Sign in / register

Soutra Aisle

You may copy, display, store and make derivative works for personal use or use solely within an educational institution by staff and students, under these conditions: the ScotlandsPlaces website is attributed, there is no commercial use or sale, and no public distribution (for example, by hand, email, or web). Full licence details.

Record Detail

  • Organisation
    RCAHMS
  • Alternative name(s)
    SOUTRA HOSPITAL; SOUTRA AISLE, CHAPEL
  • Canmore ID
    54532
  • Site type
    HOSPITAL
  • Parish
    FALA AND SOUTRA (ETTRICK AND LAUDERDALE)
  • Council
    MIDLOTHIAN
  • NGR
    NT 45254 58409
  • Latitude, longitude
    55.815822N, 2.875199W
  • Archeological notes
    NT45NE 1 45254 58409 See also NT45NE 2, 5 and 20. (NT 4525 5841) Soutra Aisle (NR) OS 6" map (1964) Soutra Hospital is said to have been founded by Malcolm IV in 1164, for lodging travellers, but the foundation was probably somewhat earlier. In 1236, specific mention is made that the rule of St Augustine shall be observed, and it is called the house or hospital of the Holy Trinity. Reference to residents in the hospital are found up to 1583-4, but in the 17th c, it is described as utterly ruined. The small stone building known as "Soutra Aisle" was described in 1700 as the family burial place of the Pringles, and all that remained of the hospital buildings and church. It measures 25 1/2' N-S by 23 1/2', with its wall head 4' above ground, covered by a stone roof over a barrel vault. Above the W door is a datestone "DP AP 1686". Under the turf there are traces of either debris or foundations for 20' E of the building and for a considerable distance westwards. RCAHMS 1929; D E Easson 1957 The Holy Trinity Hospital of Soutra had the privilege of sanctuary marked by a chain and cross, still commemorated in Girth Gate (NT45SE) and Cross Chain Hill. M Walcott 1874 The present building is as described above. In the W wall is a stone inscribed: 'This stone is inserted to mark the site of the ancient sanctuary and once powerful Hospice of Soutra.' The debris and foundations mentioned by the RCAHMS are too amorphous for survey. Visited by OS (JTT) 15 December 1964 Soutra Aisle underwent some repairs in 1898. A Allan 1900 Followed from resistivity survey of the hill top plateau in 1986 a trial excavation of 10 key trenches was mounted to investigate the extent and ground plan of the complex of buildings. The earliest structures noted on the site were 2 boundary walls, 1m thick, each with a drain or ditch 2m wide alongside. There are, at least, 2 contiguous large, rectangular, walled enclosures. These occupy the hill top to the E of medieval Dere Street. The southmost one contains the hospital Church and the standing 17th century Aisle. The northern boundary wall was cut to form a new access, with 'slot' for door post, threshold and interior passage way; there was secondary vaulting over the earlier drain. Sampling programmes for 'infirmary waste' have been set up, screening them for blood and other organic residues, leaded contamination and exotic plant material. All are showing up. Exotic pottery has been recovered in small quantities and residues on it are being analysed related to analysis of fabrics and thin sections. G Ewart and B Moffat 1987 The 1988 excavations revealed part of a substantial domestic range of buildings, associated with the later occupation of the monastic hospital, to the north of the 17th century sepulchral aisle that marks the site. A large trench (23m by 9m) revealed a series of 3 chambers to the west of a cobbled roadway or pend. Two of the chambers were cellars (c.7m square outside; 5.5m by 4.5m inside; 1.2m deep) and, along with the third (at west end of trench), they were formed by the subdivision of the area between two early monastic walls (mid 12th-early 13th century). One wall has been identified as the S wall of a large precinct or enclosure, lying to the north of the site, while the other is associated with the original monastic church and its possible enclosure precinct. One of the cellars was fully excavated, and showed that it had been converted from its original use as simple storage to that of 'kitchen'. There was a large domed bread oven, built into the NE corner of the room, and a rearrangement of vents. Prior to a systematic back-fill with masonry blocks, there were signs of post-abandonment casual occupation - hearths, brushwood and cooking debris. A sampling and testing programme was conducted in parallel with the excavation. Deposits in the cellar, in lines of capped drains, and in a chute soakaway have been tested for blood and allied residues, for the lead content and plant remains. Exotic plant material (cloves, opium poppy) - both adhering to potsherds and loose can hardly be explained as other than medicinal in purpose. A sizeable pottery assemblage (including a 60% complete, glazed 'ointment pot' that was part of the documented apothecaries' kit), numerous pieces of metalwork (much corroded; including nails, and masses of 'tap slag'. Also what appears to be a cannula, a 1ft long surgical instrument for unblocking vessels), and animal bone assemblage, worked architectural stone will receive further post-excavation and scientific investigation. G Ewart and B Moffat 1988.
  • Architectural notes
    EXTERNAL REFERENCE: The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, contains, among the 'Uncatalogued MSS of General Hutton', and numbered 88, Vol.1 ., a sketch of the remains of Soutra Hospital. The site, says Chambers, has been overgrown, and can now hardly be distinguished. In the centre of the once sacred area stands a single Aisle of the Chapel, the burial place of a neighbouring wealthy family. The Sketch bears the date 1784. Extract from Church Notices - The Scotsman, 30 July 1983 THE ANNUAL SOUTRA AISLE SERVICE will be held at the Aisle on Sunday, July 31st, at 4 p.m. (if wet, in Fala Kirk) Guest Preacher The Rev James Currie MA. BD. JP. Minister at Dunlop 37245N

