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Encyclopedia > St. Giles' Cathedral
St. Giles' Cathedral from the front

A prominent feature of the Edinburgh skyline, St. Giles' Cathedral or the High Kirk of Edinburgh decorates the midpoint of the Royal Mile with its rounded, highly distinctive, hollow-crown tower. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (3072 × 2304 pixel, file size: 2. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (3072 × 2304 pixel, file size: 2. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Much of the Royal Mile is cobbled, as seen in this view looking east down the High Street past the old Tron Kirk. ...


The cathedral has been Edinburgh's religious focal point for at least 900 years. Today it is often regarded as the mother church of Presbyterianism; since the Church of Scotland became Presbyterian in the 17th century, St. Giles is no longer a cathedral in the technical sense, although the name survives colloquially along with the "High Kirk" label which it uses more formally. It is the Church of Scotland parish church for part of Edinburgh's Old Town. Four services are held every Sunday, as well as daily services and special services for state and civic occasions. The current minister (since 1973) of St. Giles' is the Very Reverend Dr Gilleasbuig Macmillan. Presbyterianism is a form of church government which is most prevalent within the Reformed branch of Protestant Western Christianity. ... The Church of Scotland (CofS, known informally as The Kirk, Eaglais na h-Alba in Scottish Gaelic) is the national church of Scotland. ... A cathedral is a religious building for worship, specifically of a denomination with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Roman Catholic, Anglican and some Lutheran churches, which serves as a bishops seat, and thus as the central church of a diocese. ... The Church of Scotland (CofS, known informally as The Kirk, Eaglais na h-Alba in Scottish Gaelic) is the national church of Scotland. ... A parish church is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish, the basic administrative unit of episcopal churches. ... The Very Reverend Gilleasbuig Iain Macmillan, CVO, FRSE, has served since 1973 as Minister of St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, which is often described as the mother church of Presbyterianism. ...


As the name implies, it is dedicated to St. Giles, who was the patron saint of cripples and lepers and a very popular saint in the Middle Ages. The oldest parts of the building are four massive central pillars, dating from 1120. Over the years many chapels were added, greatly enlarging the church and leaving it rather irregular in plan, and by the middle of the 16th century (before the Reformation) there were about fifty altars in the church. Saint Giles (Latin Ægidius) was a 7th-8th century Christian hermit saint. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... The Protestant Reformation was a movement which began in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church, but ended in division and the establishment of new institutions, most importantly Lutheranism, Reformed churches, and Anabaptists. ...

St. Giles has both some of the best, and some of the least attractive, stained glass windows in Scotland, dating from the 19th and 20th centuries (none survives from the medieval period). The most well known windows include the: Victorian Windows, Burne-Jones Window, North Window, and the Burns Window. The Victorian windows were commissioned by Sir William Chambers, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, who spearheaded the (extremely intrusive) restoration of St. Giles in 1872. Until this time St. Giles had, since shortly after the Reformation, consisted of several churches within the main edifice, divided by walls and with galleries inserted into the vaults. The restoration reunified the church into a single space. Tragically, an obsession with a barren 'symmetry' led to the actual demolition of parts of the kirk (notably on the south side, where a number of chapels had been added piecemeal during the late Middle Ages). The exterior of the building, except for the tower and crown spire, was refaced in bland grey sandstone ashlar and standardised 'Gothic' ornament alien to Scottish medieval architecture, which paid scant heed to the original, strikingly individual, appearance of the church. Much of the unique character and historic interest of St. Giles (undisputably one of Scotland's most important - and prominent - historic buildings) were thus recklessly destroyed in a 'restoration' chiefly notable for combining ignorance with arrogance. The contrast with a recent (late 20th century) sensitive restoration of the crown spire, which included the regilding of various pinnacles and ornaments, could not be more marked. Happily, the interior of the church retains more of its ancient character, including a wealth of carved ornament, though the walls and vaults have been only partially replastered. The dark stone rubble of the 'scraped' parts of the walls, which were never meant to be seen by the medieval builders, makes the inside needlessly dark (detestably so on overcast days). The cost of the stained glass windows was underwritten by the Lord Provost and other donors. The Edinburgh firm of Ballantine & Son was commissioned for the work. The windows form a continuous narrative over seven windows starting in the north east corner and finishing on the north-west side. One of the last windows of this plan depicts St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, holding his cross with, on either side of him, St. Columba and King David (erroneously labeled St. David). St. Andrew wears a flowing peacock-blue cassock and his features are modeled after prominent Edinburgh physician James Jamieson. Unusually, this window was funded by a grateful patient who insisted that St. Andrew bore the features of the good doctor. Below St. Andrew are depicted St. Giles, with his hind, and St. Cuthbert. The dedication beneath the St. Andrew window states: James Jamieson Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh and Elder of the Kirk, born 1841, in Bowden, and died 1903. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Burns can refer to: Burn A Scottish clan: see Burns (clan) George Burns (actor) George H. Burns (baseball player) Ken Burns Robert Burns, a Scottish poet C. M. Burns, aka Mr. ... A Lord Provost is the Scottish equivalent of a Lord Mayor. ... Motto (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity Wha daur meddle wi me?(Scots)1 Anthem (Multiple unofficial anthems) Scotlands location in Europe Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official languages English, Gaelic, Scots3 Government Constitutional monarchy  -  Queen Queen Elizabeth II  -  Prime Minister Tony Blair MP  -  First Minister Jack McConnell... Saint Andrew (Greek: Andreas, manly), the Christian Apostle, brother of Saint Peter, was born at Bethsaida on the Lake of Galilee. ... Saint David (c. ... Saint Andrew (Greek: Andreas, manly), the Christian Apostle, brother of Saint Peter, was born at Bethsaida on the Lake of Galilee. ...


