entrance. These are badly weathered and most of the details no longer survive.

SE1. Grotesque beast head.

SE2. Double headed corbel, the heads now of indeterminate form.

SE3. Grotesque beast head.

SE4. Fragment too weathered to determine its original form.

SE5. Grotesque beast head with curved ears which appear to extend out of the eyebrows.

SE6. Mustached humanoid head.

SE7. Corble too weathered to determine its original detailing, but seems likely from what survives to have been a grotesque beast head.

Interior Features

Arches

W tower arch.

Round headed, 2 orders to E and W. The archivolts and label of the tower arch are not original, but the original capitals, jambs and bases survive relatively intact.

Dimensions
approximate width of N capital (originally) 0.68m
height of N capital 0.28m
height of S capital 0.265m
width of arch (at base) 3.26m
width of N capital (now) 0.63m
width of S capital 0.68m
1st order (shared)

Engaged half-columns on dosserets, carried on single chamfered bases.  The half-shafts support capitals as follows: that on the S side is damaged on the W face, but is otherwise intact. Originally it seems to have had four scallops on the main face, the central two separated by a concave wedge. There is also a concave wedge on the E corner and the lower part of one on the W corner. The upper face of the capital is plain.  The N capital is also scalloped, also with four scallops on the main face and a central concave wedge, but there are no wedges on the corners. Both the W and the E sides have been damaged.  The upper face of the capital is plain. Both capitals have plain roll neckings. Imposts are quirked chamfered, and the arch is plain and unmoulded.

2nd order, E face

Plain square jambs on chamfered bases with no capitals and imposts as 1st order. The arch is plain and unmoulded.

2nd order, W face

As 2nd order E face.

Chancel arch/Apse arches

Apse arch

The highly decorated, round headed apse arch has two orders to E and W and a label.  Although some of the bases are new, some are original.

Dimensions
N side, centre capital height 0.33m
N side, centre capital width 0.48m
N side, E capital height 0.33m
N side, E capital width 0.30m
N side, W capital height 0.33m
N side, W capital width 0.30m
S side, centre capital height 0.33m
S side, centre capital width 0.48m
S side, E capital height 0.33m
S side, E capital width 0.30
S side, W capital height 0.33m
S side, W capital width 0.30m
width of arch (at base) 2.45m
1st order (shared)

Engaged half-column supports carried on bases that differ on N and S. Those on the north side consisted of an upper chamfer (possibly concave), then two equally sized roll mouldings, with a larger roll at the bottom.  Those on the south side are not quite the same, consisting of upper concave band, single roll and larger lower roll. The shafts carry triple-scalloped capitals.  The shields are plain while the lower cones are separated by concave wedges. All the capitals have plain roll neckings. Both 1st order capitals have been carved out in the lower centres.  The N capital is also damaged on the lower E corner. Capitals carry plain chamfered imposts with a roll between face and chamfer.

The arch has chevron carved on both the E and W sides.  There are 6 rows of centrifugal face chevron on either face, alternately rolls and quirks, with a cogwheel inner edge, all carved on a convex curved profile. This chevron meets in a band along the centre of the soffit which is chip carved with saltires, some of which have beads in the spaces.

2nd order E face

A simplified version of the 2nd order W face, with no carving in the arch and no label.

2nd order, W face

Engaged nook-shafts on bases as the 1st order, with double-scalloped capitals with concave wedges between the cones and plain roll neckings. Imposts are as the 1st order.  The arch has a similar chevron treatment as the W side of the 1st order, but without the cogwheel edge. The label is chamfered and its face decoration consists of mostly chip-carving in the form of a series of squares each with a diagonal, but at the northern end there are 5 saltires with beads in the spaces. The chamfer of the label is carved with pipeline billet.

Chancel Arch.

The round-headed chancel arch has two orders on each face in the jambs and on the E side arch, but three orders and a label on the W face arch. There is no label on the E face. 

Dimensions
N side, centre capital height 0.30m
N side, centre capital width 0.43m
N side, E capital height 0.30m
N side, E capital width 0.29m
N side, W capital height 0.30m
N side, W capital width 0.29m
S side, centre capital height 0.30m
S side, centre capital width 0.43m
S side, E capital height 0.30m
S side, E capital width 0.30m
S side, W capital height 0.30m
S side, W capital width 0.30m
width of arch (at base) 3.26m
1st order (shared)

Large, engaged half columns on dosserets supported by replaced bases.  Both capitals have four scallops on their main faces. Between the central two cones is carved a sharp fillet (partially damaged on the S capital).  A fillet is also carved on each of the corners. Neckings are plain and chamfered (N) or roll (S), and the impost is chamfered with a roll between face and chamfer. The arch decoration is similar to the apse arch, i.e. it has chevron carved on both the E and W sides.  There are 6 rows of centrifugal face chevron on either face, alternately rolls and quirks, with a cogwheel inner edge, all carved on a convex curved profile. This chevron meets in a band along the centre of the soffit which is chip carved with saltires, some of which have beads in the spaces.

