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Chapter 15 – The Church of St. Giles., pp.138-148.

St. Giles’s Church – The Patron Saint – Its Origin and early Norman style – The Renovation of 1829 – History of the Structure – Procession of the Saint’s Relics – The Preston Relic – The Chapel of the Duke of Albany – Funeral of the Regent Murray – The “Gude Regent’s Aisle” – The Assembly Aisle – Dispute between James VI. and the Church Party – Departure of James VI. – Haddo’s Hole – The Napier Tomb – The Spire and Lantern – Clock and Bells – The Krames – Restoration of 1878.


THE church of St. Giles, or Sanctus Egidius, as he is termed in Latin, was the first parochial one erected in the city, and its history can be satisfactorily deduced from the early part of the 12th century, when it superseded, or was engrafted on an edifice of much smaller size and older date, one founded about 100 years after the death of its patron saint, the abbot and confessor St. Giles, who was born in Athens, of noble – some say royal – parentage, and who, while young, sold his patrimony and left his native country, to the end that he might serve God in retirement. In the year 666 he arrived at Provence, in the south of France, and chose a retreat near Arles; but afterwards, desiring more perfect solitude, he withdrew into a forest near Gardo, in the diocese of Nismes, having with him only one companion, Veredemus, who lived with him on the fruits of the earth and the milk of a hind. As Flavius Wamba, King of the Goths, was one day hunting in the neighbourhood of Nismes, his hounds pursued her to the hermitage of the saint, where she took refuge. This hind has been ever associated with St. Giles, and its figure is to this day the sinister supporter of the city arms. (“Caledonia,” ii., p. 773.) St. Giles died in 721, on the 1st of September, which was always held as his festival in Edinburgh; and to some disciple of the Benedictine establishment in the south of France we doubtless owe the dedication of the parish church there. He owes his memory in the English capital to Matilda of Scotland, queen of Henry I., who founded there St. Giles’s hospital for lepers in 1117. Hence, the large parish which now lies in the heart of London took its name from the Greek recluse; and the master and brethren of that hospital used to present a bowl of ale to every felon as he passed their gate to Newgate.

Among the places enumerated by Simon Dunelmensis, of Durham, as belonging to the see of Lindisfarn in 854, when Earnulph, who removed it to Chester-le-Street, was bishop, he includes that of Edinburgh. From this it must be distinctly inferred that a church of some kind existed on the long slope that led to Dun Edin, but no authentic record of it occurs till the reign of King Alexander II., when Baldred deacon of Lothian, and John perpetual vicar of the church of St. Giles at Edinburgh, attached their seals to copies of certain Papal bulls and charters of the church of Megginche, a dependency of the church of Holyrood; and (according to the Liber Cartarum Sanctae Crucis) on the Sunday before the feast of St. Thomas, in the year 1293, Donoca, daughter of John, son of Herveus, resigned certain lands to the monastery of Holyrood, in full consistory, held in the church of St. Giles. In an Act passed in 1319, in the reign of Robert I., the church is again mentioned, when William the bishop of St. Andrews confirmed numerous gifts bestowed upon the abbey and its dependencies. In 1359 King David II., by a charter under his great seal, confirmed to the chaplain officiating at the altar of St. Catharine in the church of St. Giles all the lands of Upper Merchiston, the gift of Roger Hog, burgess of Edinburgh. It is more than probable that the first church on the site was of wood. St. Paul’s Cathedral, at London, was burned down in 961, and built up again within the year. Of what must the materials have been? asks Maitland. Burned again in 1187, it was rebuilt on arches of stone – “a wonderful work,” say the authors of the day.

A portion of the church of St. Giles was arched with stone in 1380, as would appear from a contract noted by Maitland, who had also preserved the terms of another contract, made in 1387, between the provost and community of Edinburgh on one hand, and two masons on the other, for the construction of five separate vaulted chapels along the south side of the church, the architectural features of which prove its existence at a period long before any of these dates, and when Edinburgh was merely a cluster of thatched huts.

