Blanket preaching returns to valley

Sunday, July 25, sees the return of the annual blanket preaching service at St Mary’s Kirkyard in the Varrow Valley.

By Kevin Janiak
Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 4:32 pm
Blanket Preaching returns to St Mary's Kirkyard on Sunday.
Blanket Preaching returns to St Mary's Kirkyard on Sunday.

People have been known to travel far and wide for the short 20-minute picturesque service at the Kirkyard, which is believed to date back to as early as 1275.

This year’s service, which will take place whatever the weather, will be led by Rev Margaret Steel, minister for Ashkirk, Ettrick and Yarrow and Selkirk Churches and attendees will be piped in by a lone piper.

The service takes place at 3pm, with dogs, as always, welcome.This year, it will not be followed by usual teas and cakes at the nearby Cappercleuch Hall so attendees are instead invited to bring a picnic to enjoy after the service.​​​​​​

The stunning Kirkyard, nestled up on the hill above St Mary’s Loch, is steeped in history.

In the seventeenth century, Yarrow was the scene of religious dissent as Presbyterian Covenanter preachers and their followers were forbidden to attend church services, so were forced to worship outdoors, often huddling in blankets for protection from the elements.

The annual open-air service which takes place on the fourth Sunday of July, commemorates this turbulent period in history.​​​​​