Related material information

PHOTOGRAPHS

  • 54532 (11/1988)
    View from SE.
  • 54532 (11/1988)
    View from NW.
  • 54532 (1938)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (25/7/1953)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 ()
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 ()
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (27/6/1994)
    Oblique aerial view.
  • 54532 (1994)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1994)
    Oblique aerial view of Soutra Aisle and of the Roman road between NT c. 4743 5500 and NT c. 4500 5930.
  • 54532 (1994)
    Oblique aerial view of Soutra Aisle and the Roman road between NTc.4743 5500 and NTc.4500 5930.
  • 54532 (1994)
    Oblique aerial view of Soutra Aisle and the Roman road between NT c. 4743 5500 and NT c. 4500 5930
  • 54532 (1994)
    Oblique aerial view of Soutra Aisle and the Roman road between NT c. 4743 5500 and NT c. 4500 5930.
  • 54532 (1994)
    Oblique aerial view of Soutra Aisle and Roman road between NT c. 4743 5500 and NT c. 4500 5930.
  • 54532 (1984)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1984)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1984)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1984)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1984)
    Aerial view.
  • 54532 (1984)
    Aerial view.
  • 54532 (1984)
    Aerial view.
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
  • 54532 (1992)
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
  • 54532 (1992)
  • 54532 (1992)
  • 54532 (1992)
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1994)
    Newscutting from 'The Times' 4 July 1994 regarding DNA testing of bones and blood from excavation.
  • 54532 (30/3/1994)
    Newscutting from 'Edinburgh Evening News' 30 March 1994 regarding microbiological analysis of soil samples.
  • 54532 (1993)
    Newscutting from 'Scottish Field' November 1993 regarding excavation. (2 mounts)
  • 54532 (3/9/1993)
    Newscutting from 'Edinburgh Evening News' of 3rd September 1993 regarding discovery of murder victim
  • 54532 (1993)
    Newscutting from 'Daily Telegraph' 2 September 1993 regarding discovery of murder victim
  • 54532 (1990)
    Newscutting from 'Glasgow Herald' 18 August 1990 regarding discovery of well
  • 54532 (24/4/1992)
    Newscutting from 'Scottish Catholic Observer' 24 April 1992 regarding continuing excavations
  • 54532 (1992)
    Newscutting from 'The Scotsman' 17 April 1992 regarding manufacture of black henbane
  • 54532 (1992)
    Newscutting from 'Midlothian Advertiser' 16 April 1992 regarding 1992 discoveries and publication of SHARP Practice 4 (on 2 mounts)
  • 54532 (1993)
    Newscutting from 'Southern Reporter' 1 April 1993 regarding discovery of childbirth-inducing drugs
  • 54532 (13/8/1992)
    Newscutting 'Toxic legacy of ancient Soutra' (Continued excavation and project clearance of well)
  • 54532 (1992)
    Newscutting - The Scotsman 5 August 1992 (Continued excavation and project clearance of well)
  • 54532 (1990)
    Newscutting from 'Scotsman' 9 January 1990
  • 54532 (1991)
    Newscutting from 'Edinburgh Evening News' 22 February 1991
  • 54532 (1988)
    Newscutting from 'Edinburgh and Lothians Post' 15 September 1988
  • 54532 (1990)
    Newscutting from 'Southern Reporter' 27 September 1990
  • 54532 (1990)
    Newscutting from 'The Scotsman' 28 September 1990
  • 54532 (1990)
    Newscutting from 'Midlothian Advertiser' 13 September 1990
  • 54532 (1990)
    Newscutting from 'The Observer' 16 September 1990
  • 54532 (1990)
    Newscutting from 'The Scotsman' 31 March 1990
  • 54532 (1990)
    Newscutting from 'Glasgow Herald' 18 August 1990
  • 54532 (15/9/1988)
    Newscutting from 'Edinburgh and Lothians Post'
  • 54532 (3/5/1995)
    Newscutting from 'The Scotsman' regarding research into diseases using DNA.
  • 54532 (1993)
    Newscutting from 'Paisley Daily Express' 17 May 1993
  • 54532 (2/1964)
    View from W.
  • 54532 (2/1964)
    General view from NW.
  • 54532 (1970)
    General view from SW.
  • 54532 (2/1964)
    General view from SE.
  • 54532 ()
    Excavation open day display board
  • 54532 ()
    Excavation 1992
  • 54532 ()
    Excavation 1992
  • 54532 ()
    Excavation 1992
  • 54532 (18/4/1989)
    Newscutting The Scotsman 'Medicine from the midden'
  • 54532 (23/9/1988)
    Newscutting The Scotsman 'Diggers seek ancient cures to modern ills'
  • 54532 (17/9/1988)
    Newscutting The Edinburgh Advertiser
  • 54532 (17/9/1988)
    Newscutting Glasgow Herald
  • 54532 (1988)
    View from E.
  • 54532 (1988)
    General view from NW.
  • 54532 (6/10/1987)
    Newscutting Independent 'Monastery site reveals ritual of blood-letting'
  • 54532 (1987)
    Newscutting The Scotsman 31.8.1987
  • 54532 (1991)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1991)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (1992)
    Oblique aerial view
  • 54532 (10/3/1969)
    Soutra Aisle, general view of surviving building
  • 54532 (10/3/1969)
    Soutra Aisle, surviving building of hospice, detail of N end