The edifice, as it now stands, is a building including the work of many different and remote periods. By all men of taste and letters in Edinburgh it has been a general subject of regret that the restoration in 1829 was conducted in a manner so barbarous and irreverent, that many of its ancient features and its ancient tombs were swept away. The first stone church was probably of Norman architecture. A beautiful Norman doorway, which stood below the third window from the west, was wantonly destroyed towards the end of the eighteenth century. “This fragment,” says Wilson, “sufficiently enables us to picture the little parish church of St. Giles in the reign of David I. Built in the massive style of the early Norman period, it would consist simply of a nave and chancel, united by a rich Norman chancel arch, altogether occupying only a portion of the centre of the present nave. Small circular-headed windows, decorated with zig-zag mouldings’, would admit the light to its sombre interior; while its west front was in all probability surmounted by a simple belfry, from whence the bell would summon the natives of the hamlet to matins and vespers, and with slow measured sounds toll their knell, as they were laid in the neighbouring churchyard. This ancient church was never entirely demolished. Its solid masonry was probably very partially affected by the ravages of the invading forces of Edward II. in 1322, when Holyrood was spoiled, or by those of his son in 1335, when the whole country was wasted with fire and sword. The town was again subjected to the like violence, probably with results little more lasting, by the conflagration of 1385, when the English army under Richard II. Occupied the town for five days, and then laid it and the abbey of Holyrood in ashes. The Norman architecture disappeared piecemeal, as chapels and aisles were added to the original fabric by the piety of private donors, or by the zeal of its own clergy to adapt it to the wants of the rising town. In all the changes that it underwent for above seven centuries, the original north door, with its beautifully recessed Norman arches and grotesque decorations, always commanded the veneration of the innovators, and remained as a precious relic of the past, until the tasteless improvers of the eighteenth century demolished it without cause, and probably for no better reason than to evade the cost of its repair!”

In the year 1462 great additions and repairs appear to have been in progress, for the Town Council then passed a law that all persons selling corn before it was entered should forfeit one chalder to church work. In the year 1466 it was erected into a collegiate church by James III., the foundation consisting (according to Keith and others) of a provost, curate, sixteen prebendaries, sacristan, beadle, minister of the choir, and four choristers. Various sums of money, lands, tithes, &c., were appropriated for the support of the new establishment, and Maitland gives us a roll of the forty chaplaincies and altarages therein.

An Act of Council dated twelve years before this event commemorates the gratitude of the citizens to one who had brought from France a relic of St. Giles, and, modernised, it runs thus:- “Be it kenned to all men by these present letters, we, the provost, bailies, counselle and communitie of the burgh of Edynburgh, to be bound and obliged to William Prestoune of Gourton, and to the friends and sirname of them, that for so much that William Prestoune the father, whom God assoile, made diligent labour, by a high and mighty prince, the King of France (Charles VII.), and many other lords of France, for getting the arm-bone of St. Gile, the which bone he freely left to our mother kirk of St. Gile of Edinburgh, without making any condition. We, considering the great labour and costs that he made for getting thereof, promise that within six or seven years, in all the possible and goodly haste we may, that we shall build an aisle forth from our Ladye aisle, where the said William lies, the said aisle to be begun within a year, in which aisle there shall be brass for his lair in bost (i.e., for his grave in embossed) work, and above the brass a writ, specifying the bringing of that Rylik by him into Scotland, with his arms, and his arms to be put in hewn work, in three other parts of the aisle, with book and chalice and all other furniture belonging thereto. Also, that we shall assign the chaplain of whilome Sir William of Prestoune, to sing at the altar from that time forth… Item, that as often as the said Rylik is borne in the year, that the sirname and nearest of blood of the said William shall bear the said Rylik, before all others, &c. In witness of which things we have set to our common seal at Edinburgh the 11th day of the month of January, in the year of our Lord 1454.”1

The other arm of St. Giles is preserved in the church of his name in the Scottish quarter of Bruges, and on the 1st of September is yearly borne through the streets, preceded by all the drums in the garrison.

