Duns Parish Church

Religious Buildings
This building was built in the late 18th century as the Parish school and School Master’s house

About Duns Parish Church

Before reaching the church you pass close by the hall and the entrance to the graveyard. This building was built in the late 18th century as the Parish school and School Master’s house.
In the churchyard are many fine gravestones. Try to find the gravestone of a blacksmith, which is carved to show the tools of his trade. Notice the slate grave slab (rare in this area) near the entrance with the word ‘Dunse’ inscribed on it, this being the spelling used from the 1720s until 1882, when a public meeting agreed to revert to the ancient spelling. Robert Burns visited Duns in May 1787 and stayed with the Ainslie family. He attended the church and seeing Rachel Ainslie searching the bible for the passage to which the minister was referring, Burns wrote a note to her that said: “Fair Maid, you need not take the hint, Nor idle texts pursue Twas guilty sinners that he meant Not angels, such as you.” Rachel Ainslie is buried in the Ainslie family grave that can be found in the graveyard.
The ancient parish church was taken down in 1790 although some vestiges of the original building remained until they too were demolished in 1874. The church of 1790 was destroyed in a fire in 1879 and restored in 1880 forming the present building. Some elements of the 1790 church remain, for example, the tower upon which is an inscribed table detailing the history.
The interior has a fine black and terracotta tiled floor and there is a panelled gallery with boxed pews for the families of the local estates. On the gallery are the coats of arms of Manderston, Grueldykes, Duns Castle, Cockburn and Wedderburn. The south wall is dominated by an ornate organ with stencilled pipes and there are a number of colourful stained glass windows from 1880.
Please note that it may not be possible to enter the church building.

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