Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Balmoral Castle - 5

Her Majesty will be staying at Balmoral Castle throughout August and September this year. That is why she will be granting Pope Benedict XVI an audience in Scotland (rather than England) during his forthcoming State Visit to Great Britain. This audience is to be held at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

Naturally, not all the staff who come up from London with Her Majesty for the two month summer vacation are able to stay in the Castle itself. Many are put up in the Garden Cottage - which is shown in the photo above. Those who come for the first time are probably in for a shock, because the accommodation is quite spartan. Still, the grounds are truly magnificent.

Teach me, my God and King,
in all things thee to see,
and what I do in anything
to do it as for thee.

A man that looks on glass,
on it may stay his eye;
or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
and then the heaven espy.

All may of thee partake;
nothing can be so mean,
which with this tincture, "for thy sake,"
will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
makes drudgery divine:
who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
makes that and the action fine.

This is the famous stone
that turneth all to gold;
for that which God doth touch and own
cannot for less be told.

George Herbert, 1633

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Sts Peter and Paul

Apologies to St Paul for giving St Peter all the glory - but I am just a little biased!

Forsaken once, and thrice denied,
The risen Lord gave pardon free,
Stood once again at Peter’s side,
And asked him, “Lov’st thou Me?”

How many times with faithless word
Have we denied His holy Name,
How oft forsaken our dear Lord,
And shrunk when trial came?

Saint Peter, when the cock crew clear,
Went out, and wept his broken faith;
Strong as a rock through strife and fear,
He served his Lord till death.

How oft his cowardice of heart
We have without his love sincere,
The sin without the sorrow’s smart,
The shame without the tear!

O oft forsaken, oft denied,
Forgive our shame, wash out our sin;
Look on us from Thy Father’s side
And let that sweet look win.

Hear when we call Thee from the deep,
Still walk beside us on the shore,
Give hands to work, and eyes to weep,
And hearts to love Thee more.

Mrs Cecil Alexander - 1875

Happy Feast!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Balmoral Castle - 4

Here we see The Queen's sitting room (on the ground floor) and her bedroom immediately above it. This affords Her Majesty plenty of privacy and a splendid view of the surrounding countryside.

Sadly, I have never been invited inside the sitting room, but the following video gives us a sneaky look inside!

I would say it is more homely than palatial.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In todays Gospel we hear of Jesus resolutely taking the road to Jerusalem - to suffer, die, and rise again for us. Unlike this fox, Jesus is on a journey and has no regular place to lay his head and rest.

Thou didst leave thy throne and thy kingly crown,
When thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem's home was there found no room
For thy holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for thee.

Heaven's arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming thy royal degree;
But in lowly birth didst thou come to earth,
And in great humility.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for thee.

The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
In the shade of the cedar tree;
But thy couch was the sod, O thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for thee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word
That should set thy children free;
But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,
They bore thee to Calvary.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for thee.

When heaven's arches shall ring, and her choirs shall sing,
At thy coming to victory,
Let thy voice call me home, saying "Yet there is room,
There is room at my side for thee."
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for thee.

Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliott, 1864

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

1st Holy Communion - 2

Another lovely photo of the eight children, together with Sister Barbara - who prepared them so well for their First Holy Communion.

The celebration cake was great, but I particularly enjoyed the dumpling - a traditional Highland treat. I enthused so much about it that I was given the remnants to bring home - enough to feed 5,000!

Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us,

You are one with us, Mary’s Son.

Cleansing our souls from all their sin,

Pouring your love and goodness in;

Jesus, our love for you we sing, living Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ, now and every day

Teach us how to pray, Son of God.

You have commanded us to do

This, in remembrance, Lord, of you;

Into our lives your power breaks through, living Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us,

Born as one of us, Mary’s son.

Led out to die on Calvary,
 Risen from death to set us free;

Living Lord Jesus, help us see you are Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ, I would come to you,

Live my life for you, Son of God;

All your commands I know are true;

Your many gifts will make me new;

Into my life your power breaks through, living Lord.

Patrick Appleford (1961)

Friday, 25 June 2010

1st Holy Communion - 1

What a lovely photo - and not a bad one of the children either!

Last Sunday (20 June) eight children (four boys and four girls) received their First Holy Communion at St Columba's, Culloden. Here they are pictured with the Parish Priest (Fr James Bell) and His Eminence. They looked resplendent in their white dresses and Highland Dress - though I sympathise with the boy who said, 'I'm not dressing up like that!'

Jesus, gentlest Saviour,
God of might and power,
thou thyself art dwelling
in us at this hour.

Nature cannot hold thee,
heaven is all too strait
for thine endless glory
and thy royal state.

