Duns Church History (1/12)


Our church has a long and rich history - Christian witness has been maintained on this site for the best part of 1,000 years. Norman architecture was identified in the original place of worship, and the earliest written record is of a parson called Patrick in 1165. For its first 400+ years Duns church was in Catholic use with the associated saying of masses and maintenance of altars, including one dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is thought the original building had north and south ‘transepts’ and an eastern ‘chancel’, although these may simply have been later burial aisles, and was thatched. After the Reformation in 1560 the ‘nave’ was adapted for Protestant function, possibly in 1572 which was the date of the old burgess loft, and would have featured simple whitewashed walls, wooden benches and long communion tables. Originally the married men’s goal in the famous Ba Game of Duns was the parish church pulpit itself, and at some point a small western bell-tower must have been added. There was also an ancient chapel and medieval hospital near modern-day Chapel farm, dedicated to Mary Magdalene, and in 1611 an aborted proposal made this a separate parish of Birkenside.