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Lasswade & Rosewell Parish Church (Church of Scotland) Scottish Charity number SC015878

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Lasswade & Rosewell

Parish Church

The old Parish Church of St Edwin was consecrated by David De Bernham, Bishop of St Andrews, in 1240 AD.  Between the years 1240 and 1276 some seventy Scottish churches including St Giles, were consecrated by the Bishop, and Lasswade had the distinction of being among the earliest; from Lasswade sprang the daughter churches of Rosewell, Roslin and Loanhead.  The Bishop was of Norman extraction, a Bishop under the Roman Order, there being no other Christian organisation; we are indebted to Roman Catholic scholars for the precise date of dedication which comes from records held in Paris.

The first dedication was on the 5th May 1240 in the reign of Alexander II, before the coming of Wallace and of Bruce; St Edwin’s is now a ruin in Lasswade churchyard and in a small arched Aisle lies Drummond (1585 – 1649) poet and Laird of Hawthornden to whom the memorial was erected in 1893 with his own epitaph:

Here Damon lies whose songs did sometimes grace...

The murmuring Esk. May roses shade the place

Nicolas, vicar of Lasswade (1296) swore fealty to Edward I of England; possibly we can now forgive him this vicissitude?  Lasswade in these days had the second best living in Midlothian, after St Cuthberts, Edinburgh, which was the richest.  So far as we know the last three Catholic incumbents of Lasswade Old Parish Church, before the reformation, were Walter Lindsay, vicar 1460, then John Crawford (1501) and William Niddrie vicar (1529).  The most famous incumbent was Robert Blacader who in 1471 was James III’s ambassador to the Pope with whom he was a great favourite; he was made Bishop of Aberdeen in 1481 and later Archbishop of Glasgow by a Papal Bull in 1491.

In 1565 James VI appointed William Barbour as Lasswade’s first Protestant Minister; from then until 1793, a period of 228 years St Edwin’s Catholic Church continued to be used as a Protestant place of worship; there were 18 ministers at Lasswade between 1565 and 1952, a period of 387 years (so wrote J.B. Cairns to a local newspaper in that year).  Lasswade Church was in early time a dependency of Bishopric of St Andrews and was transferred by Pope Innocent VIII in 1487 to the Collegiate Church of Restalrig.

Lasswade is one of the most ancient Parishes is Scotland; local burial grounds provide evidence that the church was active in Lasswade as early as the ninth century.  Over the centuries the Parish has witnessed many changes – it has seen the valley a hive of industry, with paper mills and shops employing many people; seen many landowners, authors and poets, some held in high esteem throughout the world for contributions to art, literature and other achievements.

By 1793 the population of the parish had greatly increased and a new church to seat 1000 was built by the heritors from plans by John Clerk of Eldin.  The Kirk Session records date from 1615.

The present Church at  Lasswade

The Church was opened in 1830 for the Lasswade Congregation in the United Presbyterian Church. In 1894 the Church was completely overhauled and several alterations carried out. Among the gifts which came to the congregation at that time were the present handsome pulpit, the stained glass windows at each side of the pulpit, the entrance porch and the bell. In 1929 the U.P. Church united with the Church of Scotland. On Sunday 22nd April 1956 the Congregations of Lasswade Old Parish Church and Lasswade Strathesk united to form the congregation of Lasswade Parish Church and have continued to use this building for Worship every Sunday morning since then.

The history of Christianity in Lasswade