To this hour the arms of Preston still remain in the roof of the aisle, as executed by the engagement in the charter quoted; and the Prestons continued annually to exercise their right of bearing the arm of the patron saint of the city until the eventful year 1558, when the clergy issued forth for the last time in solemn procession on the day of his feast, the 1st September, bearing with them a statue of St. Giles – “a marmouset idol,” Knox calls it – borrowed from the Grey Friars, because the great image of the saint, which was as large as life, had been stolen from its place, and after being “drouned” in the North Loch as an encourager of idolatry, was burned as a heretic by some earnest Reformers. Only two years before this event the Dean of Guild had paid 6s. for painting the image, and 12d. for polishing the silver arm containing the relic. To give dignity to this last procession the queen regent attended it in person; but the moment she left it the spirit of the mob broke forth. Some pressed close to the image, as if to join in its support, while endeavouring to shake it down; but this proved impossible, so firmly was it secured to its supporters; and the struggle, rivalry, and triumph of the mob were delightful to Knox, who described the event with the inevitable glee in which he indulged on such occasions.

Only four years after all this the saint’s silver-work ring and jewels, and all the rich vestments wherewith his image and his arm-bone were wont to be decorated on high festivals, were sold by the authority of the magistrates, and the proceeds employed in the repair of the church.

In his “Monarchie,” finished in 1533, the pungent Sir David Lindesay of the Mount writes thus of the processionists:-

“Fy on you fosteris of idolatrie!
That till ane deid stok does sik reverence
In presens of the pepill publicklie;
Feir ye nocht God, to commit sik offence,
I counsall you do yit your diligence,
To gar suppresse sik greit abusion;
Do ye nocht sa, I dreid your recompense,
Sall be nocht else, bot clene confusion.”

The Lady aisle, where Preston’s grave lay and the altar stood, was part of what forms now the south aisle of the choir called the High Church, and on that altar many of the earliest recorded gifts were bestowed.

The constant additions made to St. Giles’s church, from the exchequer of the city, or by contributions of wealthy burgesses, cannot but be regarded as a singular evidence of the great elasticity which the nation displayed in its endless wars with England, showing how the general and local government vied with each other in the erection of ornate ecclesiastical edifices, the moment the invaders – few of whom ever equalled Edward III. in wanton ferocity – had re-crossed the Tweed. Among these we may specially mention the chapel of Robert Duke of Albany, not the most beautiful and interesting portion of this sadly defaced and misused old edifice. The ornamental sculptures of this portion are of a peculiarly striking character – heraldic devices forming the most prominent features on the capital of the great clustered pillar. On the south side are the arms of Robert Duke of Albany, son of King Robert II., and on the north are those of Archibald fourth Earl of Douglas, Duke of Touraine and Marshal of France, who was slain at the battle of Verneuil by the English. In 1401 David Duke of Rothesay, the luckless son of Robert II., was made a prisoner by his uncle, the designing Duke of Albany, with the full consent of the aged king his father, who had grown weary of the daily complaints that were made against the prince. In the “Fair Maid of Perth,” Scott has depicted with thrilling effect the actual death of David, by the slow process of starvation, notwithstanding the intervention of a maiden and nurse, who met a very different fate from that he assigns to them in the novel, while in his history he expresses a doubt whether they ever supplied the wants of the prince in any way. According to the “Black Book” of Scone, the Earl of Douglas was with Albany when the prince was trepanned to Falkirk, and having probably been exasperated against the latter, who was his own brother-in-law (having married his sister Marjorie Douglas), for his licentious course of life, must have joined in the projected assassination. “Such are the two Scottish nobles whose armorial bearings still grace the capital of the pillar in the old chapel. It is the only other case in which they are found acting in concert besides the dark deed already referred to; and it seems no unreasonable inference to draw from such a coincidence, that this chapel had been founded and endowed by them as an expiatory offering for that deed of blood, and its chaplain probably appointed to say masses for their victim’s soul” (Wilson).

