Hood Family and Coal Mining

Newton Parish Church Midlothian


The new Newton Parish Church was built in 1742 in a more central location to replace an older church standing over a mile away at the extreme edge of the parish.

After the building of the new church, a group of colliers asked for permission to build a loft (gallery above the main hall). This was granted and the loft was built in 1747. Access to this new loft was by a staircase built on the outside the church.
Photos and history of the Colliers Loft


steps to Newton Colliers LoftNewton Parish Church, Midlothian, view fron south
 Steps the Colliers Loft         Newton Church looking from the south


Newton Church viewed from the northsundial on newton church

 Newton Church looking from the north                    Sundial on church dated 1742


Newton Church seen from the path from ClaybarnsGate at end of path from Claybarn, and watch house to protect newly buried bodies from body snatchers
Church seen from old path leading from Claybarns and it's entrance gate into the churchyard.
At the entrance gate is a watch house for a night watchman to guard recently buried bodies
from bodysnatchers.



A short history of the church is given New Statistical Account for the parish published in 1845

"The Church is nearly in the centre of the parish, and very conveniently situated for the parishioners, there been none more than one mile and three-quarters distance; while the great body of inhabitants is within a circuit of a mile. It was built in 1742, ( the site having been changed as already mentioned,) was reseated in 1819, is in excellent repair, and rendered comfortable in winter by a stove. It is seated for 430, allowing 18 inches to a sitting. The sittings are allocated among the heritors according to their respective valued rents, but it ought to be mentioned, that when built, the then proprietor of Edmonstone added an isle solely at his expense, which besides a gallery for the family, and the retiring room immediately behind, afforded accommodation beneath for the servants and immediate dependants, as well as collier population on his property. A gallery was also erected by the then Duke of Buccleugh, with the consent of the heritors for the Sheriffhall colliery, in addition to the share of the sittings effeiring to his property. It deserves to be recorded to the honour of the collier population at that period, that they appear to have been at the expense of fitting up the part of the area allotted to them, and in evidence of their right to the sittings, had tablets affixed on the walls, with the motto of their craft and the names of the parties inscribed, which exists to this day. Probably they had a part of the area thus given them as a compensation for what they enjoyed in the old church of Newton, and which, on application, as the records bear, to the heritors and Kirk Session, (given in 4th April 1725) so, they obtained permission, (2nd May 1732) to erect a loft for themselves, "providing that the possessors and users of the said loft shall be obliged to keep the roof of the church above the said loft always in repair at their own charges," which hard, and, as it appears, unreasonable condition, was complied with, on their part."

© 2012   A Russell