Out beyond the shining
of the furthest star
thou art ever stretching
infinitely far.

Yet the hearts of children
hold what worlds cannot,
and the God of wonders
loves the lowly spot.

Jesus, gentlest Saviour,
dwelling in us now,
fill us full of goodness
till our hearts o'erflow.

Multiply our graces,
chiefly love and fear,
and, dear Lord, the chiefest,
grace to persevere.

Frederick William Faber, 1854

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Birth of John the Baptist

Today we celebrate the Birthday of John the Baptist.

Hail, harbinger of morn:
thou that art this day born,
and heraldest the Word with clarion voice!
Ye faithful ones, in him
behold the dawning dim
of the bright day, and let your hearts rejoice.

John--by that chosen name
to call him, Gabriel came
by God's appointment from his home on high:
what deeds that babe should do
to manhood when he grew,
God sent his Angel forth to testify.

There is none greater, none,
than Zechariah's son;
than this no mightier prophet hath been born:
of prophets he may claim
more than a prophet's fame;
sublimer deeds than theirs his brow adorn.

"Lo, to prepare thy way,"
did God the Father say,
"Before thy face my messenger I send,
thy coming to forerun;
as on the orient sun
doth the bright daystar morn by morn attend."

Praise therefore God most high;
praise him who came to die
for us, his Son that liveth evermore;
and to the Spirit raise,
the Comforter, like praise,
while time endureth, and when time is o'er.

Words: The Venerable Bede (673-735);
trans. C.S. Calverley, 1906

Happy Feast - Happy Midsummer's Day!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Balmoral Castle - 3

One can so easily picture HM The Queen returning to the Castle for lunch after taking the corgis for a walk round the beautiful grounds.

Here is a lovely video of some of the lighter moments of The Queen - many of the scenes are from Balmoral, including the final one showing Scottish Dancing in the Ballroom of Balmoral Castle.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Balmoral Castle - 2

Here we see the magnificent "Big Tower' of the Castle. The Royal Standard is always flown when HM The Queen is in residence.

Above the main door of this tower is a carving of the Order of the Thistle or the Knights of St Andrew; The Royal Arms of Scotland. This was founded in 1540 by King James V and was created by him, for himself and 12 knights, reflecting Christ and the 12 apostles. A flag showing The Royal Arms of Scotland is flown when HM The Queen is not in residence.

Much fascinating information is contained in the following video.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Balmoral Castle - 1

At the end of May I had the great joy of spending a day at Balmoral Castle - the magnificent Scottish holiday retreat of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

I'm sure you will be thinking 'what would it be like arriving at this Castle?' Well, after passing the Gate Lodge there is a long tree lined avenue to walk down. The following video gives you a good idea.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

12th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In todays Gospel, we hear Jesus telling us to take up our cross every day - and follow him.

Take up thy cross, the Saviour said,
If thou wouldst My disciple be;
Deny thyself, the world forsake,
And humbly follow after Me.

Take up thy cross, let not its weight
Fill thy weak spirit with alarm;
His strength shall bear thy spirit up,
And brace thy heart and nerve thine arm.

Take up thy cross, nor heed the shame,
Nor let thy foolish pride rebel;
Thy Lord for thee the cross endured,
And saved thy soul from death and hell.

Take up thy cross then in His strength,
And calmly every danger brave,
’Twill guide thee to a better home,
And lead to victory o’er the grave.

Take up thy cross, and follow Christ,
Nor think til death to lay it down;
For only he who bears the cross
May hope to wear the glorious crown.

To Thee, great Lord, the One in Three,
All praise for evermore ascend:
O grant us in our home to see
The heavenly life that knows no end.

C W Everest (1814-1877)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

St Andrews - 20

St Andrews was first recognised as an ecclesiastical burgh in the twelfth century, and initially developed in the shadow of its powerful patron, the bishop.

Its situation on the east coast favoured expansion as a trading port. The burgh increased its wealth and status through merchants exporting mostly wools and hides and importing a range of foreign goods.

This growth fostered a new sense of independence among the inhabitants which reached its height in the second half of the sixteenth century, as expressed in the impressive West Port Gate rebuilt in 1589.

St Andrews was made a Burgh of Regality in 1614, and a Royal Burgh six years later.

City of God, how broad and far
outspread thy walls sublime!
The true thy chartered freemen are
of every age and clime.

One holy Church, one army strong;
one steadfast, high intent;
one working band, one harvest song,
one King omnipotent.

How purely hath thy speech come down
from man's primeval youth!
How grandly hath thine empire grown
of freedom, love and truth!