The comparative wealth of the Scottish Church in those days and for long after was considerable, and an idea may be formed of it from the amount of the tenth of the benefices paid by the three countries as a tax to Rome, and in the Acts of Parliament of James III. in 1471, and of James IV. in 1493. The account is from a “Codex Membranaceus,” in the Harleian Collection in the British Museum:-

Thus we see that the Scottish Church paid more than double what was paid by Ireland, and a fifth of the amount that was paid by England [& Wales].

The transepts of St. Giles, as they existed before the so-called repairs of 1829, afforded distinct evidence of the gradual progress of the edifice. Beyond the Preston aisle the roof differed from the older portion, exhibiting undoubted evidence of being the work of a subsequent time; and from its associations with the eminent men of other days it is perhaps the most interesting portion of the whole fabric. Here it was that Walter Chapman, of Ewirland, a burgess of Edinburgh, famous as the introducer of the printing-press into Scotland, and who was nobly patronised by the heroic king who fell at Flodden, founded and endowed a chaplaincy at the altar of St. John the Evangelist, “in honour of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, and all the saints, for the healthful estate and prosperity of the most excellent lord the King of Scotland, and of his most serene consort Margaret Queen of Scotland, and of their children; and also for the health of my soul, and of Agnes Cockburne, my present wife, and of the soul of Mariot Kerkettill, my former spouse,” &c.

“This charter,” says a historian, “is dated 1st August, 1513, an era of peculiar interest. Scotland was then rejoicing in all the prosperity and happiness consequent on the wise and beneficent reign of James IV. Learning was visited with the highest favour of the Court, and literature was rapidly extending its influence under the zealous co-operation of Dunbar, Douglas, Kennedy, and others, with the royal master-printer. Only one month thereafter Scotland lay at the mercy of her southern rival. Her king was slain; the chief of her nobles and warriors had perished on Flodden Field, and adversity and ignorance again replaced the advantages that had followed in the train of the gallant James’s rule. Thenceforth, the altars of St. Giles received few and rare additions to their endowments.”

From the preface to “Gologras and Gawane,” we learn that in 1528 Walter Chapman the printer founded a chaplaincy at the altar of Jesus Christ, in St. Giles, and endowed it with a tenement in the Cowgate; and there is good reason for believing that the pious old printer lies buried in the south transept of the church, close by the spot where the Regent Murray, the Regent Morton, and his great rival, John Stewart Earl of Athole, are buried; and adjoining the aisle where the sorely mangled remains of the great Marquis of Montrose were so royally interred on the 7th of January, 1661.

The Regent’s tomb, now fully restored, stands on the west side of the south transept, and on many accounts is an object of peculiar interest. Erected to the memory of one who played so conspicuous a part in one of the most momentous periods of Scottish history, it is well calculated to rouse many a stirring association. All readers of history know how the Regent fell under the bullet of Bothwellhaugh, at Linlithgow, in avenging the wrongs inflicted on his wife, the heiress of Woodhouselee. As the “Cadyow Ballad” has it-

“‘Mid pennoned spears a stately grove,
Proud Murray’s plumage floated high;
Scarce could his trampling charger move,
So close the minions crowded nigh.


“From the raised vizor’s shade, his eye,
Dark rolling, glanced the ranks along;
And his steel truncheon waved on high,
Seemed marshalling the iron throng.


“But yet his saddened brow confessed,
A passing shade of doubt and awe;
Some fiend was whispering in his breast,
Beware of injured Bothwellhaugh!


