THE history of Haddington’s churches has been uncovered in a new book.

The Rev David Dutton spent more than two years piecing together the history of churches – from the past and present – throughout the town.

Now, Singular Solace: An Ecclesiastical History of Haddington has been released online.

The retired Church of Scotland minister traces the story of the churches in the burgh from Anglo-Saxon times through to the millennium.

He said: “The wonderful thing about the history of the church in Haddington is its richness and variety.

“Almost all of the main movements in the Scottish church, both before and after the Reformation, were present in the burgh.”

As well as telling the story of St Mary’s Parish Church, the 73-year-old traces the origins and development of 15 places of worship in the burgh, including Holy Trinity Scottish Episcopal Church, St John’s Free Church – which became Haddington West Parish Church – St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, and several small, independent congregations.

Mr Dutton said: “I had done a Master of Theology degree in church history and the life and work of John Brown, the author of the Self-Interpreting Bible.

“In the course of that, I came to realise there were all these other congregations in Haddington.

“For obvious reasons, St Mary’s tends to hog the limelight but there are several others over the years.

“I think each of them has a wee story to tell.”

The book, which is available on Amazon Kindle, has its heroines and heroes, including Ada de Warenne, who founded the Cistercian Convent east of the town; John Brown, minister of the Burgher Church, who is best known as the author of the Self-Interpreting Bible; Joseph Mantica, who conducted a mission to the Roman Catholic community in East Lothian; and Hilda Nimmo Smith, whose gift triggered the restoration of the east end of St Mary’s.

It even has a villain: David Gellatly, minister of the Relief Church, who was found guilty of acts of deception, falsehood and flagrant immorality.

David, who lives on Haddington’s Acredales, is also a member of the congregation at St Mary’s Parish Church.

The former minister at the High Kirk in Stranraer also served as clerk to the Presbytery of Wigtown and Stranraer, and told the Courier: “I hope my account will appeal to church folk and those interested in the history of Haddington.

“A number of people assisted my research by sharing their memories of work among children and young people in the 1950s and 1960s.

“I have published Singular Solace online so as to make it widely available during the pandemic.

“The cost is only £1.”