Linton Kirk

Religious Buildings
Linton kirk is one of the most attractive and interesting churches in Teviotdale, with fine views across the Kale valley

About Linton Kirk

Built in the twelfth century, the building was adapted at the Reformation for Presbyterian worship, but in the early twentieth century was returned to something approaching its original form by the minister James Leishman. He returned the Norman font and other sculptured stones to the interior, rebuilt the chancel arch and created a chancel with choir stalls – very ‘high-church’ for a Presbyterian! The result is a homely and attractive worship space, with some fine early-twentieth century stained glass – the east window shows the resurrection, while the four rectangular windows are to a design by the renowned artist Herbert Hendrie. There is also Millenium artwork at the rear of the church. There are interesting old gravestones in the churchyard one of which, a figure reading the Bible (a distinctive grave-motif of the Borders), has been used as a memorial within the church itself. Hand-held boards with information about the features of the church, both old and new, are available for visitors.
The church stands proud on a distinctive mound and there are wonderful views across the valley. Local myth has it that the mound was laboriously created by two sisters to save the life of their brother, who had slain a priest. Above the doorway of the church is a very worn stone from the twelfth century showing a knight slaying a dragon. Although probably intended to represent St George another local myth says it shows Sir William de Somerville slaying the Linton worm, which lived in a cave on Linton Hill. Sir William killed the beast by fastening burning peats to his lance and ramming the blazing bundle down its throat.
Looking across the valley from the kirk door you can also see a slightly lower mound. This was the site of Linton Tower. In July 1522 four thousand English troops invaded the area in one of the periodic disputes which occurred during the reign of Henry VIII. Linton Tower was destroyed although the sixteen defenders were saved from the blaze ‘by reason of a gable of the house that was of stone, and the wind that was their friend’. Linton was again attacked during Henry’s assault on southern Scotland in the 1540s and after that date the tower was never rebuilt.
At the other end of Linton parish, about 4½ miles north-east, The Rev James Leishman also built a small chapel to help him minister to the needs of his scattered parishioners. Built on the site of a medieval chapel and still in occasional use, Hoselaw Chapel offers spectacular views – in this case over Hoselaw Loch and the Cheviots. Again built in Romanesque style, this small building has an apse with a tiny window showing Christ holding a communion cup while its roof is decorated with angels.
Like all churches in the parish this peaceful place is open during daylight hours.

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