St Mary's Church
St Mary's Church
Situated within thirty minutes of the heart of Edinburgh, Haddington’s St Mary’s Church is one of the most visually impressive buildings in East Lothian. It was built in the early Gothic style – starting in the late 14th Century – and has seen much work done in its restoration and maintenance in the centuries since. It can also claim to be the longest church in Scotland at 206 feet from east to west, making it of a scale that you might expect from a cathedral.
Haddington was Scotland’s fourth largest town in the High Middle Ages and the first chartered Royal Burgh. Founded as a Collegiate Church in 1380, and taking over one hundred years to build, the church was largely ruined during the mid-sixteenth century Siege of Haddington. Although many improvements were made in the centuries that followed, it was not until the 20th Century that the building was fully restored.
The interior of the church immediately grabs the attention too with its extensive sexpartite vaulting and evocative ambiance. Here we hold our services, study groups and deliver the Sunday sermon. Although the church tower had been silent since 1548 when the bells were removed, a set of eight new bells were installed in 1999 and a new pipe organ was also installed in 1990. Our choir adds to the atmosphere at our 11am service where around 20 singers perform music in a variety of styles from the Church's rich heritage. Expect everything from the plainsong - which would have been the first music heard in the building in the 14th century - to modern composers such as Kenneth Leighton and John Rutter.
The building is not only an inspiring place of worship for its congregation, but one of the riches of the Lothians which people, of all denominations and none, regard as a great communal asset.