St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington
Sidegate, Haddington, EH41 4BZ
St Mary’s took nearly a 100 years to build from 1383 onwards, one of the three great Collegiate churches of the Lothians. At 206 feet long it was of cathedral proportions! By 1549, it was roofless and ruined with pock-marked walls from musket/ cannon fire during the Siege of Haddington. The town could only afford to repair the west end which was reroofed and repaired to allow services to be held.
A huge barrier wall hid the ruined, forlorn east end. It stayed that way for over 400 years until a huge scheme allowed a complete restoration; by 1973, the church was again whole!
Outside – you can still see the shot holes and the off vertical tower, but walls and roof are complete from recycled stone and slates.
Inside – one of the many stained glass windows came from Torquay and eight bells came from Aberdeen; new fibreglass vaulting looks like stone, and there is a very crooked pillar! Many medieval carvings still exist, including some “green men”.
St Mary’s has only been closed twice – during the Siege; and during Covid. But this beautiful church has reopened for visitors to enjoy, to follow historical and quirky trails, or to enjoy the peace within. Admission is free. It costs a lot of money every day to keep St Mary’s going, and we would be very grateful for any donations – which can also be made by contactless or online payment.
We’re delighted to be opening this year to visitors for Doors Open Days once again, but if you can’t visit in person at the moment please enjoy the virtual visit below or have a look at our website where you will find our more about our history and can view several new heritage trails we have recently created.
Visit in Person
We will welcome Doors Open Days visitors on both Saturday 25th September from 11am to 4pm and Sunday 26th of September from 1.30pm to 4pm.
COVID regulations will apply. Please wear a facemask inside our building, contact details will be taken, sanitiser will be available, with one metre distancing in operation.
Our bell tower is inaccessible at this time.