Whitekirk Church Photos, Scotland Building History, Ancient East Lothian Architecture

Whitekirk Church

Our Lady of Haddington Shrine – Historic Pilgrimage Church in East Lothian


Location: Whitekirk, south of North Berwick, East Lothian

No larger images, apologies

Whitekirk Church building photo © Adrian Welch

Large 15th Century church, visited by Pope Pius II and popular with pilgrims to this day.


Located in the hamlet of Whitekirk, south of North Berwick, north of Dunbar – is the 15th Century red sandstone structure which is the Parish Church of St. Mary.

Whitekirk was an important mediaeval centre of pilgrimage when a nearby well was pronounced to have healing qualities around 1300. A shrine to Our Lady of Haddington was constructed.

The original Church structure at Whitekirk was a 12th Century parish church, under the jurisdiction of Holyrood Abbey. However, in 1413 around 16,000 pilgrims came to Whitekirk and King James I placed the Whitekirk under his personal protection and built hostels to shelter the growing numbers of pilgrims.

Whitekirk, East Lothian
Whitekirk Church image © AW

In 1435, Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, the future Pope Pius II, walked barefoot through the snow from Dunbar to give thanks at Whitekirk Church for his survival of a storm in the Firth of Forth while coming on a mission to Scotland.

Scottish Churches in Edinburgh & Lothian

Whitekirk was a place of Christian worship from the earliest times and known in Old English as Hwīt Cirice. This was due to the holy well, now lost, dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, and the famous statue.

A key building located close by to the North of this historic structure:

Tantallon Castle
Location: 3m east of North Berwick off the A198, East Lothian, south east Scotland, United Kingdom
Tantallon Castle
picture © Adrian Welch

Edinburgh Walking Tours

St Martins Kirk, Haddington – located a few miles west of Whitekirk, East Lothian

Rosslyn Chapel

Burrell Collection

St Brides Kirk

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