Prestonkirk is said to have been founded by St. Baldred of the Bass in the 6th century. At the east end is a fine chancel, going back to the 13th century, while the main part of the building dates from the 18th and 19th century, with a 17th century tower at its west end. The interior features woodwork in the Jacobean style, which was the work of local craftsmen and was placed there in 1892. There is a vestry at the west end, beside the tower, and the former laird’s room, behind the gallery, is now used as a crèche.
The earliest documentary evidence of the presence of a church in Stenton comes from the reign of William the Lion (1165-1214) when one Richard, Chaplain of Stenton, was witness to a charter.
Very probably, Richard’s chapel stood on the site of the old church in the kirkyard, which in size and style is typical of the Scottish mediaeval parish church. It is not known how often the chapel was rebuilt, extended and repaired but the massive stone baptismal font, which stands at the south east end of the old church, dates from the 14th century.
While little is known of the building of the old church, that of the new is well documented. By the early 1820s the old church was too small for the growing village population and was in need of extensive repairs. In 1829 a new church was built, of a Gothic design, by the prominent architect William Burn and is situated on the main street of Stenton village. In 1892 the pulpit was moved from the long wall to the south-west corner with a consequent change in pew arrangement which remains today. The church features a vestry, former laird’s gallery, an east gallery and a bell tower.
In 1993 pews were removed to form a meeting area at the rear of the church. The church does not have its own hall, but the Village Community Hall, a short distance away, is usually available for all the needs of the church.
Whittingehame Church is no longer used for worship. An attractive building with its surrounding collection of hamlets and farmsteads, it lies towards the north end of the former parish, which stretches south into the Lammermuir Hills.
The original Church in Whittingehame originated circa 664 AD when St Cuthbert, who was known as ‘the Apostle of the Lothians’ brought Christianity, first to Lindisfarne then northwards to the Lothians. As far as can be ascertained the first church at Whittingehame was built in a field still known as Kirklands on Luggate farm.
In 1225, a new church of stone was built but nothing of note was recorded about it until centuries later when in 1721 it was reported to be in a ruinous condition. The new church, the building which stands today, was built in 1722 and had no seating until 1739! The present layout of the interior was the result of a major refurbishment in 1875, and, although little altered since, remains in excellent repair.
The Church has the distinction of having, in its long line of ministry, Three Moderators of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The three were; the Very Rev. James Robertson DD, The Very Rev. Marshall B. Lang DD and more recently The Very Rev. W. Roy Sanderson DD who ministered in Whittingehame until 1973.