St Mary of Wedale Church, Stow

Grid reference

NT 459 445 (accurate position)

Six-figure easting & northing

345900 644500





Altitude (metres)




Nearby places

Stow, parish, alias Wedale (0 miles)

St Ann's Bridge, Stow (0.06 miles)

Our Lady's Well, Stow (0.5 miles)

Our Lady's Chapel, Stow (0.53 miles)

St Mary's Chapel, Park, Roxburghshire (4.66 miles)

Object Classification



Is linear feature?



NGR for the site of the former parish kirk, abandoned in 1876. NMRS records (Canmore ID 54523) it as ruinous, apparently a late fifteenth-century building with nave and chancel. 'When the Scots conquered Lothian in 1018, the church of St Mary of Wedale passed into the diocese of St Andrews. It was famous throughout the Middle Ages for its privilege of sanctuary and for the fragments of an image of the Virgin supposedly brought from Jerusalem by King Arthur.' In 1165 x 1171, the king forbade the officers of the church of Wedale (Wedale) and those who guarded the peace there to detain the men of the abbot of Kelso who came to seek peace (i.e. sanctuary?), provided that the abbot offers to do them all right and justice (RRS ii no. 68). The 'Black Priest of Wedale' as one of the three 'capitals' or chiefs of a medieval law giving special privileges to the kin of the Thane of Fife, the family of MacDuff. Alex Woolf has suggested that his denomination as 'black' may arise from a misunderstanding of MacDuff (which contains Gaelic dubh, 'black'), since MacDuff kindred may have had a connection with the area around Stow, as leaders of the king's army, since the traditional meeting place of the Scottish army lay on the southern edge of this parish. Scottish Parliamentary legislation gave the 'priest of Wedale' (presbiter de Wedal) the authority to swear oaths in Anglo-Scottishi cross-border legal disputes in the name of the bishop of St Andrews (APS i, *85). See Taylor with Márkus v, 123 for further discussion. The name, formerly that of the parish church, is applied by OS Digimap to the modern parish kirk built in 1876, at NT458443.

Relationships with other parishes

Within Stow, parish, alias Wedale

Relationships with other places

Adjacent St Ann's Bridge, Stow