Comedian and impressionist, Rory Bremner, welcomed local volunteers to an archaeological site near his home at Crailing on Sunday.
The purpose was to investigate Crailing’s ruined church and abandoned graveyard to help launch Scottish Archaeology Month – Archaeology Scotland’s annual celebration of the country’s many varied archaeological and heritage sites.
Rory commented: “I have always wanted to know more about this fascinating old graveyard, its history and the stories of some of the people buried here.
“We looked for evidence of just how old the original church might be. The archaeologists suspect it may go back to the beginning of Christianity in the Borders, and if so, will be a very important site.”
Archaeology Scotland’s research ahead of the visit to Crailing unearthed some fascinating local stories, including an 18th-century love story that led to the murder of a man by his daughter at the behest of her lover.
She was hanged whilst her paramour escaped to the continent.
“It’s thrilling, in a gruesome way, to think a man who lived here, walked these grounds and worshipped at this church, should commit such a heinous crime and get away with it,” Rory added.
Sunday’s efforts uncovered previously unrecorded stones and together they form a record of the people in the parish prior to the church moving to another site in the 1750s.
Chris Bowles, of Scottish Borders Council’s archaeology department, which has funded the work at Crailing, says little is known about many very old parish churches.
“There’s quite a bit more to do – the churchyard seems to be bigger than it first appears and the hope is it can be developed into a bigger project,” he said.