How gleam thy watch fires through the night
with never fainting ray!
How rise thy towers, serene and bright,
to meet the dawning day!

In vain the surge's angry shock,
in vain the drifting sands;
unharmed upon the eternal Rock
the eternal City stands.

Samuel Johnson, 1864

Talking of Royalty - next Monday this blog will be visiting Balmoral Castle!

Friday, 18 June 2010

St Andrews - 19

Here we see John Knox preaching in the Kirk. If you visit St Andrews Castle today, you can hear one of his sermons.

When I was there, he was preaching on Jesus at the Temple as recorded in the 21st Chapter of Matthew's Gospel.

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers'."

John used this passage to condemn the Roman Catholic practice of selling indulgences. Although this practice no longer exists, perhaps we need to look again at the custom of charging people for lighting a candle at a votive stand. I am pleased to say that we do not charge people at St Columba's Culloden, and that any contribution made is a voluntary one - well out of sight of the relevant statue.

I get very annoyed these days when I am charged an admission fee to enter some of our Cathedrals. Whilst some Cathedrals do it in a fairly gentle way, others have electronic admission stiles!

We love the place, O God,
Wherein Thine honour dwells;
The joy of Thine abode
All earthly joy excels.

It is the house of prayer
Wherein Thy servants meet;
And Thou, O Lord, art there
Thy chosen flock to greet.

We love the sacred font;
For there the holy Dove
To pour is ever wont
His blessings from above.

We love Thine altar, Lord;
Oh, what on earth so dear?
For there, in faith adored
We find Thy presence near.

We love the Word of life,
The Word that tells of peace,
Of comfort in the strife,
And joys that never cease.

We love to sing below
For mercies freely giv’n;
But, oh, we long to know
The triumph song of Heav’n.

Lord Jesus, give us grace
On earth to love Thee more,
In Heav’n to see Thy face,
And with Thy saints adore.

W Bullock (1798-1874) and Sir H W Baker

Please note: John Knox would not approve of the word 'altar' in this hymn. To him there is only one altar - the Cross of Calvary. He would wish the line to run - We love Thine table, Lord...

Thursday, 17 June 2010

St Andrews - 18

John Knox ordered his men to destroy all the statues in the church buildings, which were transformed into Kirks. Here we see a statue of St Andrew being torn down from its niche and smashed.

On his return to Scotland, he led the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Protestant nobility. The movement may be seen as a revolution, since it led to the ousting of Mary of Guise, who governed the country in the name of her young daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. Knox helped write the new confession of faith and the ecclesiastical order for the newly created reformed church, the Kirk. He continued to serve as the religious leader of the Protestants throughout Mary's reign. In several interviews with the queen, Knox admonished her for supporting Catholic practices. Eventually, when she was imprisoned for her alleged role in the murder of her husband, Lord Darnley, and James VI enthroned in her stead, he openly called for her execution. He continued to preach until his final days.

O for a closer walk with God,
a calm and heavenly frame,
a light to shine upon the road
that leads me to the Lamb!

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

Return, O holy Dove, return,
sweet messenger of rest;
I hate the sins that made thee mourn,
and drove thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
whate'er that idol be,
help me to tear it from thy throne,
and worship only thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
calm and serene my frame;
so purer light shall mark the road
that leads me to the Lamb.

William Cowper, 1772

This video brings back happy memories of my 11 years in Belfast where I was living as a Protestant. I last attended an Orange Order Service at the Edenderry Field near Belfast on 12 July 1990 - the 300th Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. I was received into Full Communion with the Catholic Church on 28 September 1991.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

St Andrews - 17

The Castle was surrendered in 1546, and in 1547 John Knox was imprisoned as a slave on a French galley, where he remained until his release in 1549.

John Knox (c. 1510 – 24 November 1572) was a Scottish clergyman and leader of the Protestant Reformation who is considered the founder of the Presbyterian denomination. He was educated at the University of St Andrews and worked as a notary-priest. Influenced by early church reformers such as George Wishart, he joined the movement to reform the Scottish church. He was caught up in the ecclesiastical and political events that involved the murder of Cardinal Beaton in 1546 and the intervention of the regent of Scotland, Mary of Guise. He was taken prisoner by French forces the following year and exiled to England on his release in 1549.

While in exile, Knox was licensed to work in the Church of England, where he quickly rose in the ranks to serve King Edward VI of England as a royal chaplain. In this position, he exerted a reforming influence on the text of the Book of Common Prayer. In England he met and married his first wife, Marjorie. When Mary Tudor ascended the throne and re-established Roman Catholicism, Knox was forced to resign his position and leave the country.

