Dunglass Collegiate Church

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This is a long low cruciform building set in the grounds of Dunglass House, just off the A1, north of Cockburnspath. There has been a church here since the early 15thC if not earlier. In 1443 Sir Alexander Hume owner of adjacent Dunglass Castle, employed a provost, three chaplains and four choir boys to pray for the souls of his family buried in the church. The church was elevated to collegiate status.

Statues were removed during the Reformation in 1560 and mass was abolished by Act of Parliament in 1563. This ended collegiate system, although the building continued to be used as church. Dunglass Castle was destroyed by Coventers in 1640. The church continued to be used until it was sold to a local farmer in the 18thC. He used it as a barn and the east window and surrounding stonework were removed to make a large entrance.

The estate was acquired by the antiquarian St James Hall in 1807 who built nearby Dunglass House. The south transept was used as the Hall family burial vault. The estate was bought by the Usher family in 1919 who rebuilt Dunglas House after it had been demolished by a fire in 1947.

Dunglass House is not open and there are large private signs on all the roads around the church. There is a large marquee on the lawn beside the church suggesting that it is now licensed for weddings.

The stone building with the remains of a central tower and sacristy has a massive stone slab roof. Outside the south side of the church is the grave of Basil Frances Hall, Baronet and his wife surrounded by metal railings. There are two small doorways at the end of the nave and a door on the west wall of the chancel which has a heraldic shield above and an empty niche which would have held a statue. Most people however walk through the demolished east end.

On the chancel wall is the remains of a three seat sedilia. The sacristy was used as the burial aisle for the Hume family, although there are no memorials left.

The south transept was used by the Hall family and the walls are covered with 19th and 20thC family memorials.

Even on a warm sunny day it is a sad, damp place. There isn’t a lot to see but it may be worth making a detour if you have time to spare and want a break.

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