Midlothian’s 100 Objects - Newbattle Chapel floor tiling

A close up of the intricate tiling on the chapel floor at Newbattle Abbey. Photo: Newbattle Abbey/Scran
A close up of the intricate tiling on the chapel floor at Newbattle Abbey. Photo: Newbattle Abbey/Scran

This image, taken from the Scran archive, shows a close up view of one of the impressive circular designs that can be found in the middle of the chapel floor at Newbattle Abbey.

Pay particular attention to the various colours of the materials used. The original floor of the kitchen consisted of tiles from 1¼ to ½ inch thick, with a fine glaze or enamel of various colours.

The 9th Marquess of Lothian ordered his Clerk of Works to lay down a wooden floor with pieces of wood to correspond to the shape of the old tiles. No pattern was to be used unless it was based on an original seventh view of chapel floor.

The floor took two years to complete and it incorporated 13,226 pieces. The wood came from the estate and was taken from yew, oak, maple, laburnum, plane, walnut, elm, larch and pear trees.

What is now termed the chapel originally was the old abbey kitchen. Excavations in the late 19th century found the great chimney with an oven on one side.

The kitchen would also be the Warming Room, a place where the monks could break their vow of silence.

Photo: Newbattle Abbey/Scran

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