Bruce keeps his congregation at arms length by St Mary’s Loch

The Blanket Preaching at St Mary of the Lowes, The Rev Bruce Lawrie

The Blanket Preaching at St Mary of the Lowes, The Rev Bruce Lawrie


The Reverend Bruce Lawrie conducted the annual Blanket Preaching Service in the hills overlooking St Mary’s Loch.

The congregation that gathered in the ancient kirkyard of the ruined St Mary’s of the Lowes Church were greeted by a lone piper.

A headstone became the minister’s pulpit and raised grave covers became were utilised as temporary pews.

The service is held year on the fourth Sunday of July and is a throwback to the 17th century when religious dissent was rife.

The Protestant faithful were persecuted and presbyterian preachers held secret services hidden in the hills away from government troops.

To provide a focus for the minister – and also a shield from wind, rain or a burning sun – a temporary shelter was erected using gate stabs and a blanket.

It is only in recent years that the blanket from which the services takes its name, has disappeared.

Valleys minister the Reverend Sam Siroki once stated: “The name of the service always excites the curiosity of visitors, as it did me when I came to Yarrow.

“When I heard the name, I thought that things have to be really bad when people not only sleep during worship, but also bring their blankets.”

Sunday’s service was followed by teas and home baking in Cappercleuch Hall.




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