2nd order E face

Engaged nook-shafts on replaced bases, carrying scalloped capitals (3 scallops on N and S faces, 2 on E faces) with a sharp fillet between the cones on the angle only. Neckings are plain roll (S) or chamfer (N), and the imposts are the same as the 1st order.  The arch is plain and unmoulded with no label.

2nd order W face

Engaged nook-shafts on replaced bases, originally carrying scalloped capitals (3 scallops on N and S faces, 2 on W faces) with a sharp fillet between the cones on the angle only. Neckings are plain roll (S) or chamfer (N), and the imposts are the same as the 1st order.  The N capital has lost the E cone on the S face, and the S has lost the entire N face and part of the necking and W face, leaving just one cone on that face. The arch is as the 1st order, W section but without the cogwheel edge or the chip-carved band.

3rd order W face (arch only)

A third arch order rests on the imposts of the 2nd order capitals on the W face only.  The arch is as the 2nd order W arch and there is a chamfered label carved with a series of 4-petalled 'flowers', each chip carved on the face only.

Vaulting/Roof Supports

Chancel

Chancel vault

The chancel is covered with a quadripartite rib vault, whose ribs have a half-roll on the soffit and lateral centrifugal chevron on each side face consisting of a quirked roll with a cogwheel inner edge. There are four interior corbels and imposts on the interior of the chancel, each supporting one of the vault ribs. The corbels are carved with a series of beasts' heads. The imposts are plainly carved.

Dimensions
NE corbel height 0.30m
NE corbel width 0.30m
NW corbel height 0.31m
NW corbel width 0.30m
SE corbel height 0.30m
SE corbel width 0.30m
SW corbel height 0.30m
SW corbel width 0.30m
NE corbel

The corbel is carved in the form of an animal head, with open, toothed mouth. Within the mouth is an oval shape, presumably meant to imply a tongue. The nose is carved in a cone-like shape, with holes at the wider end to suggest nostril holes. To either side below the nose are wide, striated areas suggestive of hair or fur. The eyes are set at a slant, each of tear-drop shape. Above each of these is a single roll-like motif, surmounted by a series of spirals. Either side of these is a shallow, pointy ear. Remains of red paint are apparent on parts of the corbel. The impost is chamfered with a roll between face and chamfer.

NW corbel

The corbel is carved with a beast head with wide, toothed mouth and protruding tongue.  The nose is carved simply with holes at the bottom to suggest nostril holes. The nostrils, themselves, are shown by a single incised line on either side of the lower nose. The eyes are tear-drop in shape with carved centres.  Above the eyes are two rolls above which is a series of spirals suggesting hair or fur.  Either side of this are small, pointy ears. The W side of the head is damaged. The impost is chamfered with a roll between face and chamfer.

SE corbel

The corbel is carved with a shallow beast-head mask. The beast has a wide, toothed mouth with tongue protruding. Just above the mouth, on either side, is a small roll, perhaps suggesting moustaches. The nose is carved with flaring nostrils which continue on to form the 'lips' around th mouth.  The eyes are of tear-drop shape and above these are two rolls at forehead level.  Above these is a series of spirals and either side of this is a pointed ear shape. The head is carved at a slant. The impost is chamfered with a roll between face and chamfer.

SW corbel.

The SW corbel is carved similarly to the SE corbel, with a beast-head mask carved with a wide, toothed mouth and projecting tongue. The nose has flaring nostrils and these continue to form the 'lips'. Above these lips, on either side, is a roll motif, perhaps to suggest a kind of moustache. The eyes are tear-drop in shape and have two rolls above them. At the top is carved a series of spirals. To either side of these is a pointed ear shape. The head is carved at a slant. The impost is chamfered with a roll between face and chamfer.

Apse

Apse vault

The apse is covered with a quadripartite rib vault, whose ribs have a half-roll on the soffit and a hollow on each side face. There are four interior corbels with imposts in the E apse, each supporting one of the vault ribs.  The corbels are carved with a series of heads and masks, but only two imposts have carved decoration (at the NE and SE).

Dimensions
height of imposts 0.17m
NE corbel depth 0.20m
NE corbel height 0.24m
NE corbel width 0.28m
NW corbel depth 0.19m
NW corbel height 0.25m
NW corbel width 0.29m
SE corbel depth 0.19m
SE corbel height 0.24m
SE corbel width 0.28m
SW corbel depth 0.21m
SW corbel height 0.25m
SW corbel width 0.285m
NE corbel

The NE corbel has a shallow face masks carved on a slant. The mask is carved with a wide, toothed mouth from which a small tongue protrudes.  The nostrils of the nose flare out on each side. These continue to form the 'lips' around the mouth. Just above the mouth, on both sides, is a small roll, suggestive of a moustache. At the top there are pointy ears between which a series of 'tufts' are shown ending with small spirals. The foreheads is formed by a series of 4 carved rolls. The eyes are of wide, teardrop shape with carved centres.

