A parish in the East of Edinburghshire, containing at its North West corner the village of Bonnyrigg (2 miles South West of Dalkeith), and also the villages or hamlets of Hunterfield, Poltonhall, Prestonholm, and Westhall with part of Lasswade. It is bounded West and North by Lasswade, North East and East by Newbattle, and South by Carrington. The South Esk, entering the parish from the South, intersects it for nearly 1 ½ miles; traces afterwards part of its boundary with Newbattle, receiving there Dalhousie Burn; and the North Esk flows, for a brief distance, along the Lasswade border. The land-surface is flattish, though rising southward from less than 200 to over 400 feet above sea-level; it exhibits everywhere a rich and highly-cultivated aspect, and along the banks of the stream is often singularly picturesque.
(Extract from Groomes Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland c.1895)
The Church of Cockpen is first mentioned in Church records in the year 1176 AD, and was consecrated by David de Bernham, Bishop of St. Andrews in the year 1242. The present Church is a mile north of the old, and was built between 1818 and 1820 by R & R Dickson to a design by Archibald Elliot, and subsequently opened for worship on 2 nd April 1820, by the then incumbent, Dr. Grierson.
The Church has a conspicuous tower which it is understood was raised in height so that it could be seen from Arniston, the residency of the Lord Chief Baron. The Church at Kilconquhar, in Fife is believed to be of an exactly similar construction. There are of course literary associations with the ‘Laird of Cockpen’, and a rather small waistcoat once belonging to said gentleman, reposes in the vestibule of the Church. (To see a photo click on the link Laird's Waistcoat )
Cockpen Kirk (Church) which is a Category ‘A’ listed building is sited near Cockpen crossroads where there are two further Category ‘C(s)’ listed buildings, one being the former Cockpen Manse. The area currently retains it’s rural aspect being out with recent Bonnyrigg housing development.
The church houses an integral Organ built in 1888 by the Manchester based firm of Wadsworth, the Organ comprises two manuals (tracker action ) and pedals, with 16 speaking stops, it is attractively voiced and is a fine example of the organ construction of its period.