The Parish of Dryfesdale centres on the town of Lockerbie. The name comes from the local river, the Dryfe Water, which flows south towards Lockerbie before joining the River Annan a little to the west.
Dryfesdale Parish Church lies on Lockerbie's Townhead Street, a little to the north of the centre of the town. Until 1973 this formed part of the main road from Carlisle to Glasgow: the road remains busy despite the two generations of bypass to the west of the town.
Dryfesdale Parish Church was built from 1896-8 on the site of an earlier church, something clear from the antiquity of some of the graves in the surrounding churchyard.
The church stands a little back from the road and gives a strong impression of height: it's the sort of building you have difficulty photographing without turning the camera on its side. And if you catch it in sunlight, the brightness of the red stone from which it is made is remarkably striking.
The dominant feature in views of the church from the south or east is the battlemented corner tower and belfry topped off with a short spire. The east and west sides of the church are largely occupied by twin rows of windows.
The main doorway is on the west side of the church and reached via a short flight of steps. It leads into an entrance hallway beyond which is a screen panelled with opaque glass.
If the exterior of the church is impressive, the interior is still more so. Your first impression once through the screen and into the back of the nave is breathtaking. The tunnel-vaulted ceiling is covered by panels in graduated shades of pink, and much of the rest of the interior plaster work is also pink. The effect is more suggestive of an opera house than a parish church, but works extremely well, giving a beautiful sense of lightness to the interior.
Once inside the reason for the height of the church and the twin rows of windows becomes obvious. Dryfesdale was built in an age when capacity was all too often a problem in churches, and it was designed from the start to have an upper level comprising broad galleries on the north, south and east sides. These are supported by decorative columns.
The focus of Dryfesdale Parish Church lies at its east end. Here is a semi-octagonal apse, largely occupied by the organ installed in 1905, which partly obscures the apse's stained glass windows. In front of the organ is a high pulpit constructed from bands of pink-veined marble.