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SCOTLAND AT PRAYER

Scotland has a rich and turbulent religious heritage; Christianity arrived in the fifth century AD, via St Ninian, a Briton who converted the southern Picts from Paganism. He was based at Whithorn, where important excavations are currently being undertaken. St Columba did his share of the work a century or so later from Iona.

St Kentigern, St Cuthbert and St Aidan were among the later missionaries who contributed to the spread of Christianity.

Many centuries later, great monastic houses were formed, and many of the abbeys described here are monuments to the spread of religion.

The historical buildings and monuments division of the Scottish development department is to be congratulated on the good work it does to preserve the past-against the odds.

The four great border abbeys, Melrose, Kelso, Dryburgh and Jedburgh, suffered greatly at the hands of the English, while the less accessible Inchcolm Abbey and St Magnus Cathedral survived in holy splendour.


ARBROATH ABBEY

LOCATION  - ARBROATH, TAYSIDE

AGE  - 12TH CENTURY
STATUS - SDD
OPEN - SUMMER 0930-1900, SUN 1400-1900
WINTER 0930-1600, SUN 1400-1600
ADMISSION  - NOMINAL CHARGE, REDUCED RATES FOR CHILDREN
& SENIOR CITIZENS
PHONE  - 01241 78756

Arbroath AbbeyThis Tironensian abbey founded by William the Lion in 1178 is famous as the place where the Declaration of Arbroath was made on 6 April 1320-declaring Robert the Bruce as king and asserting Scotland's independence from the English. The famous declaration by a group of Scottish barons was sent to Pope John XXII. The abbey was dedicated to Thomas Beckett and boasts one of the most outstanding examples of an abbot's house. Parts of the church and the domestic buildings remain. Arbroath Abbey became the second richest religious house in Scotland, but it escaped the ravages of the English which plagued the great abbeys of the Borders. However, there were several outbreaks of fire here, and the abbey was attacked by reformers from Dundee.
Facilities include a visitor centre and easy access for wheelchairs. There is also a picnic area.


CRATHIE CHURCH

LOCATION  - CRATHIE, 8m W OF BALLATER, GRAMPIAN

AGE  - BUILT 1895
STATUS - CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
OPEN - APR-OCT 0930-1730,SUN 1400-1800, SUNDAY SERVICES 1130
ADMISSION -  FREE
PHONE - 013397 42208

Craithie ChurchThe uniqueness of Crathie church is due to the close association Deeside has with the Royal Family. Since 1848, when Queen Victoria first visited the area, every British Monarch has worshipped with the local congregation at Crathie on a Sunday. The present church was built in 1895 to replace the building of 1804, and its foundation stone was laid in 1893 by the Queen. In style it is gothic, although it has some Norman features. The tower houses four bells gifted by Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Beatrice. The Royal Family has endowed the church with many other gifts, including an Iona marble communion table donated by George V in memory of Edward VII himself had a gifted two white marble medallions in memory of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and of Princess Victoria, Queen of Prussia. Queen Victoria presented a Father Willis Organ, and our present Queen gifted a royal-crested bible. The south transept of the church is set apart for the Royal Family and household, while the north transept contains the pews of the lairds of Invercauld and Abergeldie.


DRYBURGH ABBEY

LOCATION - OFF A68, 6m SE OF MELROSE, BORDERS

AGE - 12TH CENTURY
STATUS  - SDD
OPEN  - SUMMER 0930-1900, SUN 1400-1900, WINTER 0930-1600, SUN 1400-1600
ADMISSION  - NOMINAL CHARGE
PHONE - 01835 22381

Dryburgh AbbeyDryburgh, one of the four great border abbeys, stands on a picturesque site alongside the river tweed near St Boswell's. It was the first Scottish home of the White cannons of the Premonstratensian order, and was founded in 1150 by Hugh Morville, Constable of David. The abbey was burned by the English in 1322, 1385, 1461 and 1523, but the ruins are remarkably complete. Much of the surviving building is dated as 12th and 13th century. Etched into a foundation stone in the ruined northern wall of the nave is a merelles board, merelles having been a board game, similar to the modern noughts and crosses, introduced to England by the Normans. The abbey is most famous as the burial place of Scotland's most noted novelist, Sir Walter Scott. Field Marshal Earl Haig is also buried here. A huge statue of Sir William Wallace stands above the abbey. Facilities include visitor centre. Wheelchair access to the site is difficult.


