St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh
Three of the
soaring spires on the famous skyline of Edinburgh
belong to the Scottish Episcopal Catherdal of St Mary the Virgin.
Consecrated in 1879 the Cathedral is still the home to a thriving congregation.
After the abdication of James VII in 1689 the reformed church in Scotland
divided over the issue of the Stuart succession. Two churches came into being.
St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh
was the Patron Saint of Cripples, he was a Greek born in Athens in 640AD. The
building was dedicated to St Giles in 1243. There has probably been a
church on this site since 854. The oldest parts of the present building are 4
massive central pillars thought to date back to 1120. The church was burnt down
by the English in 1385. However over the following 150 years it was
enlarged and enhanced. It was from here that John Knox (Scottish reformer)
appointed Minister of Edinburgh in 1559 led the reformation of the Scottish
Church. The tie with Rome was broken and the administration of the Church
of Scotland evolved into Presbyterianism. Although it must be said that
for two periods in the 17th Century the Church was Episcopalian. Mary
Queen of Scots held Parliament in 1563 in the outer tollbooth section.
During that time it was the market place at the centre of the cities activities.
Many tales of torture, execution, bravery and treachery started life within the
walls of this building. Which today echoes a violent past and yet by
careful renewal points a way forward to the future.
Built Close to the site where Kentigern (St. Mungo) built his church in 543, the
present structure was started during the 12th Century, with the quire and crypt
being completed in the 13th Century. The Cathedral was finally completed
at the end of the 15th Century. It is the only complete Medieval Cathedral
on the Scottish mainland. The Cathedral is 285ft long and the Nave is 63ft
wide, the Nave roof is 105ft high. The Lower church which fulfils two
purposed, the Tomb of St, Kentigern and the provision of additional Chapels and
Altars is without doubt the most distinctive feature of the Cathedral. One
of the Outstanding features is the fan vaulting around the Tomb.
Greyfriars kirk Built on the site of a former Monastery the Kirk was opened in 1620, the first to be built in Edinburgh after the reformation. The national covenant was signed here in 1638. The churchyard contains probably the finest collection of 17th Century memorials in the city. One of them is to William Adam father of the great family of architects. But the most famous of all is just outside the actual churchyard, at the top of Candlemakers Row. A statue of Greyfriars Bobby, a small dog who watched over the grave of his master the shepherd Kohn Gray for 14 years. The venue is used extensively throughout the year for recitals and is much in demand during the fringe period.