The mask supports a chamfered impost with a quirk between face and chamfer. The decoration of the face is formed by alternating major and minor motifs. The major motif consists of a central, concave stem with pointed top, flanked on each side by a simpler stem ending in a spiral.  Across the three stems are carved two horizontal bands.  The minor motif consists of two stems ending in spirals. Across the two stems are carved two horizontal bands.

NW corbel

The NW corbel has a head carved in the shape of a man, with small side arms ending in hands that seem to keep the mouth pulled open.  The mouth, itself, is small and toothed.  Below this is a series of vertical strands, each carved with a 'rope' motif. The tear-drop shaped eyes flank a simple nose with small holes for nostrils.  Above the eyes is a series of ribs, some of which extend onto the sides of the head. A small, shallow ear is carved on either side towards the top. The impost is chamfered with a roll between face and chamfer.

SE corbel

The SE corbel has a shallow face mask carved on a slant. The mask is carved with a wide, toothed mouth from which a small tongue protrudes.  The nostrils of the nose flare out on each side. These continue to form the 'lips' around the mouth. Just above the mouth, on both sides, is a small roll, suggestive of a moustache. At the top there are pointy ears between which a series of 'tufts' are shown ending with small spirals. The foreheads is formed by a series of 2 carved rolls. The eyes are of wide, teardrop shape with carved centres.

The mask supports a chamfered impost with a quirk between face and chamfer. The decoration of the face is formed by alternating major and minor motifs. The major motif consists of a central, concave stem with pointed top, flanked on each side by a simpler stem ending in a spiral.  Across the three stems are carved two horizontal bands.  The minor motif consists of two stems ending in spirals. Across the two stems are carved two horizontal bands.

SW corbel

The SW corbel has a carved animal head set against a concave background. This head is shown with a muzzle, along which which is carved a lozenge motif. The mouth is open and toothed and has a small tongue protruding.  The nose is carved simply, with two lower holes to suggest nostrils. The eyes are teardrop in shape and are carved with a thin roll around each. Above this is a series of rolls, suggesting a forehead, either side of which is a pointy ear. The impost is chamfered with a roll between face and chamfer.

Interior Decoration

Miscellaneous

Chancel tomb recess.

The tomb recess on the S side of the apse interior appears to have been a later insertion. It cuts through the upper window's lower splay and there is evidence of some slight replacements in the surrounding stonework.  The outer profile of the arch is of a form which suggests that it is not contemporary with the main work on the church, consisting of a corner roll with, on its inner side, a concave band, below which is a curved edge.

W tower interior, E wall corbels.

There are four of these corbels which were found when the reconstruction of the tower was carried out in 1937. These were found re-used as building stone in the built-up tower arch at the west end of the nave.  They are now built into the E side of the E wall of the tower.  Weathering on the corbels suggests they were originally placed on the exterior.

Re-used corbel T1

T1. Grotesque beast head with toothed oval mouth and protruding tongue.

Re-used corbel T2

T2. Grotesque beast head with protruding eyes and toothed mouth.

Re-used corbel T3

T3. Grotesque beast head with hands holding open its oval-shaped mouth and large protruding tongue.

Re-used corbel T4

T4. Grotesque beast head with beading on its forehead  The features on the lower part of the head are too weathered to determine.

Furnishings

Tombs/Graveslabs

Sarcophagus.

A few medieval grave coverings survive inside the church, but none of these appear to be romanesque.

There is, however, a large sarcophagus cut from a single stone outside the south entrance. The west end of the stone has been cut out to accommodate the head of the interred. The sarcophagus is decorated on three sides only and it seems likely that it once stood inside the church against one of the north walls. The lid is no longer with the sarcophagus, but one was reported to have been found with the sarcophagus though it's present whereabouts is unknown. According to the 1845 reference, the lid was also decorated. This same reference also states that the coffin and lid were originally found when a grave belonging to the Stewarts of Craigie was dug, but no date is given as to when this occurred.

North Exterior Side: no carved work.

West Exterior Side: There is a large figure carved on this side.  It is greatly weathered and no longer entire, but it appears to have originally represented a quadruped.

South Exterior Side:  Originally the carving seems to have shown 13 long-robed figures under arches, the central figure larger than the others.  It has been postulated that this is a representation of Christ and the 12 Apostles.  The northernmost figure has now largely broken away and all the figures are badly weathered.

