St Mary's Parish Church

Churches, Cathedrals & Abbeys

Sidegate, Haddington, East Lothian, EH41 4BZ

    Beautiful, C14th riverside church of cathedral proportions. War-torn C16. Nave repaired, but E end, transepts, tower left roofless 400 yrs till all restored 1970s. Now whole again - longest parish church in Scotland. Carvings,windows. Shop.

    A few minutes from Haddington town centre is the recently and remarkably restored, very fine C14 church of St Mary. Of cathedral proportions, it lies in a beautiful setting by the little River Tyne and near the old stone Nungate Bridge. Wide, sunny and grassy banks and the adjacent St Mary's Pleasance Garden make wonderful picnic settings. There is also the nearby Peter Potter Art Gallery and Cafe, and other eateries not far away.

    St Mary's was war-torn in the C16 century during the 18 month Siege of Haddington. With only enough money to repair the nave, the rest of the church was left roofless (choir, transepts, tower). Much stonework was taken away but the remaining ruins were stabilised in the last century.

    To house growing congregations, the nave has had many makeovers over the past 400yrs; raised arches and a lowered floor (C12 cemetery found beneath!) allowed enough height for lofts and galleries. Later donations of many excellent stained glass windows were donated in the C19 to the the mid C20. 

    At last,  in the 1970s, with much fundraising and sponsorships, it was possible to restore the old ruins. So once again St Mary's is the longest parish church in Scotland. It has kept many original pre-reformation features -  see the medieval carvings inside and out (some close-up photos) and the excavated old town crest with goats and grapes. Otherwise there was much recycling used in the rebuilding; extra matching stone from Edinburgh's closed Caledonian Railway Station, a flour mill and a railway bridge; slates from Glasgow's Gorbals; a Burne-Jones stained glass window from Torquay; a peel of 8 bells from a chapel in Aberdeenshire (hung in time to ring in the Millenium); new fibre-glass "stone" vaulting crafted  by a Norfolk boatbuilder; and a fine, pipe organ built locally in the Lammermuir Hills. There are graves of Jane Welsh Carlyle and John Brown (C18 Minister of Haddington). The old mediaeval vestry is now the Lauderdale Aisle (an ecumenical chapel built over the Maitland family burial vault).  

    MUSIC IN ST.MARY'S Wonderful acoustics, that once augmented medieval chantings, now allow excellent recitals/concerts.                               St Mary's Choir, under the Directorship of Susan Hamilton, sing at most SUNDAY 11am services ; they will be joined  by St Mary's Choristers early in September. 2015 SUMMER MUSIC -  9 AUGUST at 4.00pm - Robert Dick's Bach Ensemble with Electra Lochhead soprano; to include Bach's Jauchzet Gott . FINAL CONCERT CAN YOU SING?  5-6 SEPTEMBER  - COME TO SUSAN HAMILTON'S BIG EVENT AND REHEARSE VIVALDI' S GLORIA and PURCELL'S DIDO and AENEAS  for the big concert on SUNDAY 6 SEPT  at 4pm.  Or just come and enjoy the concert!   FURTHER DETAILS  see website and Facebook .

    11-15 September 2015 - Lammermuir Music Festival

    OTHER EVENTS                                                                                                                                                                                                                              29 AUGUST 9am to 5pm - Archeaology Conference                                                                                                                                                             Booked guided tours - see website.  Giftshop. Graveyard Index.                                                                                                                                  Occasional exhibitions and flower festivals.                                                                                                                                                                           NOVEMBER 2015Martinmas Fair - 

    Opening Times

    Sunday to Friday; 1.30pm - 4pm.  5 minute service at 2.00pm

    Saturday; 11am - 4pm.    5 minute service at 12 noon.

    Please check our website before planning your visit in case we are closed for a private service.


    3 Visitor Attraction
    Assisted wheelchair access
    Opening Times
    2016 Opening Times
    1 May 2016 - 30 Sep 2016
    Day Times
    Monday 13:30 16:00
    Tuesday 13:30 16:00
    Wednesday 13:30 16:00
    Thursday 13:30 16:00
    Friday 13:30 16:00
    Saturday 11:00 16:00
    Sunday 13:30 16:00

    Sun - Fri 1.30-400pm; Sat 11.00-400pm. Daily 5min service at 2.00pm wkdays, 12 noon Sat. On Sunday, 9.30am All age Service (praise band); 11.00am Traditional (organ /choir). Guided tours may be booked.


    • Baby Changing Facilities Available
    • Children Welcome
    • Highchair Available
    • Indoor Play Area


    • Town Location
    • Waterfront Location by the river Tyne

    Special Requirements

    • Disabled Citizens


    • Toilets

    Payment Methods

    • Cash

    Wedding Services

    • Religious Ceremony
    • Wedding Packages Available

    Road Directions

    From Edinburgh, follow A1 east (signposted Berwick-upon-Tweed) for approx.17 miles; leave at 2nd Haddington exit and follow road to town centre. Go straight ahead at traffic lights, and continue straight until cemetery on LHS. St Mary's is set back beyond wrought iron gate posts.Limited parking. Enter by door nearest road. Disabled access by door at car park.

    If travelling from east, follow A1 west and exit at 1st Haddington exit, then as above.

    Public Transport Directions

    Express buses from Edinburgh to Market Street Haddington

    -  First buses X6 (to Dunbar) hrly; or X8 (to Haddington) 2xhrly; from east end of Princes Street on Leith Walk; no change given.

    -  Or Perryman 253 ( Berwick-upon-Tweed) from Bus Station; fast, usually 2-hrly; change given.

    Slower bus 104 (to Haddington) from Princes Street

    8 minute walk from Market Street stop; cross road, walk through any alleyway into High Street and turn left and go to end of street and right into Sidegate; continue along until cemetery on LHS behind wrought iron railings; St Mary's is set back along a driveway. Enter by nearest door.


    Transport within Scotland

    For public transport information to visit here from within Scotland, enter your postcode and visit date below.

    Journey Planner

    Access to Public Areas (Displays, exhibits, rides etc)

    • Level access (i.e. no steps or thresholds) or access by a ramp or lift to :
      • a public toilet
      • a public toilet suitable for visitors who use a wheelchair
      • the gift shop
      • the information point


    • Wheelchairs or other mobility aids provided
      • These are freely available
    • Routes / pathways throughout the attraction suitable for visitors with limited mobility
      • all routes
    • There is an audible alarm system
    • Seating available throughout the attraction at appropriate intervals, for visitors with limited mobility
    • Where appropriate there is a hearing loop system [e.g. ticket counter/ gift shop]

    Attraction Entrance

    • There are steps to the main entrance
      • Number of steps 5
      • There is a handrail by the steps


    • Parking provided for visitors
      • Parking on site
      • With designated parking for visitors with disabilities
      • Within about 50 metres of the attraction
    • The route from the parking area to the nearest public entrance is :
      • flat, ie. without steps

    This information is self-assessed; therefore we accept no liability for its accuracy. Please contact the venue for further information.

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