Knox first moved to Geneva and then to Frankfurt. In Geneva, he met John Calvin, from whom he gained experience and knowledge of Reformed theology and Presbyterian polity. He created a new order of service, which was eventually adopted by the reformed church in Scotland. He left Geneva to head the English refugee church in Frankfurt but he was forced to leave over differences concerning the liturgy, thus ending his association with the Church of England.

The Church's one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation,
by water and the word:
from heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
yet one o'er all the earth,
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy Name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
men see her sore oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed;
yet saints their watch are keeping,
their cry goes up, "How long?"
and soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.

Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war
she waits the consummation
of peace for evermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blessed,
and the great Church victorious
shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
with God, the Three in one,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
like them, the meek and lowly,
on high may dwell with thee.

Samuel John Stone, 1868

I bet that choir lady got a good ticking off after the service!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

St Andrews - 16

Here we see the counter-mine leading into the mine.

After the murder of Cardinal Beaton, the castle was besieged by the Regent, the Earl of Arran. Towards the end of 1546 he tried to break through the defences by attempting to mine a tunnel beneath the gate tower.

This ploy failed because those in the castle responded by digging a counter-mine to intercept that of the Regent.

The counter-miners could see only the entrance point of Arran's mine, and were guided solely by the noises made by his miners underground. After several false starts, and with very little time to spare, they managed to break through to the mine and foil their adversaries.

The mine and counter-mine survive as one of the most extraordinary examples of siege engineering to survive anywhere in Europe.

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

Venerable J H Newman (1801-1890) - soon to be declared Blessed by Pope Benedict XVI

Monday, 14 June 2010

St Andrews - 15

Today we commemorate the murder of Cardinal Beaton.

On hearing the commotion outside, Cardinal Beaton looked anxiously out of his chamber window,

After realising that the castle had been overrun, he hurriedly hid his gold while his servant barricaded the door against the oncoming attackers.

When the conspirators threatened to burn their way in, the door was opened, but despite pleading for his life Beaton was slain.

Later his body was displayed from one of the artillery blockhouses that had been built by Archbishop James Beaton.

O God of earth and altar,
bow down and hear our cry,
our earthly rulers falter,
our people drift and die;
the walls of gold entomb us,
the swords of scorn divide,
take not thy thunder from us,
but take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
from lies of tongue and pen,
from all the easy speeches
that comfort cruel men,
from sale and profanation
of honour, and the sword,
from sleep and from damnation,
deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether
the prince and priest and thrall,
bind all our lives together,
smite us and save us all;
in ire and exultation
aflame with faith, and free,
lift up a living nation,
a single sword to thee.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, 1906

Some fine hymn singing!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

11th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today we read in the Gospel all about Jesus having a meal at the house of Simon the Pharisee.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto me and rest;
lay down, thou weary one, lay down
thy head upon my breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
weary, and worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
the living water; thirsty one,
stoop down and drink, and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's light;
look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my Star, my Sun;
and in that light of life I'll walk
till travelling days are done.

Horatio Bonar, 1846

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Queen's Official Birthday

Today we celebrate with great joy the 84th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (who was actually born on 21 April 1926).

As a special treat, I have obtained a recording of the message Her Majesty gave (then as Princess Elizabeth ) on the occasion of her 21st birthday in 1947. It shows much wisdom and a deep Christian faith.

This blog sends loyal greetings to Her Majesty on this happy day.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Feast of the Sacred Heart

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

All ye who seek a comfort sure
in trouble and distress,
whatever sorrow vex the mind,
or guilt the soul oppress:

Jesus, who gave himself for you
upon the cross to die,
opens to you his sacred heart;
oh, to that heart draw nigh.

Ye hear how kindly he invites;
ye hear his words so blest:
'all ye that labour come to me,
and I will give you rest.'

Jesus, thou joy of saints on high,
thou hope of sinners here,
attracted by those loving words
to thee I lift my prayer.

Wash thou my wounds in that dear blood,
which forth from thee doth flow;
new grace, new hope inspire, a new
and better heart bestow.

From the Latin

Happy Feast!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

St Andrews - 14

Amongst the senior clergy in the Church today there are a number of bad peas in the pod, but few are likely to share the experience of Cardinal David Beaton!

In the early hours of 29th May 1546, St Andrews Castle was seized by a group of local gentleman opposed to Cardinal Beaton. Norman Leslie, son of the Earl of Rothes, his uncle, John Leslie of Parkhill, William Kirkcaldy and others met in the cathedral burial ground between five and six o'clock in the morning before moving towards the castle.

