The ruins of the church centre around a rectangular structure with N and S additions. Dates in the 16thc and 17thc for the primary post-Reformation additions have been suggested, but there is no surviving documentation concerning this work. Major construction on the the church is only first recorded for 1739-40, when certain renovations were carried out. Minor repair and maintenance is documented in succeeding decades, including for replastering in 1776, but no major construction is recorded after 1740. Following much consideration in the early 19thc about the cost of renovating the church, it was decided to rebuild on a completely different site. The new church was begun in 1818.
During the 1993 excavations, earlier activity beneath the church was found, but there was no evidence of a pre-Romanesque church. Foundations of the Romanesque church were discovered with a chamfered plinth beneath the N and S walls and for the original W wall, which was further E than at present. These showed that the first church was about half the length of the present structure.
Within the surviving nave walls of the church are reused stones from the Romanesque church. Other carved stonework, with roll mouldings, survive and are laid out in the E part of the church, now overgrown. There is also a single head of beakhead form built into the E exterior of the S extension.
There is no mention of Cockpen Church in the 12thc, but in 1356 Patrick de Ramsay granted the church at Cockpen to Newbattle Abbey. The Ramsays were lords of Dalhousie, with their main castle nearby. The first record of a Ramsey family member is that of Simon de Ramsay (Simundus de Ramesie), who appears in a documents in Scotland c.1140. It has been suggested that he followed David I from Huntingdonshire to Scotland sometime between 1124 (when David became king) and 1140. Although no documents concerning the construction of the medieval church survive, it is thought that the E end was extended in the 13thc and the W end in the 14thc.
The red sandstone block has been reused as a decorative stone on the E exterior of the room added on the S side at the W end of the nave. It is carved with a weathered head from which a four-stranded beard emerges from its chin. The lower section of head and the beard overlap a section of roll moulding. As the carved portions are partly inbedded in the wall, it is uncertain how far it extended onto the lower part of the roll. Whether this stone was used as a corbel, on an arch or in some other capacity is difficult to determine at present.
Carved from red sandstone, only part of the cross survives, reused as building stone in the S exterior nave wall. The surviving sections of arms show that they were each of triangular splayed form, with recessed triangular sections between them. It is unclear how the original stone was used.
There are two red sandstone blocks carved with chevron which have been reused in the interior facing of the S nave wall. Both are well weathered, but seem to have been carved with a series of raised rolls and cavettos. Because of the weathering, it is difficult to determine the exact cross sections of the carved faces. The measurements, however, suggest that both stones are voussoirs that once formed part of an arch.
|Lower stone height on left side||0.20 m|
|Lower stone height on right side||0.17 m|
|Lower stone width||0.25 m|
|Upper stone height on left side||0.17 m|
|Upper stone height on right side||0.14 m|
|Upper stone width||0.25 m|
A number of loose voussoirs, carved from sandstone, have been gathered together in the E part of the church, but these are now largely overgrown with moss. All seem to be from the same, large arch and are carved with a three-quarter roll on the lower edge of the main face, flanked by chamfers. There appears to be no other carved work on the voussoirs.
|Diameter of roll||0.09 m|
The sandstone block has been reused as building stone in the interior S wall of the room built off the S side at the W end of the nave. The block has been carved as a voussoir with a roll flanked by chamfers. There is no evidence of weathering and the stone retains significant portions of paint (white with red lines).
|Diameter of roll||0.13 m|
R. Fawcett, et. al., Corpus of Scottish Medieval Parish Churches (http://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/corpusofscottishchurches/)
D. MacGibbon and T. Ross, The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, 2, Edinburgh
C. McWilliam, The Buildings of Scotland, Lothian, Harmondsworth 1978, 140-41.
J. O’Sullivan, ‘Archaeological excavations at Cockpen medieval parish church, Midlothian, 1993’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 125 (1995), 881-900.
RCAHMS, Inventory of Monuments - Midlothian and West Lothian, Edinburgh 1929, 11-12.