SCANNED IMAGES

  • 396040 (27/6/1994)
    Oblique aerial view. Cropped.
  • 54532 (1992)
    Excavation 1992. Digital image of B 83506 CS.

MANUSCRIPTS

  • 54532 (1986)
    Report - SHARP: Project Update No 4 B Moffat, Nov
  • 54532 (1986)
    Report - SHARP: Project Update No 3 B Moffat, July

PRINT ROOM

  • 54532 ()
    Page 45/2. General view. PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM NO.78: MISS HILDA MAY DARLING'S COUNTRY HOUSE ALBUM
  • 54532 (1902)
    PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM NO.78: MISS HILDA MAY DARLING'S COUNTRY HOUSE ALBUM Miss Hilda May Darling of Priestlaw Duns personal collection of postcards, referred to in messages as 'your house book'. Contains postcards of Country Houses and Hotels from all over Scotland, the majority from East Lothian and Berwickshire. Arranged roughly chronologically from c.1902 to c.1930.

PRINTS AND DRAWINGS

  • 54532 ()
    Soutra Aisle. Plans and elevations showing stone types, location of major cracks, architectural features and worked stones.

1st edition 6-inch maps

TitleDateOther parishes/counties
 Ordnance Survey six-inch to the mile, Edinburghshire, Sheet 201853
 Ordnance Survey six-inch to the mile, Haddingtonshire, Sheet 181853
 Ordnance Survey six-inch to the mile, Berwickshire, Sheet VII (Inset XIIIA)1857