Lying just to the north of the hamlet of Abercorn, on the Hopetoun Estate in West Lothian, Scotland, is the Abercorn Parish Church. In a small part 12th Century Norman, on a site which can be traced back to a 7th Century monastery and mentioned by the Venerable Bede, the church is mostly post-Reformation having been reconstructed in 1579.
Abercorn went on to become the family church of the Dalyells of the Binns, as well as the family of the Hamilton Lords Abercorn.
The status of both of these families was later overshadowed by the Hopes, who became the Marquesses of Linlithgow. The latter family were responsible for one of the more unusual features of this church. The Hopetoun Aisle was built in 1708 on the north side of the church by architect Sir William Bruce (1630 – 1710). This included a private entrance for the Hopes, together with wood-panelled retiring rooms, and the Hopetoun Loft (in the center of the picture), looking down on the rear of the communion table, which allowed the family to take part in services, while completely isolated from the rest of the congregation, and the Dalyells, in the main body of the church below. The regal grandeur of this curious addition certainly enforced the status of the Hopes, the ‘nouveau riche’ of their time.
The nave and the aisle are separated by a line of broad pillars and the aisle is blind, ending with a wall against which is a large oak cabinet dating back to 1631 (on the left of the picture). The aisle itself only dates back to the 1800s, when the the church needed extending to accommodate a growing congregation.
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Related shots can be found at: Lowland Scotland.