Key features of St Michael and All Angels

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  1. The nave is the main space of the church. The congregation still sits here for services today, as it has done throughout the church’s 900 year history. The nave originally had north and south aisles, and it is possible these were destroyed in violent Scottish raids. The grand archway between the nave and chancel dates from the 12th century, as do the west wall and west window.
  2. The chancel has four medieval grave covers set into the floor. Two of these are decorated with interesting symbols: a sword marks the grave of a man, whilst shears or scissors – representing domestic life – indicate the grave of a woman.
  3. This curious recess was probably the site of a tomb.
  4. The area around the altar, known as the sanctuary, was refurbished in 1938. The stained glass window, communion rail and altar panel were given in memory of Adam Scott, who died in 1925 after falling from his horse at Kelso races. He was buried in his racing colours, at the east end of the church.
  5. The transepts are the ‘arms’ of the cross-shaped church. They replaced the original north and south aisles that ran down the sides of the nave. The east respond (base) of the south transept arch shows evidence of rebuilding. The lower semi-circular part dates from the late 12th century, whilst the upper semi-octagonal part is from the 13th century. The arch itself was installed to create the south transept.
  6. The small stone basin set into the wall is a ‘piscina’, where vessels used for Holy Communion were washed. This suggests that this area was once a chantry chapel, where Mass was said for the souls of the church’s benefactors.
  7. The arches in the north nave wall were exposed during restoration work in 2018. They match the outline of arches that can be seen in this wall from the outside, and prove that there was once a north aisle to the nave.
  8. This curious fireplace with its ‘joggled’ lintel was added in the 19th century, when the church was used as a school. It is possible that the design was copied from a similar lintel at nearby Edlingham Castle.
  9. The font is inscribed ‘1664’. It is possible that it was added when the church was repaired, following a period of neglect during the Civil War of 1642-1651, and the republican Commonwealth that followed. The coat of arms connects the church with the Percy family of Alnwick Castle.
  10. The monuments near the font are interesting. One of the inscriptions ends ‘and so forth’ – did the stone mason run out of time, or was he just bored? On the floor is a gravestone, carved in an unusual font, dedicated to George Adder. He died in 1611 while trying to cross the River Tweed near Kelso.

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