East Exterior Side: Representation of a large quadruped with right paw raised.  The tail seems to have extended up over its back.  Part of the head is missing and most of the animal is badly weathered.

Dimensions
distance from church 3.80m
height (approximate) 0.53m
length 2.30m
width at E end 0.58m
width at W end 0.75m

Comments/Opinions

Few churches in Scotland have retained so much of their original decoration. Dalmeny is now often referred to, not without grounds, as the best preserved romanesque church in Scotland.  Its decoration places Dalmeny in a group of related churches, the main ones being the abbey church at Dunfermline (Fife), the ruins of the parish church of Tynninghame (East Lothian), the parish church of Leuchars (Fife), and St Giles church in Edinburgh (the doorway of which is known from an early drawing before it was destroyed).  Scholars in the past have noted the close affinities with all of these and with the carved work at Durham Cathedral.  

For some time it has been recognised that the carved work at Dalmeny can be paralled with work at the abbey church of Dunfermline (Fife), and ultimately with Durham Cathedral.  Other churches in eastern Scotland, most noticeable being St Baldred’s, Tyninghame (E. Lothian), St Athernase, Leuchars (Fife) and St Giles, Edinburgh form a stylistic group of churches; all are assumed to have been built after the abbey church of Dunfermline, started c.1128 and dedicated in 1150.  A date in the 1140s, 1150s or early 1160s is the most likely period for the construction of the church at Dalmeny. If, indeed, Gospatric of Dalmeny was responsible for the church, which seems probable, then suggestions that the carved sarcophagus was his seems not unreasonable.  In the past, there has been a great deal of confusion over the name Gospatric (or Cospatric) as numerous members of the Dunbar family were given this name. One theory is that Gospatric, son of Waldeve/Waltheof (who died sometime after 1126), grandson of Gospatric Lord of Dunbar (d. c.1065), was second cousin to Gospatric III Earl of Dunbar (d.1166), while the other suggestion is that the church was actually built for Gospatric III Earl of Dunbar, himself.  Sometime between 1153 and 1160, in a charter King Malcolm IV wrote to Gospatric, son of Waltheof, and the abbot of Dunfermline to transport by ferry Robert, bishop of St Andrews, and his men across the Forth River.  It has been argued that this Gospatric was the owner, therefore, of Inverkeithing, Dalmeny and Dundas. Robert Avenel, parson of 'Dunmani' was mentioned in a charter of Waldeve son of Gospatric, recorded in the Registrum de Dunfermelyn.

Bibliography

  • Anon., Dalmeny (an illustrated leaflet, issued with an appeal for funds for the restoration of the church, 1931?).

  • R. Billings, The Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland, (Edinburgh and London, 1845-52).

  • N. Cameron, “The Romanesque Sculpture of Dunfermline Abbey: Durham versus the Vicinal”, Medieval Art and Architecture in the Diocese of St Andrews, British Archaeological Transactions, 14, ed. J. Higgett (Leeds, 1994), 118-123.

  • P. MacGregor Chalmers, Dalmeny Kirk: Its History and Architecture, (Glasgow, 1904).

  • F.H. Fairweather, Aislesless Apsidal Churches of Great Britain (Colchester, 1933).

  • G. Holton, Some Notes on the History of the Parish and Church of Dalmeny, (Edinburgh, 1980).

  • I. Lindsay, St. Cuthbert’s Parish Kirk, Dalmeny (church guide), (Houston, 1949).

  • D. MacGibbon and T. Ross, The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, 1 (Edinburgh, 1896).

  • J. Miller,  the History of Dunbar, (Dunbar, 1830).

  • The New Statistical Account of Scotland, 2 (Edinburgh and London, 1845)

  • C. Radford, "Dalmeny Church (NT 144775)", Archaeological Journal, 121 (1965), 186-7.

  • RCAHMS, Tenth Report with Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Midlothian and West Lothian, Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1929).

  • Registrum de Dunfermelyn, publ. The Ballantyne Club, (Edinburgh, 1842).

  • A. Reid, “Sculptured Sarcophagus and Churchyard Memorials at Dalmeny; with Notes on the Churchyard of Edzell, Lethnot, and Stracathro”, Proceedings of the Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland, 49 (Edinburgh, 1914-15), 285-303.

  • J. Sinclair, The Statistical Account of Scotland, 1 (Edinburgh, 1791)

  • A.J. Turner, "Dalmeny: Mason's Marks", notes and drawings done June 1948. Copy kept in church.

Location

Site Location
Dalmeny
National Grid Reference
NT 144 775 
Boundaries
now: City of Edinburgh
pre-1975 traditional (Scotland): West Lothian
Diocese
now: n/a
medieval: St. Andrews
Dedication
now: St Cuthbert
medieval: St Cuthbert
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
James King 
Visit Date
17 Sept 2010, 24 April 2011, 25 Feb 2014