DUNFERMLINE ABBEY

LOCATION  - PITTENCRIEFF PARK, DUNFERMLINE, FIFE

AGE  - 11TH CENTURY
STATUS  - SDD
OPEN - SUMMER 0930-1900, SUN 1400-1900, WINTER 0930-1600, SUN 1400-1600
ADMISSION - FREE
PHONE - 01383 739026

Dunfermline AbbeyDunfermline Abbey is the great Benedictine abbey founded by Queen Margaret, the wife of Malcolm Canmore, during the 11th century. The foundations of her church lie beneath the present remarkable Romanesque nave, which was consecrated in the 12th century. David I, who took an active interest in the spread of the abbeys, was St Margaret's son, and he brought an abbot from Canterbury in 1128 for the enlarged abbey. Robert the Bruce was buried in the choir, which is now the site of the parish church. A brass plaque in the choir marks his grave. At the east end of the church are the remains of St Margaret's 13th century shrine. Next to the abbey is the ruin of the royal palace rebuilt from the monastery guesthouse in the 16th century for James VI. Charles I, the last monarch born in Scotland, was born here. The ruins of the abbey refectory and pend still remain. Facilities include two shops and partial wheelchair access.


DUNKELD CATHEDRAL

LOCATION  - HIGH STREET, DUNKELD, NEAR PERTH, TAYSIDE

AGE - 12TH CENTURY
STATUS -  SDD
OPEN - SUMMER 0930-1900, SUN 1400-1900, WINTER 0930-1600, SUN 1400-1600
ADMISSION - FREE
PHONE  - 01350 2601

Dunkeld CathedralPicturesquely situated on the banks of the River Tay, Dunkeld Cathedral is a haven of peace. It was founded in the 12th century on the site of an ancient church. The refurbished choir is now used as the parish church, but the 15th century nave and northwest tower are in the care of the Secretary of State for Scotland. The nave, restored in 1406, shows a Dutch influence-particularly the heavy cylindrical columns. In 1689 Covenanting troops were trapped in the cathedral grounds, pinned down by Jacobites who were elated by their victory at Killencrankie. The covenantors rushed out with burning faggots attached to their halberds and set fire to thatched houses which sheltered Jacobite snipers. The National Trust for Scotland owns 20 houses near the cathedral, dating back to the rebuilding of the town after the battle. Access to the cathedral for wheelchairs is difficult, and there is no visitor centre.


INCHCOLM ABBEY

LOCATION - INCHCOLM ISLAND, FIRTH FORTH, FIFE

AGE - 13TH CENTURY
STATUS - SDD
OPEN - SUMMER 0930-1900, SUN 1400-1900, WINTER 0930-1600, SUN 1400-1600
CLOSED - THURS PM AND FRI WINTER
ADMISSION - NOMINAL CHARGE, REDUCED RATES FOR CHILDREN
AND SENIOR CITIZENS
PHONE - 01383 823332

Inchcolm AbbeyInchcolm Abbey was founded in 1123 as an Augustinian church, but grew into an abbey in 1235. The remains are still the best preserved group of monastic buildings in Scotland. Inchcolm islet attracted many hermits, and the Danes paid through the nose to have their dead buried here a thousand years or so ago. Alexander I was storm-bound at Inchcolm in 1123, the year before he died, and the hermits gave him hospitality. It was he who set the plan for the abbey in motion. This century Inchcolm was a strategic part of Scotland's defence network. It was garrisoned during the First World War, when the forth estuary was one of the most heavily defended in the United Kingdom; and it was fortified with 500 men during the second World War as a precaution against Hitler's invasion plans. Ferries set sail regularly to Inchcolm from south Queensferry and Aberdour. Wheelchair access to the abbey is difficult. There are toilets and a picnic area.


INVERARY BELL-TOWER

LOCATION - INVERARY, ARGYLL, STRATHCLYDE

AGE - 20TH CENTURY
STATUS - SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF ALL SAINTS
OPEN  - SUMMER 1000-1300,1400-1700, SUN 1500-1800
ADMISSION - NOMINAL CHARGE, REDUCED RATES FOR CHILDREN
& SENIOR CITIZENS, FREE EXHIBITION
PHONE - 01499 2433

Inverary Bell TowerThe Bells! The Bells! Campanologists take note: this 126-feet high tower is world famous. It contains Scotland's finest Bells, which have the second heaviest ring of ten bells in the world. Ringers may sometimes be seen in action. At other times visitors have to be content with a recording of the unique sound. The granite-bell tower is a memorial to the Campbells who fell in the First World War and was planned by the 10th Duke of Argyll in 1914. It had to wait until 1931 to open, and the Duke wrote a few years later: 'the belfry was gradually built to contain the fine peal of ten bells which are the finest north of the tweed. Each bell bears the name of one of the old Celtic saints.' Worth a visit for the views from the tower, and for the glorious sound of the bells ringing across loch and glen. There is partial wheelchair access.