The Thistle Chapel (1911, by Robert Lorimer) is the chapel of The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Scotland's foremost Order of Chivalry. It is a small, but exquisite, chapel with carved and painted fittings of extraordinary detail. The Order, which was founded by James VII in 1687, consists of the monarch and 16 knights. The knights are the personal appointment of the crown, and are normally Scots who have made a significant contribution to national or international affairs. Knights have included Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Lord Mackay of Clashfern and the Duke of Buccleuch. Sir Robert Stodart Lorimer (1864 - 1929) was a prolific Scottish architect noted for his restoration work on historic houses and castles, and for promotion of the Arts and Crafts style. ... James VII ordained the modern Order. ... James VII and II King of England, Scotland and Ireland James II of England and VII of Scotland (14 October 1633–16 September 1701) became King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 6 February 1685. ... Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home1, Baron Home of the Hirsel, KT, PC (July 2, 1903 – October 9, 1995), 14th Earl of Home from 1951 to 1963, was a British Conservative (actually SUP) politician, and served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for a year from October 1963 to October 1964. ... James Peter Hymers Mackay, Baron Mackay of Clashfern, KT, PC (born July 2, 1927), is a Scottish lawyer and former Lord Chancellor (1987 - 1997). ... The title of Duke of Buccleuch (IPA ) was created in the Peerage of Scotland on 20 April 1663 for the Duke of Monmouth, eldest illegitimate son of Charles II of England, who had married Anne Scott, 4th Countess of Buccleuch. ...


