Haddington, St Martin's Church

Feature Sets (2)

Description

The ruins of the church are situated to the E of the town, in the area called the Nungait. Only the nave now survives, but originally the church consisted of a rectangular two-chambered structure, excavations revealing that there was a squared chancel east of the nave. Surviving evidence shows that the nave was vaulted, but it is thought that the vault was added, along with the exterior buttressing, in the 13th century.  The side walls of the nave have large, single-splayed, rounded windows without decoration.  However, the original chancel arch does survive, as does one voussoir re-used in the N interior wall.

History

Little is known about the early history of Haddington. The Burgh was founded by King David I and a church dedicated to the Virgin was granted by the king in about 1134 to the church of St Andrews. Then, sometime between 1153 and 1178 Alexander de St Martin was given lands near Haddington by the Countess Ada (widow of Prince Henry, son of King David I); it is not known if this included the present church. In 1178, Ada founded a priory (nunnery) in Haddington and Alexander de St Martin appears to have gifted the lands and buildings of St Martinsgate to this.  At a later date, it is known that the nunnery held courts ‘apud Ecclesiam S. Martini in lie Nungait’.  In 1567, the prioress disposed of the priory lands, which were then conferred by Queen Mary on William Maitland of Lethington.

Features

Interior Features

Voussoir re-used in N int. nave wall

The re-used, plain stone is clearly a voussoir from an earlier arch, but it is uncertain from which part of the church it comes.

Arches

Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch.

The single order chancel arch consists of plain voussoirs, an outer hoodmould, plain jambs, and undecorated imposts without capitals.  Both the imposts and enclosing hoodmould have a simple lower chamfer.

Dimensions
Chancel arch, width between jambs 2.15 m

Comments/Opinions

There is no agreement for the date of St Martin's Church, with suggestions ranging from the early-12th century through to the late-12th century.  The simplicty of the structure leads one to think it is earlier rather than later, but the recorded history leaves it open to the possiblity that the church only came into existence with the foundation of the priory.

Bibliography

  • D. MacGibbon and T. Ross, The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, I, Edinburgh 1896, 362-366; and II, Edinburgh 1896, 492-505.

  • C. McWilliam, The Buildings of Scotland: Lothian. Harmondsworth 1978, 237-8.

  • RCAHMS, Inventory of Monuments in East Lothian.¬†Edinburgh 1924, 43.

Location

Site Location
Haddington, St Martin's Church
National Grid Reference
NT 521 739 
Boundaries
pre-1975 traditional (Scotland): East Lothian
now: East Lothian
Diocese
now: n/a
medieval: St. Andrews
Dedication
now:
medieval: St Martin
Type of building/monument
Ruined church  
Report authors
James King 
Visit Date
22 Sept 2011