Saturday 16 Jaunary 2010 saw me at the Collegiate Church of St Mary the Virgin, otherwise known as St Mary’s Haddington as part of the RSCM Scottish Voices choir singing an Epiphany service in the afternoon.
I will not describe much about the day as LayClerk has already posted a report on the music, and after service socialising (which I had to forego due to conflicting arrangements). However in keeping with other postings, a bit about the church and its history.
There earliest mention of a church was in 1139. Like many monastic establishements in the area it suffered in 1355 under Edward III’s army in the episode called Burnt Candlemas, however within a few decades the building which is substantially the current church was begun. Two hundred years later the siege of Haddington resulted in considerable destruction of the building, of which only the nave remained. A wall was built to enclose the nave and so it remained for four hundred years. Traces of cannon damage can be seen on the tower.
In 1972 the chancel, transepts and tower were restored. This restoration wa a great challenge and the local people (and those from mch futher afield) rose to it. The new ceiling to the tower, choir and transepts was made of fibreglass – to be lightweight and durable. In 1999 a ring of eight bells was installed in the tower.
Finally, due to the rain that day and melting snow, the river Tyne adjacent to the church was in full spate. Pictures of which are included in my smugmug collection.