St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh

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St Giles Cathedral is situated in Edinburgh centre, a short walk down the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle.

St Giles, now also known as High Kirk of Edinburgh, was founded in the 1130s, but little of that early building remains. Most of what can be seen today is from work carried in the 1400s, 1800s and 1900s.

1100s, King David I began the building of Edinburgh Castle, and funded the building of Holyrood Abbey 1 mile north, with the road connecting the two being known as the Royal Mile.

David I also funded the original St Giles Church built between the Castle and Abbey. This church was extended into an impressive Cathedral over the following centuries.

Map / EH1 1RE . Edinburgh Pages . Large Images . Website.

St Giles is now not an actual Cathedral, as it is no longer the seat of a Bishop. Bishops only served in Scottish Churches for periods in the 1600s, as Scots rulers preferred their Churches run by Elders.

This led to the Bishops Wars, that in turn led to Civil Wars.

St Giles now serves as the top Church of Scotland / Protestant.

St Mary's Cathedral completed in 1814, on York Place in Edinburgh, serves as the top Catholic Church in Scotland.

The impressive St Mary's Cathedral completed in 1917, on Palmerston Place in Edinburgh, serves as the top Episcopal Church / Protestant, seat of the Bishop of Edinburgh.

The image right is of the bell from the 39,000 ton battleship HMS Howe from the 1940s. This warship saw action in WWII in Europe, then later in the Far East. HMS Howe was scrapped at Inverkeithing in 1958, with its bell being donated to St Giles Cathedral to serve as a memorial to all who died in the war.

The image bottom is of a statue of John Knox (1513 – 1572) in St Giles, a Scottish minister and writer who was the leader of the Reformation in Scotland, a time when the Catholic religion, centered on the Pope in Rome, was abolished in Scotland and England.

St Giles Cathedral History

1100s - King David I begins the Building of Edinburgh Castle.

1100s - David I funds the building of Holyrood Abbey one mile north of Edinburgh Castle. The road connecting the the Castle and Palace become known as the Royal Mile.

1100s - David I funds the building St Giles Church on the Royal Mile between the Castle and Abbey.

At this time, Christian Catholicism, centered on the Pope in Rome, is the main religion in Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland.

   

1385 - English troops of King Richard II attacked Edinburgh and set fire to St Giles. The church is repaired and enlarged soon after.

1466 - St Giles is raised to a Collegiate Church.

1490 - the notable lantern tower is added.

1500s - many countries throughout Europe begin pushing to have the Christian Catholic religion, centered on the Pope in Rome, replaced by Christian Protestantism, with the head of these churches being the countries rulers.

1534 - King Henry VIII of England becomes Supreme Head of the Church of England under Anglican Protestantism.

1560 - John Knox is credited with being the founder of the Church of Scotland under Presbyterian Protestantism, with the head of these churches being Scottish Elders.

The Catholic Religion becomes illegal in Scotland and England at this time.

1581 - St Giles interior is divided into sections as Protestantism begins to split into many forms.

1603 - King James VI Stuart of Scotland becomes king of England as well, uniting the two countries.

The Stuart Kings live in England from this time and want more control over the Scottish Churches, which in turn gives more control over the Scottish people.

1634 - King Charles I coronation in Scotland led to William Forbes being consecrated in St Giles as the first Bishop of Edinburgh. St Giles then has the status of a Cathedral.

1638 - Scottish law makers deposed all Bishops in Scotland, leading to Scots churches being run as Presbyterian Church of Scotland. St Giles looses its status of a Cathedral as it is then run by Elders, upsetting the Royals.

 

1639 - Scotland deposing the Bishops led to the Bishops Wars, Covenanters Wars, Wars of the Three Nations, and English Civil War.

1661 - the end of the English Civil war leads to Charles II being restored as King. His strong stance on religion leads to St Giles again becoming a Cathedral with a Bishop.

1688 - William of Orange overthrows King James II of England /James VII of Scotland, leading to the Scots demanding a free Scottish parliament.

1689 - The Parliament of Scotland abolishes Bishops, leading to St Giles once again becoming a Presbyterian Church of Scotland run by Elders. St Giles looses its status as a Cathedral again.

1707 - the merger of Scotland and England into Great Britain, led to some Scots building Episcopal Protestant Churches run by a Bishop. These churches are run similar to Church of England Churches and Cathedrals.

1791 - The Roman Catholic Relief Act allows Roman Catholic Churches and Cathedrals to be built.

1814 - St Mary's Catholic Cathedral is completed on York Place in Edinburgh to serve as the top Catholic Church in Scotland.

1897 - St Mary's Episcopal Protestant Cathedral is completed on Palmerston Place in Edinburgh to serve as the top Episcopal Church in Scotland.

1911 - a small ornate Chapel for the Knights of the Thistle was added to St Giles.

1992 - a large organ with 4,000 pipes is installed in St Giles.

See also Scotland Cathedrals for more historic churches.

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