High Kirk of Edinburgh, St Giles

The site where the High Kirk of Edinburgh, St Giles, now stands has been a religious site since at least 854 and quite like likely much earlier. The earliest establishment was replaced by a Romanesque building erected by Alexander I (1107 – 1124. born 1078) about 1120. It is generally accepted that this would have been a single cell and was probably on the site of the present nave and the present crossing with its four massive pillars, which supports the Tower and Lantern, is likely to be the sole remains of that edifice. The Lantern was raised¬† about 1500. Until the Reformation (1560) the building was a Roman Catholic Cathedral and the last Mass was sung in March 1560. The building was shared, for a short time, by Roman Catholics and Protestants but the latter ‘purged the said kirk of idolatrie‘ and John Knox (c.1512 – 72) the great Protestant Reformer became Minister of the city. St Giles became the focus of his attempts to impose the Presbyterian for of Protestantism on Scotland.

Under Charles I (1625 – 1649. born 1600) St Giles was an Episcopalian Cathedral from 1633 – 1639. Charles attempted to introduce the English Prayer Book into Scottish religious practice. The reaction of the Scots was the signing of the National Covenant in 1638 by which Episcopacy was abolished.

More details regarding St Giles will be found on each page (above) by clicking on the pictures.

More Pictures of the interior of St Giles, Edinburgh.

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