Stobo Parish Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Associations with the King Arthur legends and with St Kentigern (Mungo)
There may be truth to the tale, as Mungo is known to have established numerous churches in a broad swath across southern Scotland in his role as archbishop of the Kingdom of Strathclyde. Stobo church was the mother church of smaller chapels at Kingledoors, Tweedsmuir, Dawyck, Drumelzier, Broughton, Glenholm, and Lyne.
Mungo's church was replaced by the current building in the 12th century, at which time it consisted of a nave, sanctuary, and west tower. The tower was later rebuilt n the 16th century, in a form reminiscent of traditional fortified tower houses. The south porch also dates from around the 16th century and is notable for a pair of 'jougs', or shackles, displayed in a glass case set on the west wall.
There is a transept chapel on the north side, added in the 15th century. It was at one thought that the north aisle chapel was a very early hermit's cell, associated with the foundation of the site. An ancient standing stone has been built into the wall of the chapel, and there are grave slabs to an unknown knight, the local miller, and the 14th-century slab of Robert Vesey. In the nave is a Celtic cross, now much worn, found during restoration work.
Merlin at Stobo
One fascinating story associated with Stobo Kirk links it with Arthurian legend. Tradition says that St Mungo baptised Merlin Sylvestris on a large stone a few miles away from the current church location. This 'altar stone' is now inside Stobo church.
Merlin Sylvestris was a pagan hermit, one of several characters whose stories were merged in popular imagination to create the wizard Merlin of Arthurian folklore. A stained glass window in the church commemorates the baptism of Merlin by Kentigern.
The oldest parts of the church to survive include 12th-century lancet windows in the chancel, and a pair of simple arched doorways. The north doorway has a door made from a single plank of cedar from Dawyck. There are also fragmentary traces of medieval wall painting still remaining.
The church is usually open during daylight hours.
About Stobo Parish Church
Address: B712, Stobo, Borders, Scotland, EH45 8NX
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: On the B712 just north of Stobo Castle, 4 miles west of Peebles
Website: Stobo Parish Church
Photo Credit: Walter Baxter, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
Historic Time Periods:
Find other attractions tagged with:
12th century (Time Period) - 14th century (Time Period) - 15th century (Time Period) - 16th century (Time Period) - 6th century (Time Period) - Celtic (Architecture) - Medieval (Time Period) - Restoration (Historical Reference) - St Kentigern (Person) - St Mungo (Person) - standing stone (Historical Reference) - wall painting (Historical Reference) -
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Dawyck Botanic Garden - 2 miles (Garden)
Neidpath Castle - 3.8 miles (Castle)
Cross Kirk, Peebles - 4.5 miles (Historic Church)
Gladstone Court Museum - 8.7 miles (Museum)
Greenhill Covenanters' House - 8.8 miles (Museum)
Biggar Gasworks Museum - 8.9 miles (Museum)
Traquair House - 9.3 miles (Historic House)
Robert Smail's Printing Works - 9.3 miles (Museum)
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