Gretna Green, Dumfries & Galloway

Old Parish Church

The church had its origins in Pictish times at St Brigids Well on Gretna Hill. By the 16th century the church at Reinpatrick, or the Red Kirk, had fallen into decay and was joined to the Parish of Graitney. The parishes of Gretna and Redkirk were united in 1609.

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Visiting information

  • Architecture

  • Interior features

  • Social heritage

  • Links to national heritage


  • Accessible by public transport

  • Mostly accessible to all

  • Parking at church or nearby

  • Toilets at church or nearby

  • Refreshments at church or nearby

The name Graitney was used in church records until 1st February 1916 and thereafter the name Gretna is used. In the records of York Minster, Gretna or Graitney Church is mentioned as being under the jurisdiction of the priory of Guisburn in Yorkshire. The church had some connection with the Bruce family who had been granted land by the Normans in Yorkshire, and were Lords of Annandale.

The present church, which in part may date from the 17th century, probably stands on or close to the site of its medieval predecessor, which is first mentioned about 1170. A fragment of late medieval window moulding and what may be two similar fragments are built into the west wall. On display is a piece of stone with a cat like head carved in high relief, with bulbous circular eyes, rounded ears, and the hint of a mouth.

A great variety of old Communion plate/pewter/tokens from the old parish are still in the possession of the church. The old pewter consists of a bowl, flagon, two cups and three plates.
From their appearance it seems likely that they were buried under masonry when the church was burned down. One of the plates is punch marked round the rim with the inscription 'This basin belongs to Graitney Kirk 1707.'

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