St Mary's Kirk

History & Heritage
The site of St Mary's has been a place of worship for many centuries - it is first mentioned in 1183

About St Mary's Kirk

The site of St Mary's has been a place of worship for many centuries - it is first mentioned in 1183.
In 12I4, a church was erected here and consecrated to the memory of St Mary by Adam. Bishop of Caithness, who had formerly been an Abbot of Melrose. The Kirk was rebuilt in 1763. After a fire in 1880 it was rebuilt again. The tower is the only surviving part of the earlier building. Its position on the hill means St Mary's can been seen from a great distance, so for many years, pocket watches all over the town were set to its clock.
St Mary's was where James Paris Lee, the inventor of the Lee-Enfield rifle, was baptised. Lee was born in Hawick in 1831 but his family emigrated to Canada when he was 4 or 5 years old. In 1879 he patented a bolt-action magazine rifle, and in 1895 the Lee-Enfield Mark I rifle first appeared, and was used through both World Wars. Today a small plaque commemorating Lee is set into the wall. If you are trying to trace Hawick ancestors who might be buried at St Mary's, there is a complete inventory of the kirk's graves in the Public Library.

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