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Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland
Cockburnspath, Cockenzie and Port-Seton, Cockham, Cocklaw, Cockle, Cocklerue or Cuckold-Le-Roi, Cockno, Cock of Arran, Cockpen

I have taken these photos of Cockpen and Carrington church. I will send more information about the church once I have collated it for you. The church was built in 1820 and, originally was Cockpen Parish church. In 1975 Cockpen joined with Carrington Church and the United congregations have been worshipping here since then.

Best wishes


Cockpen & Carrington Parish Church

There has been a church at Cockpen since 1242. Initially consecrated by the Abbot of Newbattle Abbey and served by the monks until the Reformation, the first Minster was William Knox, brother of John Knox.

The ruin of the old church lies about half a mile south of the present building, and, although the exact date of its erection cannot be ascertained, it did exist pre-reformation. The Kinkaill Bell (whose before and after pictures appear elsewhere) was cast in 1680 in Europe and was purchased by Cockpen Church in 1708.

At the beginning of the 19th Century the Earl of Dalhousie decided to have a larger church in the Parish and he commissioned the present building. At the same time the Marquis of Lothian wanted to be included in the plans and offered to help provided the tower (84feet high) could be seen from both Dalhousie Castle and Arniston House. The cost was £3 400.00! The building was completed in 1820 and the Kinkaill Bell installed in the tower. It was recast in 1901 and still calls the congregation till this day. From the photographs it can be seen that the doors are red, because the church was once a sanctuary – a place of refuge for those in trouble – and should be left open. Sadly this is not possible in today's climate. The organ was installed in 1886 and was completely stripped and rebuilt in the late 1970s at a cost of £5,000.00. The windows in the North and South transepts were renewed by the brothers Peter and William Brown at a cost of materials only. The church was lit by oil lamps until 1957 when electricity was installed.

In 1975 the congregation was joined by the congregation of Carrington Parish church and the joint name has been in use ever since. (Carrington Church was sold for £1,000.00),

Referring to the photographs, the following may be of interest:

The portrait in the vestibule is of the Reverend R Montgomerie Hardie who ministered in this church from1903 till 1943

The waistcoat was worn by the Laird of Cockpen when he was a young lad

The Christening font was gifted in memory of Mr Montgomerie Hardie

The Communion Table in the foreground was gifted by James Stoddart, ex Provost of Bonnyrigg, in 1909, in memory of his late wife

The minister’s chair was gifted by the wife of Rev Montgomerie Hardie in 1909 in memory of their children who died in infancy

The smaller Communion Table in the background is from Carrington Church remembering the Reverend W G Gore who ministered from 1864 till 1916

On the Carrington Table is the Cockpen Pulpit Bible of 1672

A list of ministers is appended below:

William Knox 1567-1592
William Knox (son) 1592-1623
Adam Penman 1624-1670
Thomas Wood 1671-1680
Alexander Wood 1681-1690
Richard Howieson 1691-1694
David Lindsay 1695-1745
John Bonar 1746-1756
William Gloag 1758-1767
James Steele 1768-1782
Ebenezer Marshall 1783-1813
James Grierson 1814-1833
Thomas Pitcairn 1833-1843 (disruption)
William Davidson 1843-1850
John Muir 1851-1874
David Wallace 1875-1902
Robert Montgomerie Hardie 1903-1942
William Welsh 1942-1946
William McFarlane 1947-1955
John Ross 1956-1961
Leslie Watt 1961-1966
John McBurnie 1966-1974
R Crichton Robertson 1975-1978 (union with Carrington )
Miss Myra Smith 1978-1979 (link with Lasswade)
James Brown 1980-1991
Mrs Wendy Drake 1992-2008
Matthew Ross 2008-2013
Ms Lorna Souter 2016-

Acknowledgement: “The Church at Cockpen” by Andrew and Jean Sharpe 1992

Videos of the church can be viewed on YouTube at:

Turning Aside
Turning Aside was commissioned by the Lothian Presbytery Forward Planning Coordinating Group. Exploring the Church of Scotland across East Lothian and Midlothian, the film features interviews with a wide variety of people involved in the life and work of the Kirk alongside the region’s beautiful landscape as it slips from autumn into winter.

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