High Kirk of St Giles

Attractions

Critics' choice

High Kirk of St Giles review 2 Users say 2/5 Rate it

There's been a church on this site since AD 854. Nothing remains of the earliest structures, but the four pillars that surround the Holy Table in the centre have stood firm since around 1120, surviving the desecration of armies during the Reformation. The kirk was considerably refurbished in the 19th century; much of what can be seen today dates from this period. Pedants should note that the fabric of the building is referred to as St Giles, while the church itself is known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh. Either way, it's the mother church of Presbyterianism.

John Knox became minister here in 1560, 12 years before his death. This was a tumultuous time for religion in Scotland, with Edinburgh - and Knox - very much at the heart of the Scottish Reformation. The kirk has changed status many times through the years, and today is often referred to as a cathedral even though it's only had two bishops in its history. As a Presbyterian place of worship, it cannot technically be considered a cathedral at all.

Inside, a great vaulted ceiling shelters a medieval interior dominated by the banners and plaques of Scottish regiments. The main entrance takes visitors past the West Porch screen, originally designed as a royal pew for Queen Victoria. Newer features include the 1911 Thistle Chapel, an intricately decorated chamber built in honour of a chivalric order named the Knights of the Thistle. The intimate panelled room was designed by Robert Lorimer, who also designed the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle. Installed in 1992, the organ is an even more recent addition, and features a glass back that reveals its workings.

Memorials and statues pay tribute to the likes of Knox, Robert Louis Stevenson and even Jenny Geddes, but the most notable feature may be the magnificent stained-glass windows. Constructed in the workshops of William Morris, the richly-hued Edward Burne Jones window was designed to be enhanced by the western light it catches. The dazzling West Window, dedicated to Robert Burns by Icelandic artist Leifur Breidfjord in 1984, is also noteworthy, while Douglas Strachan's North Window is a blaze of rich, cold colours and swirling designs.There has been a church on the site of St Giles since 854.

Nothing remains of the earliest structures, but the four pillars that surround the Holy Table in the centre have stood firm since around 1120, surviving the desecration of marauding armies during the Reformation in the 16th century. Numerous memorials and statues pay tribute to the likes of Knox, Robert Louis Stevenson and even Jenny Geddes, but perhaps the most notable feature of the interior is its magnificent stained glass windows. Constructed in the workshops of William Morris, the richly-hued Edward Burne Jones window was designed to be enhanced by the western light it catches. The dazzling West Window, dedicated to Robert Burns by Icelandic artist Leifur Breidfjord in 1984, is also noteworthy, while Douglas Strachan's North Window is a blaze of rich, cold colours and swirling designs.


Comment 2 Tweet
Save to foursquare

High Kirk of St Giles details

Address
High Street

Area Old Town

Transport Bus 23, 27, 35, 41, 42, 45 or Nicolson Street-North Bridge buses

Telephone 0131 225 9442

High Kirk of St Giles website

Open May-Sept 9am-7pm Mon-Fri; 9am-5pm Sat; 1-5pm Sun. Oct-Apr 9am-5pm Mon-Sat; 1-5pm Sun. Call for service times.

Admission free; donations welcome.

Share your thoughts

  • or log in into My Time Out
  • *
  • *
  • Min 1 star. Zero stars will be treated as unrated.
* Mandatory fields for leaving a comment

Comments & ratings 2/5 (Average of 2 ratings)

By LillaHeiman - May 16 2014
1/5

, <a href="http://newsbusan.com/edu/629">pokies</a>, [url="http://newsbusan.com/edu/629"]pokies[/url], http://newsbusan.com/edu/629 pokies, 208,

Report
By RupertMalinowski - Apr 15 2014
3/5

, <a href="http://hompimaker.com/board_nNlW70/196226">article about gambling</a>, [url="http://hompimaker.com/board_nNlW70/196226"]article about gambling[/url], http://hompimaker.com/board_nNlW70/196226 article about gambling, amqq,

Report