On Sunday 23 July 1637 efforts by King Charles I to impose Anglican services on the Church of Scotland led to the Book of Common Prayer revised for Scottish use being introduced in St Giles'. Rioting in opposition began when Dean John Hanna began to read from the new Book of Prayer, legendarily initiated by the market-woman or street-seller Jenny Geddes throwing her stool at his head. The disturbances led to the National Covenant and hence the Bishops' Wars; the first part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which included the English Civil War. In the late 17th century a carillon was made for the cathedral by James Meikle. On the day in 1707 that the Treaty of Union was signed to merge the Parliament of Scotland with the Parliament of England and create the Kingdom of Great Britain, the carilloner in St Giles rang the bells in the tune Why should I be so sad on my wedding day? [1] July 23 is the 204th day (205th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 161 days remaining. ... Events February 3 - Tulipmania collapses in Netherlands by government order February 15 - Ferdinand III becomes Holy Roman Emperor December 17 - Shimabara Rebellion erupts in Japan Pierre de Fermat makes a marginal claim to have proof of what would become known as Fermats last theorem. ... Charles I (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649) was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. ... The term Anglican describes those people and churches following the religious traditions of the Church of England, especially following the Reformation. ... For the novel by Joan Didion, see A Book of Common Prayer. ... Riot against use of prescribed prayer book The legendary Jenny Geddes famously threw her stool at the head of the minister in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, beginning a riot which led to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms that included the English Civil War. ... The Covenanters, named after the Solemn League and Covenant, were a party that, originating in the Reformation movement, played an important part in the history of Scotland, and to a lesser extent in that of England, during the 17th century. ... The Bishops Wars, a series of armed encounters and defiances between England and Scotland in 1639 and 1640, were part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. ... The Wars of the Three Kingdoms were an intertwined series of conflicts that took place in Scotland, Ireland, and England between 1639 and 1651 at a time when these countries had come under the Personal Rule of the same monarch. ... The English Civil War consisted of a series of armed conflicts and political machinations that took place between Parliamentarians (known as Roundheads) and Royalists (known as Cavaliers) between 1642 and 1651. ... The Netherlands Carillon in Arlington, Virginia, USA. A carillon is a musical instrument composed of at least 23 cup-shaped bells played from a baton keyboard using fists and feet (such an instrument with fewer than this number of bells is known as a chime). ... The Acts of Union were a pair of Acts of Parliament passed in 1706 and 1707 (taking effect on 1 May 1707) by, respectively, the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. ... The parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the independent Kingdom of Scotland. ... English parliament in front of the king c. ... Scotland, England, (Great) Britain and United Kingdom see British Isles (terminology). ...


Its many monuments and memorials, as well as its sheer size and location, have made it a very popular tourist attraction, drawing special notice during the annual Edinburgh Festival, which centres on the Royal Mile. Notable monuments include those to James Graham, Marquess of Montrose (1612-50), his enemy Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll (1607-61) and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94). There is no one Edinburgh Festival but those using the term are usually referring to the collection of various festivals in August and early September of each year in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... James Graham was the name of several people: Sir James Graham, Bt. ... The title of Duke of Montrose was created in the peerage of Scotland in 1488 for David Lindsay. ... For other people with the same name see Archibald Campbell Argyll. ... The title Duke of Argyll was created in the peerage of Scotland in 1701 and in the peerage of the United Kingdom in 1892. ... Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson (November 13, 1850–December 3, 1894), was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, and a leading representative of Neo-romanticism in English literature. ...

St Giles' Cathedral on the Edinburgh Old Town skyline
St Giles' Cathedral on the Edinburgh Old Town skyline

Edinburgh Old Town skyline with the crown spire of St Giles Cathedral to the left. ... Edinburgh Old Town skyline with the crown spire of St Giles Cathedral to the left. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Notes by John Purser to CD Scotland's Music, Facts about Edinburgh.

Dr John Purser, born in 1942 in Glasgow, Scotland, is an eminent composer, musicologist, historian and writer. ...

See also

The Church of Scotland (CofS, known informally as The Kirk, Eaglais na h-Alba in Scottish Gaelic) is the national church of Scotland. ... The Church of Scotland, the national church of Scotland, divides the country into presbyteries, which are subdivided into parishes, each served by a parish church usually with its own minister. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Much of the Royal Mile is cobbled, as seen in this view looking east down the High Street past the old Tron Kirk. ... Saint Giles (640?-720?) (Latin: Ægidius, French: Gilles, Italian: Egidio) was a 7th-8th century Christian hermit saint. ...

External links


Coordinates: 55°56′58.2″N, 3°11′27.1″W Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
St. Giles' Cathedral - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (786 words)
Giles' Cathedral or the High Kirk of Edinburgh decorates the midpoint of the Royal Mile with its rounded hollow-crown tower.
Giles, who was the patron saint of cripples and lepers and a very popular saint in the Middle Ages.
The dedication beneath the St. Andrew window states: James Jamieson Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh and Elder of the Kirk, born 1841, in Bowden, and died 1903.
Saint Giles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (670 words)
Giles is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, initially invoked as protection against the Black Death.
St Giles Church, in Wrexham, the steeple of which is one of the Seven Wonders of Wales.
St Giles', a street in Oxford named after a nearby church and the focal point of the St Giles Fair, held on or around St Giles' feast day.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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