We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St Mary, Ratho, Midlothian

(55°55′24″N, 3°23′20″W)
NT 133 709
pre-1975 traditional (Scotland) Midlothian
now City of Edinburgh
medieval St. Andrews
now n/a
medieval St Mary
now St Mary
  • James King
  • Neil Cameron
21 April 2011, 25 July 2011

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=10263.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.

Feature Sets

The church has undergone numerous changes throughout the past, but still incorporates masonry of 12thc. date. The base course with chamfered edge, presumably from the Romanesque church remains in part on the exterior of the W front and the lower part of a blocked doorway on the N side of the nave can still be seen. The most significant surviving section of the early church is part of a blocked doorway on the S exterior of the nave, west of the later (1830) S extension. There is evidence above the doorway of at least two phases of construction. The church interior was re-ordered in 1932 and nothing Romanesque is now to be seen inside.


There are no known documents referring to the church before the middle of the 13thc., when the church appears to have been an independent parsonage. In 1444, the tiends and patronage were appropriated to the collegiate establishment at Corstorphine with the consent of the Archbishop of St Andrews.


Exterior Features




There is no documentary evidence to help date the Romanesque church. The decoration on the doorway points to a date in the 12thc., but the scallop capital is not distinct enough to narrow down the date. Sawtooth decoration is not a commonly found motif in Scotland, but it does occur in the early part of Kirkwall Cathedral, a church largely influenced by Dunfermline Abbey church and Durham Cathedral. Stylistically, the most likely date for the church at Ratho, therefore, would seem to be either the 2nd or 3rd quarters of the 12thc.


R. Fawcett, Corpus of Scottish Medieval Parish Churches (http://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/corpusofscottishchurches/)

D. MacGibbon and Ross, The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, I (1986), 371.

C. McWilliam, The Buildings of Scotland: Lothian (Harmondsworth, 1978), 401-2.

RCAHMS, Inventory of Monuments - Midlothian (1929), 158.