Church of St Gregory, Kirknewton : P F Ryder
Kirknewton parish church consists of a nave with a south porch, a four-bay north aisle with a tower at its west end, a south transept, and an aisleless chancel. The most memorable feature of the exterior is the contrast between the lofty Victorian nave and the low late-medieval chancel and south transept, and of the interior the dramatic tunnel vaults of these older parts, an emphatic and memorable response to the Border troubles.
The external walls of the nave, aisle and porch are entirely of 1860. They are constructed of roughly-coursed and roughly-squared stone in a variety of colours, red, yellow and grey with neatly cut side-alternate quoins at its southern angles, of diagonally-tooled pink sandstone. There is a chamfered plinth of sandstone ashlar.
The steeply-pitched gables of the Nave have hollow-chamfered kneelers and a coping that is hollow-chamfered on its lower angle; the south-western angle is capped by a rather odd square cross-gabled pinnacle, and the west gable by the stepped base of a finial. The windows are simple lancets, of varying sizes, in chamfered surrounds. There are a pair in the west end and two more in the south wall of the nave (in between the porch and transept), and two more in the east wall, on either side of the ridge of the roof of the much-lower chancel.
Above and between the two in the west gable is a blind or blocked opening with a two-centred arch and more roughly-tooled dressings; this must relate to the 1860 bellcote that was presumably removed in the later 19th century when its function was supplanted by the present tower. There are four pairs of smaller lancets on the north of the aisle and a single one in its east end.
The South Porch has angle quoins rather less regular than those of the nave, but a rather similar steep gable with a roll-moulded finial; there is a shoulder-arched doorway with stop-chamfered jambs and lintel on the east, and a narrow lancet on the south.
The Tower, of later 19th century date, is something of a contrast with the remainder of the building both in its style - Perpendicular Gothic - and the roughly-coursed dark stone used, although the cut dressings are again of pink sandstone. It has a large clasping buttress at its northeast corner, only rising to a little above the head of the west window.
There is a large steeply-sloping plinth and a moulded string below the string of the west window, which is of three trefoil-headed lights with simple panel tracery over under a four-centred arch, and a casement-moulded hood with turned-back ends. Each sidewall of the tower has a medieval grave cover set upright a little above the string. The second stage of the tower has small square-headed windows on west and north, and a small circular loop, pierced through a single slab, on the south. There is a chamfered set-back at the base of the belfry, which has openings of similar character to the west window but of two rather than three lights. There is an oversailing chamfered course below the ashlar parapet which has a stepped and crenellated coping and corner pinnacles.
The South Transept, of relatively shallow projection, is of rubble with roughly-shaped and tooled quoins, very short. The south gable end has a 19th-century window of two lancets with a roundel in the spandrel with a hoodmould, chamfered on its lower angle, outlining a two-centre arch; adjacent to it are traces of the west jamb of an earlier window The 19th-century gable coping is chamfered on its lower angle.
The Chancel is built of large blocks, roughly coursed and irregularly shaped; there is no real plinth, but a projecting course of large blocks, c 0.50 m deep, at ground level, continued round the east end. The south wall has an apparent straight joint only c 0.30 m from its west end. Further east is a square-headed priest's door with a chamfered surround and a very green stone as its lintel, and then a square-headed window with a broad chamfer to its surround.
The upper part of the east end, of roughly-coursed and roughly-tooled stone, is a 19th-century rebuild, with its triplet of stepped lancets and coping hollow-chamfered on its lower angle. An obvious area of infill below the lancets suggests hat there was an earlier window with its sill only c 0.60 m above ground level. At the north end of the wall is a low and ragged buttress-like projection, shown by excavation in 1860 to represent the continuation of the north wall of the longer earlier medieval chancel.
The north wall of the chancel is quite complex. Its western part has a very irregular plinth, and its central section no actual plinth but ragged projecting masonry up to c 0.70 m above the ground; east of this is a short gap, and then for the eastern 4 m or so a steeply-chamfered old plinth. The wall above is of coursed roughly squared stone, more regular in the lower courses; there is no clear sign of any opening, but indistinct areas of disturbed fabric.