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Title: The Medieval Kirk, Cemetary and Hospice at Kirk Ness, North Berwick
Authors: Ross, Alasdair
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Editors: Addyman, T
Macfadyen, K
Romankiewicz, T
Ross, A
Uglow, N
Citation: Ross A (2013) The Medieval Kirk, Cemetary and Hospice at Kirk Ness, North Berwick. In: Addyman T, Macfadyen K, Romankiewicz T, Ross A, Uglow N (ed.). The Medieval Kirk, Cemetary and Hospice at Kirk Ness, North Berwick: the Scottish Seabird centre Excavations 1999-2006, Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Issue Date: Dec-2013
Publisher: Oxbow Books
Abstract: Kirk Ness, a rocky promontory formerly connected to the East Lothian shore by a tide-washed spit of beach sand, has in many ways always been a focal point within the settlement and Royal Burgh of North Berwick. Over time and under the patronage of the nunnery of North Berwick Kirk Ness developed into the principal harbour and ferrying point on the pilgrimage route from the south to the shrine of St Andrew, at St Andrews in Fife. Here too was located the medieval parish and burgh church, similarly dedicated to St Andrew. After the Reformation the church continued in use until its dramatic destruction by winter storms in the middle of the 17th century. Though some burial activity carried on thereafter, the site was progressively abandoned and by the beginning of the 19th century the church had all but disappeared. From that time onwards the harbour area saw successive reclamation and redevelopment. With North Berwick's transformation into a seaside watering place in the middle and later 19th century, Kirk Ness became a hub for recreational activities and remains so today. This continuing role was recently enhanced by the construction of the Scottish Seabird Centre, opened on 21 May 2000 by HRH The Prince of Wales. The choice of Kirk Ness as the site for the Scottish Seabird Centre necessitated a series of development-related archaeological interventions required as part of the general planning process and carried out between 1999 and 2006 by Addyman Archaeology and its predecessors. The development of the building itself, the associated landscape improvements, and subsequent works, primarily impacted on the central and north-eastern areas of the promontory and, particularly, the area formerly occupied by the medieval church and part of its cemetery. Excavation revealed a complex and important sequence of archaeological remains. Confirmed for the first time at Kirk Ness was a Prehistoric component and a long sequence of early Medieval activity, the latter long-suspected. This was in addition to many remains relating to the better attested later Medieval and post-Medieval history of the site. The archaeological work also included intensive building recording and archaeological assessment of the adjacent ruins of the medieval church, which were subject to a separate programme of consolidation and repair.
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Type: Part of book or chapter of book
Affiliation: History

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