Crail Parish Church

(Old Kirk of St. Mary's)

Crail Parish Church
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Crail Parish Church

Located to the north of the Marketgate in Crail, originally some distance from the village, the Parish Church of St Mary's dates from 1243. The church was rebuilt and the tower added in the late 13th century. Attached to the Cistercian Nunnery in Haddington, it was raised to the status of a Collegiate Church in 1517. The richly decorated interior was destroyed in June 1559 following a sermon by Protestant reformer John Knox (c.1513-72). James Sharp (1613-79), later Archbishop of St. Andrews, became the Minister here in 1647.

Part of the north aisle was rebuilt in the late 18th century, and the church was altered in 1815 and again in 1828, hiding many of the mediaeval features.

Inside is a Pictish stone, while next to the church gate is the Blue Stane, which is said to have been thrown from the Isle of May towards the church by the Devil. However, the stone split in two in mid-air with the other part landing on nearby Balcomie Beach.

The kirkyard has monuments dating back to the 16th century, including many famous individuals.

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