IONA ABBEY

LOCATION  - ISLAND OFF THE COAST OF MULL, STRATHCLYDE

AGE  - 11TH -13TH CENTURY
STATUS - NTS (1897 ACRES OF LAND), ABBEY: PRIVATE TRUST
OPEN - ALL REASONABLE TIMES
ADMISSION - Adult ticket is £4, senior £3 and children £1.60
PHONE -  01681 700512

Iona AbbeyIona's prestige began in AD 563 when the Celtic bishop Columba and his 12 companions sailed from Ireland to found a monasteryhere. He used it as a base form which to convert the Picts to Christianity. The monastery was attacked and burned six times by Vikings and was eventually abandoned in favour of Kells in Ireland. Iona was re-occupied in 1203 as a Benedictine monastery, but it fell into ruin during the Reformation when symbols of the Roman Catholic faith came under attack. The oldest surviving building at St Oran's chapel, and the ornately carved St Martin's cross stands outside the cathedral. Today Iona is a sacred place visited by over 200,000 pilgrims per year. The Iona community, founded by George Macleod of Fuinary in 1938, has played a prominent part in the restoration of the abbey. Facilities include a book and gift shop, and a coffee-house. The island is reached by ferry from Fionnphort or by steamer from Oban. No visitors' cars are allowed.


JEDBURGH ABBEY

LOCATION - HIGH STREET, JEDBURGH, BORDERS

AGE - 12TH CENTURY
STATUS  - SDD
OPEN  - SUMMER 0930-1900, SUN 1400-1900, WINTER 0930-1600, SUN 1400-1600
CLOSED - OCT-MAR THURS PM AND FRI
ADMISSION  - NOMINAL CHARGE
PHONE - 01835 63925

Jedburgh AbbeyThe great Augustinian abbey founded by David I and the Bishop of Glasgow around 1138 was burned nine times by the marauding English and rebuilt eight times. One of the first churches to be built in the more refined Gothic style, in design it resembles a nunnery in Hampshire when King David had lived. It has been described as the most perfect and beautiful of the Saxon and early Gothic Scotland. Jedburgh Abbey ruins are splendid and extensive. They include a fine rose window on the west from known as St Catherine's Wheel. A new visitor centre at Jedburgh has displays and models illustrating life in a mediaeval monastery and a glazed gallery providing a magnificent view of the site. A viewing route has been laid out through the abbey and the monks' herb garden has been re-planted.
There is limited access, but there are toilets for disabled people, and a shop.


KELSO ABBEY

LOCATION  - BRIDGE STREET, KELSO, BORDERS

AGE  - 12TH CENTURY
STATUS - SDD
OPEN - SUMMER 0930-1900, SUN 1400-1900, WINTER 0930-1600, SUN 1400-1600
ADMISSION - FREE
PHONE -NO

Kelso AbbeyFounded by David I in 1128 for the Tironesian order of monks, Kelso Abbey was the largest and wealthiest of the great BorderAbbeys. It was often attacked by the English, and the buildings were even evacuated for a while during the wars of independence. In 1460 James III was crowned in the abbey and during the 16th century it was all destroyed by the English. In 1545, the Earl of Hereford attacked the abbey, killed everybody in the garrison, including twelve monks and burned it to the ground. The building was further mutilated during the Reformation, and is now in ruins. It is none the less, an excellent piece of Romanesque architecture. The abbey's design is unique in Scotland with both western and eastern transepts and a tower over both crossings. The Vatican archives still have a written description of the abbey in its heyday when it had 40 monks. There are no visitor services, and wheelchair access is difficult.


MELROSE ABBEY

LOCATION - MAIN SQUARE, MELROSE, BORDERS

AGE - 12TH-15TH CENTURIES
STATUS - SDD
OPEN - SUMMER 0930-1900, SUN 1400-1900, WINTER 0930-1600, SUN 1400-1600
ADMISSION - NOMINAL CHARGE
PHONE  - 01896 822 562

Melrose AbbeyMelrose Abbey, Scotland's first Cistercian abbey, was founded by David I around 1136. It was repeatedly wrecked during the Wars of Independence, but most of its remains are of an elegance unique in Scotland-far finer than usual Cistercian model. The ruin is probably Scotland's most famous and most of the remains date back to the 15th century. Richard II razed the abbey to the ground in 1385, and rebuilding was undertaken to a very ornate English design. Later a Parisian mason called John Morrow introduced a more flamboyant stonework, including flying buttresses decorated with statuettes. Part of the nave was used as a parish church as late as the 19th century. Unusually for Scotland, the church is totally vaulted and the cloisters face north. Melrose abbey is famous as the burial place of Robert the Bruce's heart, of Alexander II and of Michael Scott, the 13th century philosopher who became known as the 'Wizard of the North'. There is a visitor centre with easy access for disabled people.