“The death-shot parts – the charger springs –
Wild rises tumult’s startling roar!
And Murray’s plumy helmet rings –
Rings on the ground to rise no more!”

When his remains were committed to the tomb in which they still lie, the thousands who crowded the church were moved to tears by the burning eloquence of Knox. “Vpoun the xiiij [14] day of the moneth of Februar, 1570,” says the “Diurnal of Occurrents” “my lord Regentis corpis, being brocht in ane bote be sey, fra Stirling to Leith, quhair it was keipit in Johne Wairdlaw his hous, and thereafter cary it to the Palace of Holyrudhous, wes transportit fra the said Palace to the College Kirk of Sanctgeill, in this manner; that is to say, William Kirkaldie of Grange, Knycht, raid fra the said palace in dule weid, bearing ane pensall quherin was contenit ane Reid Lyon; after him followit Colvill of Cleishe, Maister (of the) Houshold to the said Regent, with ane quherin was contenit my lords regentis armes and bage.” The Earls of Mar, Athole, Glencairn, the Lords Ruthven, Methven, and Lindsay, the Master of Grham, and many other nobles, bore the body through the church to the grave, where it “was buryit in Sanct Anthonie’s yle.” On the front of the restored tomb is the ancient brass plate, bearing an inscription composed by George Buchanan:-

“Iacobo Stovarto, Moraviæ Comiti, Scotiæ Proregi;
Viro, Ætatis svæ, longe optimo: ab inimicis,
Omnis memoriæ deterrimis, ex insidiis extincto,
Cev patri commvni, partia mærens posuit.”

Opposite, on the north side of the west transept, was the tomb in which the Earl of Athole, Chancellor of Scotland, who died suddenly at Stirling, not without suspicion of poison, was interred with great solemnity on the 4th of July, 1579. A cross was used on this occasion, and as flambeaux were borne, according to Calderwood, the funeral probably occurred at night; these paraphernalia led to the usual interference of the General Assembly, and a riot ensued.

The portion of the church which contained these monuments was entered by a door adjoining the Parliament Close, and, as it was never shut, “the gude regent’s aisle,” as it was named, became a common place for appointments and loungers. Thus French Paris – Queen Mary’s servant – in his confession respecting the murder of King Henry, stated that during the communings which took place before that dark deed was resolved on, he one day “took his mantle and sword and went to promener (walk) in the high church.” Probably in consequence of the veneration entertained for the memory of the Regent, his tomb was a place frequently assigned in bills for the payment of money.

The transept, called at times the Assembly aisle, was the scene of Jenny Geddes’ famous onslaught with her faldstule, on the reader of the liturgy in 1637. The erection of Edinburgh into an episcopal see in 1633, under Bishop William Forbes (who died the same year), and the appointment of St. Giles to be the cathedral of the diocese, led – in its temporary restoration internally – to something like what it had been of old; but ere the orders of Charles I. for the demolition of its hideous galleries and subdivisions could be carried out, all Scotland was in arms, and the entire system of Church polity for which these changes were designed, had come to a violent and terrible end. This transept was peculiarly rich in lettered gravestones, all of which were swept away by the ruthless improvers of 1829, and some of those were used as pavement round the Fountain Well.

In 1596 St. Giles’s was the scene of a tumultuous dispute between James VI. And the leaders of the Church party. The king was sitting in that part of it which the Reformers named the Tolbooth Kirk, together with the Octavians, as they were styled, a body of eight statesmen into whose hands he had committed all his financial affairs and patronage. The disturbance from which the king felt himself to be in peril, arose from an address by Balcanqual, a popular preacher, who called on the Protestant barons and his other chance auditors to meet the ministers in “the little kirk,” where they, amidst great uproar, came to a resolution to urge upon James the necessity for changing his policy and dismissing his present councillors. The progress of the deputation towards the place where the king was to be found brought with it the noisy mob who had created the tumult, and when the bold expressions of the deputation were seconded by the rush of a rude crowd – armed, of course – into the royal presence, the king became alarmed, and retired into the Tolbooth, amid shouts of “Fly!” “Save yourself!” “Armour! Armour!” When the deputation returned to the portion of St. Giles’s absurdly named little kirk, they found another multitude listening to the harangue of a clergyman named Michael Cranston, on the text of “Haman and Mordecai.” The auditors, on hearing that the king had retired without any explanation, now rushed forth, and with shouts of “Bring out the wicked Haman!” endeavoured to batter down the doors of the Tolbooth, from which James was glad to make his escape to Holyrood, swearing he would uproot Edinburgh, and salt its site!

