Lying about three miles west of South Queensferry, Scotland, is Abercorn Parish Church. The church is in the tiny hamlet of Abercorn.
Abercorn Parish Church is a remarkable place. But even though a small part of it can be dated back to the 1100s, what you can see today is only part of the story. There are clues to an even longer history in the collection of stones on view in the Abercorn Museum, just inside the churchyard gates. These include Viking hog-back burial stones; a cross stone; and a carved cross-shaft dating back to the 600s.
The site of Abercorn Parish Church has been sacred ground since St Ninian visited during a mission to the Picts in the late 400s. Before long his followers had established a church here, perhaps the earliest in this part of Scotland. And by the late 600s the Northumbrians established Abercorn as the seat of one of their four Bishops: the others residing at York, Hexham and Lindisfarne. The Bishop of the day, Bishop Trumwin, fled with his monks to Whitby after the Picts defeated the Northumbrians at the battle of Nechtansmere in AD685 (see our Historical Timeline).
It seems likely that the small church whose blocked-up door remains on view in the south wall of Abercorn Parish Church was built on the site of the church or chapel serving the Northumbrian monastery. And this in turn could have been a development of the original church built here by the followers of St Ninian. As a result today’s church has a remarkable sense of continuity that goes back 1500 years or more.
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Camera: Canon EOS 450D
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