RUTHWELL CROSS

LOCATION  - B724 8m SE OF DUMFRIES, DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY

AGE  - 7TH CENTURY
STATUS - SDD
OPEN - ALL REASONABLE TIMES
ADMISSION - FREE
PHONE - NO

Ruthwell CrossThe Ruthwell Cross is one of the most important attractions on the Solway Coast Heritage Trail. A runic cross, is dates back to about AD 680 and bears the oldest extant fragment of written English. The cross is a priceless work of art and is considered to be one of the major monuments of Dark Age Europe. The cross was nearly destroyed as an 'idolatrous monument' during the Reformation. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland ordered its destruction, but a succession of forward thinking ministers of the parish craftily conserved it for posterity. One of them was the Rev'd Henry Duncan, who founded the world's first bona fide savings bank at Ruthwell.The cross is 18 feet high and stands in the parish church. It was designed to tell the story of life and passion of Christ-a sermon on stone. It bears figure sculptures and Latin inscriptions. The key to the church can be obtained at Kirkyett cottage. There is wheelchair access to church with assistance.


ST ANDREW'S CATHEDRAL

LOCATION - ST ANDREW'S FIFE

AGE - 12TH CENTURY
STATUS - SDD
OPEN - ALL HOURS: MUSEUM AND TOWER, STANDARD DAILY HOURS
ADMISSION  - NOMINAL CHARGE
PHONE - 01334 72563

St Andrews CathedralThis magnificent cathedral founded in 1160 is one of Europe's major historical cities used to be the largest church in Scotland. Thousands of pilgrims travelled here to pray at the 31 altars. Sadly it is now in ruins. The remains in the church dedicated to Scotland's patron saint include portions of the east and west gables, the south wall of the nave and parts of the choir and south transept. Some of the domestic ranges of the priory have also survived. The museum houses a wealth of fascinating relics including a unique sarcophagus dated around AD 900. The cathedral was founded in 1160 as a replacement to the 12th century Augustinian church of St Rule, and was consecrated in 1318. The precinct walls are the finest surviving examples in Scotland, and were built in 1520. Nearby are the remains of the square St Rule's Tower, which has a Northumbrian look about it. There is a wheelchair access to the ground floor and gardens.


ST MAGNUS CATHEDRAL

LOCATION  - KIRKWALL, ORKNEY

AGE  - 12TH CENTURY
STATUS  - LOCAL AUTHORITY
OPEN - MON-SAT 0900-1300, 1400-1700, SUN SERVICES
ADMISSION - FREE
PHONE -  0856 3535

St Magnus CatherdralSt Magnus Cathedral is the only mediaeval Scottish cathedral to have survived intact, and has been described as 'the crown of the Northern Isles'
(ED. I have been informed by Bruce Cochran that there is another catherdral that has survived intact from medieval times and that is Glasgow Cathedral. Read more here) .
A noble monument to Scotland's heritage, it is a classic sight. The cathedral, made of sandstone, was found by the Norseman Jarl Rognavald in 1137 in memory of his uncle St Magnus, who had been murdered by a rival 20 years beforehand. The polychrome stonework-yellow and red- is said to be the best of its age in Britain. St Magnus has a number of small commemorative plaques too, including one in memory of the men who perished on HMS Royal Oak when it was sunk during the Second World War. Another bears the name of Edwin Muir, the poet. The method of ringing the cathedral bells, known as 'clocking', has norse links and is said to be unique in the United Kingdom. Orkney's midsummer festival is also named after St Magnus.


