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St Andrew's Auld Kirk

The church may have first been a simple wooden chapel built by monks from Lindisfarne, led by St Baldred, in the 7th century. The first stone chapel was built in the 12th century as a plain rectangular building with narrow windows. A side chapel was added later and a tower built in the 15th century - the base of the tower can still be seen on entering the church. As the kirk grew richer from the pilgrim trade, two side aisles were added. During a huge storm in 1656 the whole east end collapsed and with it the church and today only the ruins remain. The graveyard was filled with pilgrims and locals, rich and poor, although the tombstones here would undoubtedly have belonged to the wealthy. During the 1850s the porch of the Auld Kirk remained in use as a shelter for the Marine Rescue Service Rocket Patrol. The volunteers would watch for ship distress signals and fire rockets across stricken ships, attached to ropes, to assist the rescue of crews.
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