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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Date Added: 22/01/1971


  • Local Authority: Edinburgh
  • Planning Authority: Edinburgh
  • Burgh: Edinburgh

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNT 13851 70994
  • Coordinates313851, 670994


12th century Romanesque church with substantial additions late 17th century, circa 1830 and earlier 20th century. Rectangular-plan with aisle additions to N and S. Squared sandstone for earliest masonry; coursed sandstone rubble for N aisles; squared and snecked sandstone with stugged quoins for 19th century build, and ashlar for 20th century additions. Pointed arch, Y-traceried windows; hoodmould over windows of S elevation; ashlar margins; chamfered arrises.

S (entrance) elevation: Circa 1830, 4-bay symmetrical S elevation consisting of 3 projecting gables of S aisle and recessed gabled porch bay to left and right; nave runs E-W behind. Droved sandstone porch at centre of aisle circa 1930, with ashlar half-piend roof; 2-leaf door with diamond-pane upper panels. Windows regularly placed at clerestorey level in gables (Y-tracery stone mullions). Cross finial at apex of centre gable. Window by re-entrant angle on E and W returns. Door at centre of recessed gabled porch bay; window above. On S wall of nave at junction with E porch blocked remains of half 12th century door; outer order survives; scalloped capital; saw-tooth hoodmould. Window immediately to outer left.

E elevation: large 3-light traceried window. About 11' above ground consecration cross about 4inches in diameter, 4 arms within an incised circle. Recessed to right is E return of N aisle; built as burial chamber of the Morton family. Ashlar chamfered margin; lintel inscribed "Anno S.D. AG.HF 1683". 2-leaf panelled door with diamond- pane fanlight.

W elevation: battered base course. Substantial late 13th or 14th century buttress at centre and lesser ones at either end of gable; String course above base level of centre buttress. Small, rectangular, deeply-set, windows flank centre buttress at clerestorey level (modern stained glass). Later square-section, round-arched ashlar birdcage bellcote (circa 1820) surmounts centre buttress. Bell manually operated; deep groove worn in buttress by bell-chain. Gablehead set back; stone coping. Recessed to right is W return of entrance porch. Recessed to left is W return of N aisles.

N elevation: nave with 17th century gabled aisles built to E. 3-bay nave to right of aisles; battered base course, square sandstone; reconstructed windows. Gabled aisle to left, random rubble with dressed quoins. Door at centre; chamfered ashlar margin continuing into overdoor of paired blocked arches with blocked oculus at spandrel. Flush 6-panelled door; 5-pane letter-box fanlight each pane with leaded diamond motif. Rectangular window opening with paired arched wooden windows to right of W return. Flat-roofed link block with ashlar cornice to left; advanced beyond line of W aisle. Gabled E aisle to outer left; further advanced and higher than W aisle. Window at centre; Y-tracery stone mullion and transom; cinquefoil finial at apex of gable.

Leaded diamond-pane glazing; stained glass in windows on E gable. Graded grey slate roof; semi-circular stone ridge. Ashlar coping to skews and skew blocks for S, N and E elevations. Square, coped wallhead stack between N aisles. Flat-roofed louvred ventilation opening on N slope of roof (modern).

Interior: original fittings removed in alterations of 1932. Rubble interior, heavily repointed. 1932 wooden church furniture, altar table situated at N side of nave. The arches at N side to left and right of the altar were the former burial aisles which now house respectively the pulpit and organ. Stained glass only at W end. Gallery along W side. Wooden roof. 13th century grave slab with cross and sword in S porch.

Session House: circa 1830. Single storey, rectangular- plan lodge-type, session house. Stugged ashlar; rusticated quoins; chamfered ashlar margins.

S elevation: gable to road. Pointed arch window at centre, timber Y-tracery with border-glazing; hoodmould. Plaque to right of window to the memory of William Whitelaw LLD of Hatton. Quoins matched by gatepier built into right corner (see below).

N elevation: blank.

W elevation: blank.

E elevation: 2-bay entrance elevation; door to left; window to right (12-pane sash and case window).

Y-tracery with glazed margins. Grey slate roof; ashlar saddleback coping to skews and skew blocks. Tall, coped apex stacks (diamond alignment on square base).

Graveyard: graveyard includes variety of fine early gravestones dating from the 17th century. Within S porch is a circa 14th century tomb-slab of an incised cross and sword within a margin. To SW of S porch is a tomb (possibly mid 18th century) consisting of a panelled coffin formed from single stone, probably carved by John Mitchell and commemorating William Mitchell who died by 'a stroke from a thrashing machine' in 1809.

Walls: church and graveyard surrounded by rubble wall with semi-circular coping.

Gatepiers: circa 1830. Rusticated ashlar piers, fluted frieze and cornice; pier to left consititutes corner of session house.

Statement of Special Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Ratho Kirk had some distinguished ministersincluding William Wilkie (1743-1769). Joseph Mitchell (1695-1737), the so called 'Poet of Ratho' may also have been a minister at the kirk. He studied divinity after a course on philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, but his interests in theate and the arts may have precluded his ordination as these activities were not favoured by the church. Mitchell wrote a number poems, he knew Allan Ramsay and travelled to London to seek patronage from Sir Robert Walpole. William Whitelaw LLD of Hatton, grandfather of the politician, funded the building of the church hall in 1929 and the restoration of the church in 1932. He died on the 14th January 1946 and there is a plaque to him on the s wall of the session house. The grave slab in the S porch is a scheduled monument.

A coffin shaped gravestone in the graveyard is thought to commemorate John Mitchell (Joseph's father) who was a stone cutter and is believed to have carved the stone for himself before his death.

(List description updated 2010 following further information from a descendant of John and Joseph Mitchell)



RCHAMS Inv 214 p158. Colin McWilliam, Lothian (1978) p401. F H Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland Vol V p236. OSA p260. NSA pp99-101. J Tweedie and C Jones Our District (1975) p83. SRO GD150/2442/1/34, GD150/2469/75, GD150/2469/76, GD150/2484/3 information from NMRS; (accessed 16/11/2009); Additional information courtesy of descendant of John and Joseph Mitchell ( accessed 19/11/2009)

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, Annex 2, pp74-76.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Enquiries relating to works to listed buildings should be made to the local authority in the first instance. Listed building consent is required for works which a local authority considers will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and local authorities also decide if listed building consent is required.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The local authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see

Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

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