WHITHORN PRIORY

LOCATION - WHITHORN, 10m S OF WIGTOWN, DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY

AGE - 12TH CENTURY
STATUS - SDD
OPEN - SUMMER, DAILY 1030-1700
ADMISSION - DIG & VISITOR CENTRE: NOMINAL CHARGE, REDUCED
RATES FOR CHILDREN, UNEMPLOYED & SENIOR CITIZENS
PRIORY: NOMINAL CHARGE, REDUCED RATE FOR CHILDREN
PHONE - 0198 85 508

Whithorn PriorySt Ninian built Scotland's first recorded Christian church at Whithorn during the fifth century-long before Columba reached the shores of Iona. Archaeologists have been investigating the site since 1986 and have discovered some significant remains, including those of a viking settlement. If visitor's don't mind skeletons, the will enjoy the Whithorn dig, which received a Glasgow Herald award in 1987 for the site offering the most to the public. Since then a visitor centre has opened. During the middle ages St Ninian's shrine became one of Western Europe's most renowned seats of learning, and many monarchs made the pilgrimage including Mary, Queen of Scots, Robert the Bruce, Queen Margaret of Denmark and James V. The dig shop sells books, postcards and craft work. The visitor centre has audio-visual aids, and guided tours are available.


ST. GILES CATHEDRAL…
STEP INTO THE HEART OF SCOTLAND

St Giles LeafletWhen you walk through the door of St. Giles Cathedral, you are entering one of the most historic and romantic buildings in Scotland. Founded in the 1100s, this church has witnessed executions, riots and celebrations. Its famous crown spire has dominated Edinburgh's skyline for over 500 years.

A TREASURY OF ART AND HERITAGE

Explore the many tiny aisles and chapels, each with its own memorable story. Enjoy, the beauty of the church's spectacular collection of stained glass windows in a wide range of traditional and modern styles.

JOHN KNOX & THE REFORMATION

Discover how St. Giles' was the church of John Knox during the Reformation and how it played an important part in the exciting events of that time. Learn of the violent and tragic stories of Montrose and Argyll, both executed in bloody fashion outside St. Giles'. Hear also about many of the famous and fascinating Scots commemorated in the church, including Robert Burns and Louis Stevenson.

VISITORS

St. Giles' is a living church with an active congregation and often hosts special services for the city. The church is visited by Royalty on state occasions throughout the year.
Visitors are welcome to explore this beautiful church and to share in worship here.

THE ORGAN

The magnificent organ is one of the newest and finest in Europe. It forms part of a tradition of fine music in St. Giles' that dates back to the middle ages. Look out for the details of concerts and organ recitals (many with free admission) that are held in the church throughout the year.

THE THISTLE CHAPEL-SPLENDOUR AND CEREMONIAL

The Thistle chapel is home to the order of the Thistle and honours some of the greatest Scots of the last 300 years. This exquisite little room will take your breath away. Its magnificent carvings and stonework evoke the ancient origins of the Order and will amaze you with a wealth of details associated with Scotland-can you see the angel that plays the bagpipes?

THE CATHEDRAL APPEAL

St. Giles' Cathedral is currently engaged on a programme of renewal whose aim is the restoration and re-equipment of the building as a place of inspiration and welcome, using the best of traditional and contemporary skills and insights. To pay for this it is hoped to raise much-needed funds for the maintenance and development of the building. Donations are gratefully appreciated. There are collection boxes in the church.

OPENING TIMES

St. Giles Cathedral is open daily throughout the year and admission is free. Visitors are invited to make a donation.
Volunteer guides are on duty each day to welcome visitors, answer questions and give tours on request.

WORSHIP IN ST. GILES'

Sunday services
8.00 am Morning Service (Holy Communion)
10.00 am Morning service (Holy Communion)
11.30 am Morning Service
6.00 pm Recital of music or talk
8.00 pm Evening Service
Weekday services
Monday to Friday 8.00 am Holy Communion
Monday to Saturday 12 noon The Daily Service
Saturday 6.00 pm Holy Communion

GROUP VISITS

St. Giles' Cathedral welcomes group visits and school tours. Parties are recommended to book in advance in order to ensure admission. For further information about any aspect of visiting St. Giles' please contact
The Visitor Services Manager
St. Giles' Cathedral, Royal Mile,
Edinburgh EH1 1RE
Tel: 0131-225-9442 Fax: 0131-220-4763

GIFT SHOP

Monday to Saturday 10 am-4 pm.
St. Giles' Cathedral Gift Shop offers a large variety of St. Giles' Cathedral souvenirs and many beautiful gifts made in Scotland. Al proceeds from the shop support St. Giles' Cathedral.

LOWER AISLE RESTAURANT

Monday to Friday 9 am-4.30 pm.
The lower aisle restaurant is situated below the church in a series of rooms, some medieval in origin. Relax in this unique and inviting atmosphere and enjoy lunches, drinks and snacks.

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