Spott | Belief

Although there have doubtless been individual adherents of other belief systems in Spott since 1945, only Christianity, particularly in the tradition sustained by the Church of Scotland, has drawn any significant number of continuing adherents. There have been one or two Methodists, and there is at least one committed Episcopalian family in the parish in 2000. However, over the past 50 years, as over many previous centuries, Spott Parish Church has been the physical focus of religious worship. Apart from the parish church itself, only the manse (until its sale in 1959) and the church vestry have been regularly used for religious purposes.

Sunday morning worship has been conducted each Sunday over the period 1945-2000, as it had been centuries before. Local practice and procedure in regard to matters relating to birth, baptism, marriage and death have changed little. Until perhaps around 1970, virtually all Spott church members were buried, either in Spott graveyard next to the church or in Dunbar. Since then cremation has become an alternative occasionally adopted.

The last Sunday in each month is a ‘family’ service in which emphasis is placed on young people’s worship interests. In the 1990s this service replaced separate Sunday school worship, which had become less relevant to the needs of a rapidly changing local community.

1945 Lothian Gray – the last year of a 56-year ministry
1946-59 Alexander Greig
Linked with Innerwick
1959-65 Everard W. Kant
1965-77 Duncan M. Turner
Link with Innerwick dissolved; linked with Belhaven
1978-date Laurence H. Twaddle
Membership Roll
31st December 1945 150
1950 187
1985 102
1995 97
2000 102

Spott parish church was united with Innerwick parish church in March 1959. That union was dissolved in 1977. Since that year, Spott has been linked with Belhaven parish church.

In 1950, virtually 100% of Spott church members lived in the parish; the norm then was for entire families to become members. Since about 1970, family membership has become more fractured and by 2000 church membership has come to consist of individuals or couples rather than entire families.

At 31 December 2000 only 34% of members live in the parish. Most of the remainder live in Dunbar or nearby, but many of these belong to families formerly resident in Spott.

Rites of Passage

Trends in Spott do not noticeably differ from those elsewhere. Long courtships, concluded by marriage, were the norm in the 1950s and perhaps 1960s. They are now less common. Nevertheless, a significant percentage of Spott’s committed young couples are still married in the local church. The marriage ceremony itself is little altered and the kilt is far the commonest men’s attire. Coins are still occasionally scattered after Spott weddings, and receptions are generally held in local hotels.

Elderly folk who were formerly resident in Spott share roots in what was once a close-knit community, and almost all of these have farming connections, which reinforce social ties. The result is that interments in Spott graveyard are still often very well attended and feelings of loyalty to the old community run high among the dwindling number of Spott residents. ‘Formal’ dress (dark-coloured clothing) is still the norm at burials.


The decline over the last 25 years of agricultural employment and in the rural way of life, and the growth of a multi-faceted social culture, have certainly required qualities of adaptability of those resident in or near Spott throughout the post-war period. A real sense of community persists however, and new residents have always been warmly welcomed, irrespective of origin, creed or culture.

Through at least the 1950s the Spott community could be said to have been bonded by the shared mores of a conservative rural parish, distanced from urban life and largely reliant on its own resources for leisure and entertainment. In these conditions, vandalism was virtually unknown, and promiscuity among the young was rare. Even an overt demonstration of emotional attachment was unusual. As access to Dunbar grew with the spread of cycles in the 1940s, motor-cycles in the 1950s, and cars from the 1960s, more liberal attitudes became evident, a trend perhaps strengthened by the impact and penetration of television.

In 2000, petty vandalism in Spott is not uncommon and the local community has its share of social problems. Those who belonged to Spott throughout the 1945-2000 period have had to come to terms with the change from a close-knit community, with a deep sense of moral and social responsibility, to a more uninhibited and less interdependent community exposed to most, if not all, of the problems of contemporary society. It is perhaps remarkable that this change in social culture has so little impaired the basic spirit of goodwill and co-operation, which still characterises life in the village today.