All but three societies in the Area have teams of Church Recorders compiling detailed inventories of the contents of churches in their society’s area.  The churches we record come from across the denominational  spectrum and are recorded to a very high and universal standard.  Two major projects have been Pluscarden Abbey, Moray, a Benedictine community and Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, Church of Scotland.


Scotland has had two completed Area Records to Present.  The Record of Greyfriars Church of Scotland, Edinburgh, was Presented, by the Edinburgh DFAS Church Recorders to the Congregation on Sunday 18th October.  On Thursday 5th November, the Moray Banff and Badenoch Church Recording team was invited to a Service of Re-Dedication of the Pluscarden Abbey Church which was certainly the second Re-Dedication and possibly the third Re-dedication of the Church since the Abbey was founded in 1230 by King Alexander II of Scotland and is the only Benedictine Abbey in Scotland.  The beautiful Service was conducted by the Right Reverend Hugh Gilbert, OSB, Bishop of Aberdeen and Father Anselm Atkinson, OSB, the Abbot of Pluscarden Abbey.   Mass was sung by the Community, who are renowned for their Gregorian Chant.  The Service was followed by a buffet lunch for the congregation of 350.  Many of those present had come in from far afield to join in the special celebration and all denominations were represented.  We took this opportunity to give the Bishop and the Abbot their copies of the Record.

 A formal Presentation of the Record will take place in the spring, when Moray Banff and Badenoch DFAS will have a visit to the Abbey and a chance to see the plans for the building of a new wing.  Accommodation for women, a new Refectory, kitchen and Infirmary are on the agenda.  

A huge task of Recording, completed by a dedicated team of Recorders, some from other Societies, and invaluable help given by the Community, who welcomed us and tolerated, with amusement, our habit of crawling around measuring everything in sight!

Marion Yool

The following example of the work of NADFAS Church recorders will give an insight into this fascinating aspect of Art Society life:

A Borders Double

St Cuthbert’s is a large and ancient Anglican Church in the Tweedside village in Norham of Northumberland. This year, it is celebrating its 850th anniversary of a Norman rebuild after the earlier Church had been destroyed.

Hoselaw is a Church of Scotland Chapel near Kelso and is by contrast a tiny structure situated in a field and built in 1906.

The Borders Church Recording group has spent the last two years recording St Cuthbert’s but a group of members have managed to fit in a recording of the contents of Hoselaw at the same time. Both recording exercises have now been completed and have been presented to the respective Churches on two successive Sundays. We believe that we may have established some sort of record by finishing and presenting two records at the same time in two different countries!

It is particularly appropriate that St Cuthbert’s record can be presented as part of the 850th celebrations. Given its long history, Norham has some very interesting items to record. Jacobean furniture which was once in Durham Cathedral, early Victorian revival stained glass windows from the 1840’s which thanks to their maker, William Wailes, are full of startlingly bright cobalt blue which reflects through the Church on sunny days. In addition there are a large number of vestments and other textiles including 140 handmade kneelers each with a unique design.

Hoselaw Chapel is less well endowed but has a stunning fresco in the Apse showing three Angels. It is by Jessie R MacGibbon of the Dean Workshop in Edinburgh and has strong connections with the Arts and Craft movement and this is also reflected with the stonework of the font and woodwork of the Communion Table.

The Borders Group has now moved back to Scotland to record the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Andrew in Galashiels.

Ray Cartwright

Group Leader, Borders Church Recording Group