Until the 18th century colliers were denied access to Newton Church.
In 1725 they petitioned the Kirk Session and in 1732 were granted access.
To celebrate this success a board was made, although probably after 1747.
It bears the names of the petitioning colliers and a painted coat-of-arms depicting tools of the colliers’ trade such as a spade and pick.
The text on the board reads ‘Chap: VI. Vers 28: Can one go upon hot coalls and his feet not be burnt - Romans Him if He Thirst give him drink for in so doing Thou shall Reap’.
It was common for trade incorporations to have a loft in their local church that would be used by their members.
Unlike those in the trade incorporations, the 18th century collier was primarily a slave and treated as such, being shunned by the general run of society.
Thus there were great problems for colliers in attaining access to church.
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Photo: Midlothian Council Local Studies/Scran
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