Blessing sought for Berwickshire church’s conversion into a ‘music hall’

How Polwarth Kirk Would LookHow Polwarth Kirk Would Look
How Polwarth Kirk Would Look
The sound of music is set to echo again around an historic Berwickshire church as plans to preserve it for future generations are revealed.

A heritage statement has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council in support of the proposed refurbishment and adaptation to Polwarth Kirk, in Gavinton near Greenlaw, which is to be brought back to functional use as a ‘performance space’ managed by the Marchmont Makers Foundation.

This Listed Building Consent application covers alteration and adaptations to the existing building, which are planned to start in August.

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A full planning application will later be made for greater alteration works which would include the removal of selected pews and the church pulpit.

A report with the application says: “Polwarth Kirk is Category A listed, and as noted in the listing ‘remains one of the most significant buildings in the parish and indeed, within Scotland as a whole’.

“The building had sadly fallen out of general use, and its future had been uncertain, until the purchase by the Marchmont Estate. The Marchmont Makers Foundation is committed to the highest standards of craftsmanship, and the promotion of the arts and skilled crafts in everything that it does.

“The standard of workmanship seen across the Marchmont Estate will be continued in the works to Polwarth Kirk, carefully conserving the building for future generations.

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“Design intervention to the church is intended to be as minimal as possible, to retain its character, look and feel, but still provide functionality for new uses.

“The existing character of the entrance space is to be preserved, with many of the original photographs and signage being put back in their original location.

“New intervention is designed to be clearly legible, and ‘of it’s time’, following in the tradition of alterations to the church through the centuries. It is intended to add to the layers of history, rather than eradicate or create wilful change”.