This disturbance, which Tytler details in his History, was one which had no definite or decided purpose – one of the few in Scottish annals where there was a frenzied excitement without any distinct aim.

When James succeeded to the crown of England, in 1603, he attended service in St. Giles’s, and heard a sermon by the Rev. Mr. Hall, upon the great mercy of heaven in having thus accomplished his peaceful accession to a kingdom so long hostile to his own, without stroke of sword or shedding one drop of blood. He exhorted the monarch to show his gratitude by attention to the cause of religion, and his care of the new subjects committed to his care.

The king now rose, and addressed the people from whom he was about to part in a very warm and affectionate strain. He bade them a long adieu with much tenderness, promised to keep them and their best interests in fond memory during his absence, “and often to visit them and communicate to them marks of his bounty when in foreign parts, as ample as any which he had been used to bestow when present with them. A mixture of approbation and weeping,” says Scott in his History, “followed this speech; and the good-natured king wept plentifully himself at taking leave of his native subjects.”

The north transept of the church long bore the queer name of Haddo’s Hole, because a famous cavalier, Sir John Gordon of Haddo – who defended his castle of Kelly against the Covenanters, and loyally served King Charles I. – was imprisoned there for some time before his execution at the adjacent cross in 1644.

On the north side of the choir the monument of the Napier family forms a conspicuous and interesting feature to passers-by. This tomb – long called by tradition that of the great inventor of logarithms – is supposed to indicate the site of St. Salvator’s altar, to the chaplain of which Archibald Napier of Merchiston, in 1499, “mortified” an annual rent of 20 merks out of a tenement near the church of the Holy Trinity. The tomb is surmounted by the arms of the Napiers of Merchiston, and of Wright’s House, and bears the following inscription, showing plainly that it is a family burial-place:-

S.E.P. Fam. de Neperorum interius hic situm est.”

The species of spire or lantern formed by groined ribs of stone, which forms the most remarkable feature in the venerable church, seems to be peculiar to Scotland, as it does not occur in ancient times farther south than Newcastle; but its date is as recent as 1648, when it was rebuilt, and closely modelled on the ancient one, which had become ruinous and decayed.

Of the four bells which hung in the tower in the olden time, one which bore the name of St. Mary was taken down at the Reformation, and (with the four great brazen pillars of the high altar) was ordered to be cast into cannon for the town walls, instead of which they were sold for £220. Maitland further records that two of the remaining bells were re-cast at Campvere in 1621; one of these was again re-cast at London in 1846.

In 1585 the Town Council purchased the clock belonging to the abbey church of Lindores in Fifeshire, and placed it in the tower of St. Giles’s, “previous to which time,” says Wilson, “the citizens probably regulated time chiefly by the bells for matins and vespers, and the other daily services of the Roman Catholic Church.”

In 1681 we first find mention of the musical bells in the spire. Fountainhall records, with reference to the legacy left to the city by Thomas Moodie, the Council propose “to buy with it a peal of bells, to hang in St. Giles’s steeple, to ring musically, and to build a Tolbooth above the West Port of Edinburgh, and out Thomas Moodie’s name and arms thereon.”

