St. Mary’s Church
St. Mary’s church was opened in 1872, although we know that mass was being celebrated in the village around 1850. After the Reformation there were small numbers of Catholics in the area and they were mainly linked to the nobility. Later, as a result of the Highland Clearances and the Irish famine, refugees came to work on local farms and by the mid 19th century, there were some 500 Catholics in South Midlothian. In 1854 St. David’s in Dalkeith was opened to minister to their needs and 18 years later St. Mary’s was built, thanks to the generosity of the Marchioness Dowager of Lothian. It was described shortly after as
“… in the simple style of Gothic, with lancet windows, and a three light window in the east gable. Although the building is plain, it has a bold effect, the top of the cross on the east gable rising to a height of about 40 feet on the ground.”
Before the Reformation
Pathhead was on the Dere Road of the Roman way north into the Lothians where their settlement at Cramond lay just beyond Edinburgh. Christianity will have come into the area in the wake of the Roman occupation.
Pathhead lies less than 8 miles from Soutra Aisle where the Hospital of the Holy Trinity, founded in 1164, was the site of pioneering medical work. The Augustinian monks took immense risks with church law to minister to the sick who came from near and far.