The present parish church (St Mungo’s) dates from 1771 and is built on a new site near the old church. The surviving ruins of the earlier church seem to date from the 17thc. and early 18thc. In 1648, the church minutes record that the church was in need of significant repairs and in a memorandum of 1743, Sir John Clerk states that he had in 1733 built an aisle in the church, as the church had become too small. He also states that he had built the steeple of the church, which is presumed to refer to the surviving west tower. After 1771, the site of the old church was gradually sold off for burial. The only known evidence for a Romanesque church on this site is a multi-scallop capital re-used at ground level on the W nave wall (E ext. of the W tower). The plan of the Romanesque church, itself, is unknown.
Little is known about the early history of Penicuik. John Wilson (1891) says the earliest reference to the church that he could find referred to the advowson in the 12thc., which he said belonged to the lord of the manor. It is uncertain from where this information comes. Rymer (1745) lists a Walterus Edger, Persona Ecclesiae de Pemcok, Vicecomitis de Edenburgh as a witness to a 1296 charter of Edward I, believed to be the first definitive documented reference to both Penicuik (which in early records is called Penicok) and to the church. There is no known surviving medieval record for the dedication of the church, though it is assumed that the later references to St Kentigern (St Mungo) are likely to be continuations of the original dedication.
Built into loose masonry at the base of the west tower is scallop capital with four scallops across the front face, each scallop defined by at least one incised curve. Whether the scallops continued onto the sides is not possible to determine in the stone’s present location, built into later walling. It appears to have surmounted a double attached shaft, though neither the capital, itself, nor the rope-moulded necking is carved as two distinct capitals. Between the cones are concave triangles. There is also an incised triangle between the shaft sections at the top. How this stonework was originally used is uncertain. It may have been part of wall arcading, respond, doorway, arch or part of some church furniture, such as a pillar piscina, but unless the piece is removed and examined more fully, it is not possible to determine the most likely original setting.
|Diameter of shafts||0.14 m|
|Height of capital||0.17 m|
|Height of stone (total)||0.32 m|
|Width across top of capital||0.28 m|
G. Chalmers, Caledonia, new edn., vol. 4 (Paisley, 1889), 809-811.
R. Fawcett, et. al., A Corpus of Scottish Medieval Parish Churches (http://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/corpusofscottishchurches/)
C. McWilliam, The Buildings of Scotland: Lothian (Harmondsworth, 1978), 379-80.
RCAHMS, Inventory of Monuments - Midlothian and West Lothian (Edinburgh, 1929), 150-51.
T. Rymer and R. Sanderson, Foedera, 3rd edn., vol. I (1745), 163.
J. Wilson, Annals of Penicuik; Being a History of the Parish and of the Village, privately printed (Edinburgh, 1891), 72-95.