Duddingston Kirk

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Duddingston Kirk

Duddingston Kirk is a Parish Church in the Church of Scotland, located adjacent to Holyrood Park in Duddingston Village, on the east side of the City of Edinburgh. Regular services are held at the kirk, conducted by the minister, Rev Dr James A. P. Jack (from 2001).

The church was built in or around 1124 by Dodin, a Norman knight, on land granted to Kelso Abbey by King David I of Scotland. As originally built, the kirk consisted of the chancel, nave and square tower. The traditional pattern of an east-west axis was adopted. The original entrance on the south wall includes a particularly fine example of Scoto-Norman stone carving, with a round-topped doorway. Following the enlargement of the parish boundaries, the Prestonfield Aisle was added in 1631. This consists of a gallery, downstairs area and burial vaults were on the north side. In 1968 the kirk’s interior was reconditioned, with the former pipe organ removed.

The entrance to the kirkyard from Duddingston village is notable for its gatehouse, built as a lookout point to deter “bodysnatchers” in the early 19th century. The Edinburgh bodysnatchers, known as "resurrectionists," stole recently buried corpses to sell to anatomists, and, as in the notorious case of Burke and Hare, sometimes also resorted to murder.

Given its proximity to central Edinburgh, Duddingston has long been a favourite location for many of the city’s artists and professionals. The novelist Walter Scott was ordained an elder at Duddingston in 1806. A famous former minister in the mid-19th century was the Reverend John Thomson, a notable painter and friend of Raeburn and Turner, and who was widely admired locally. His pastoral ministry gave rise to the popular Scottish expression "We’re a' Jock Tamson’s bairns”.

Another minister of this parish, James Macfarlane, was Moderator of the General Assembly in 1865.

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Coordinates: 55°56′28.22″N 3°8′56.82″W / 55.9411722°N 3.1491167°W / 55.9411722; -3.1491167