When the precincts of St. Giles’s church were secularised, the edifice became degraded, about 1628, by numerous wooden booths being stuck up all around it, chiefly between the buttresses, some of which were actually cut away for this ignoble purpose, while the lower tracery of the windows was destroyed by their lean-to roofs, just as we may see still in the instance of many churches in Belgium. These wretched edifices were called the Krames, yet, as if to show that some reverence was still paid to the sanctity of the place, the Town Council decreed, “that no tradesman should be admitted to these shops except bookbinders, mortmakers (i.e. watchmakers), jewellers, and goldsmiths.” “Bookbinders,” says Robert Chambers, “must be in this instance meant to signify booksellers, the latter term being then unknown in Scotland;” but within the memory of many still living, these booths, which were swept away in 1829, were occupied by dealers in toys, sweetstuff, old clothes, and shoes. In the centre of this narrow alley the Earl of Errol, as Lord High Constable of Scotland, used to sit on a chair during the riding of the Parliament, receiving the members as they alighted.

At the entrance to these krames there formerly existed a flight of steps, known by the name of “Our Lady’s Steps,” from a statue of the Virgin which once occupied a Gothic niche in the north-east angle of the church. Another account says they were named from the infamous Lady March, wife of the Earl of Arran, the profligate chancellor of James VI., from whom the nine o’clock bell was also named “The Lady Bell,” as it was rung an hour later to suit herself. An old gentlewoman mentioned in the “Traditions of Edinburgh,” who died in 1802, was wont to own that she had, in her youth, seen both the statue and the steps; but it is extremely unlikely that the former would escape the iconoclasts of 1559, who left the church almost a ruin.

But time has accomplished a change that John Knox and “Jenny Geddes” could little foresee!

Sanction was given in the early part of 1878 by the municipal authorities for extensive restorations, to be conducted in a spirit and taste unknown to the barbarous “improvers” of 1829. At the head of the restoration committee was placed Dr. William Chambers, the well-known publisher and author. According to the plans laid before it, the last of the temporary partitions were to be removed, the rich-shaped pillars embedded therein to be uncovered and restored; the galleries and pews swept away, when the church will assume its old cruciform aspect. “By these operations the Montrose aisle will be uncovered, and form an interesting historical object. Provision is made for the Knights of the Thistle, if they should desire it, erecting their stalls, as is done by the Knights of the Garter in Westminster, and by the Knights of St. Patrick in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. There has been no chapel for the Knights of the Thistle since the one in Holyrood, now in ruins and ceased to be used; and the committee hope that the knights will favourably consider the proposal now being made, according to which they may have their stalls erected in the ancient cathedral of the capital of Scotland.”

And – shade of John Knox! – in 1878 an organ was ordered for the church. “The instrument,” says the Scotsman, “consists of two full manuals and a pedal organ of full compass. The great organ contains eleven stops, and one of sixteen feet in metal. There are eleven stops in the swell organ, and one of sixteen feet in wood. The pedal organ contains five stops, including two of sixteen feet in wood, and one of sixteen feet in metal. In the great organ there is to be a silver clarionet of eight feet; a patent pneumatic action is fitted to the keys, and the organ will be blown by a double cylinder hydraulic engine.”

In its most palmy days old St. Giles’s could never boast of such “a kist o’ whistles” as this!

  Under a canopy supported by spiral columns a full-length figure of St. Giles with the nimbus, holding the crozier in his right hand, and in his left a book and a branch. A kid, the usual attendant on St. Giles, is playfully leaping up to his hand. On the pedestal is a shield bearing the castle triple-towered, S. COMMUNE CAPTI BTI EGIDII DE EDINBURGH. (Appended to a charter by the Provost [Walter Forbes] and Chapter of St. Giles of the manse and glebe in favour of the magistrates and community of Edinburgh, A.D. 1496.)
1  Frag.: “Scotomonastica.”
*  Displaying double-headed winged dragons clustering round a central rose with the hook of the altar lamp.
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