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Kirk of Calder


(St. John's Parish Church)

Located in the village of Mid Calder, a church is thought to have existed on this site since 1150. The present T-plan structure was begun in 1541 by Peter Sandilands, rector of the church. Sandilands left instructions for his nephew Sir James Sandilands (who later became Lord Torphichen) to complete the church, although these instructions were only partially carried out. It was most likely intended to create a collegiate church, but the Reformation put paid to such plans. Sandilands was succeeded as Rector by John Spottiswoode (1510 - 85), who welcomed John Knox (c.1513-72) to Mid Calder to celebrate the first Protestant communion. Spottiswoode was also the father of Archbishop John Spottiswoode (1565 - 1639), an enthusiast for Episcopalianism who crowned Charles I in 1633.

The church was extended to the west by adding transepts and a belfry in 1863, to cope with the growing population of the village. In 1992, the church won an award for its restoration, which was undertaken with care not to disturb the resident bat colony.

The church is particularly known for its large and recently-restored stained glass windows, two of which commemorate James 'Paraffin' Young (1811-83). Also inside is the Sandilands Pew from 1595, together with the Sandilands burial vault. There are war memorials commemorating those who fell in the First and Second World Wars, the latter including the names of a woman and child killed in an air raid on the village. The churchyard has memorials dating back to 1636 and the church bell was cast in 1663 and recast in 1876.


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