Workmen were already busy around the castle walls, and the drawbridge had been lowered to allow building materials inside. Disguised as masons, the conspirators were able to advance unnoticed.

Kirkcaldy was able to distract the porter at the outer gate while Norman Leslie and one or two companions reached the main entrance. When the alarm was eventually raised, the porter was murdered and thrown into the ditch, the workmen and guards fled and the castle was taken.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

St Columba

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Columba - the patron saint of the Catholic Church in Culloden.

O God, you called your servant Columba
from among the princes of Ireland
to be a herald and evangelist of your kingdom to the Scottish people:
Grant that your Church,
remembering his faith and courage,
may so proclaim the gospel,
that all men will come to know your Son as their Saviour,
and serve him as their King;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Happy Feast!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

St Andrews - 13

Here we see the burning of George Wishart.

On 1st March 1546, in front of the castle walls, the Protestant preacher George Wishart was burned for heresy at the behest of Cardinal David Beaton, Archbishop of St Andrews.

By this act, the Cardinal, an extremely powerful figure in Scotland, hoped to counter the religious and political threat posed to his authority by the growing number of reformers.

Monday, 7 June 2010

St Andrews - 12

The Dominicans, or Blackfriars, probably came to St Andrews around 1464, and came to be closely associated with the University. Their buildings were largely destroyed at the Reformation; only a side-chapel remains which dates from a rebuilding operation of around 1576.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Corpus Christi

Here we see Benediction during the Corpus Christi Procession held by the Transalpine Redemptorists on the island of Stronsay.

Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendour,
first-begotten from the dead.
Thou alone, our strong defender,
liftest up thy people's head.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Jesus, true and living bread!

Here our humblest homage pay we,
here in loving reverence bow;
here for faith's discernment pray we,
lest we fail to know thee now.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou art here, we ask not how.

Though the lowliest form doth veil thee
as of old in Bethlehem,
here as there thine angels hail thee,
branch and flower of Jesse's stem.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
We in worship join with them.

Paschal Lamb, thine offering, finished
once for all when thou was slain,
in its fullness undiminished
shall for evermore remain.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Cleansing souls from every stain.

Life-imparting heavenly Manna,
stricken Rock with streaming side,
heaven and earth with loud hosanna
worship thee, the Lamb who died.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Risen, ascended, glorified!

George Hugh Bourne, 1874

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

St Andrews - 11

Here we see Canon John Law writing his chronicle.

About 1144 Bishop Robert had founded a community of Augustinian canons to serve as his cathedral chapter.

These canons provided services, maintained the building and performed administrative duties, as well as living according to their monastic rule around the cloister to the south of the cathedral.

The Augustinians traditionally also had intellectual interests, and after the formal establishment of the University of St Andrews in 1413 several of the canons came to play an active role there. In 1512 St Leonard's College was founded by the then head of the community, Prior John Hepburn.

About 1521 Canon John Law, the sacristan - responsible for the care of the church and its contents - wrote a chronicle which provided valuable information about St Andrews. He later attended the University, and eventually became Principal of St Leonard's College.

Friday, 4 June 2010

St Andrews - 10

Here we see the future King James I being taught in the Castle by Bishop Henry Wardlaw.

In 1412, the learned Bishop Henry Wardlaw issued the foundation charter of what was to become the University of St Andrews. Bishop Henry was an excellent teacher, and had the future King James I as one of his pupils. There is no record of whether he was a good pupil!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

St Andrews - 9

Here we see King James II discussing important issues with Bishop James Kennedy.

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries St Andrew's Castle reached its peak as the splendid residence of one of the most powerful men in the Kingdom.

The bishops and archbishops of St Andrews were closely associated with the Scottish royal court and often entertained noble and Royal guests. For this purpose the main rooms would have been lavishly adorned with decorative trappings suitable to the occasion, exuding a magnificence virtually unmatched in Scotland at this time.

In the 1450's the youthful King James II frequently stayed at the castle. There he discussed political problems with his influential host, Bishop James Kennedy.

The heyday of the castle was probably in the time of Archbishop James Beaton (1521-1539) renowned for his extravagant hospitality, and of his nephew, David Beaton, who succeeded him and became a major political figure during the minority of Mary Queen of Scots.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

St Andrews - 8

Whilst the castle was being built, work on the cathedral continued.

St Rule's church proved too small as a cathedral, and about 1160 Bishop Arnold started work on an ambitious project to build a much grander and more appropriate building. However, this magnificent new cathedral was not to be completed for over a century.

By the late 1270's, in the time of William Wishart, who became bishop in 1271, much of the main building was nearing completion. Before it was finished, however, the west gable was blown down during a great storm. Wishart began rebuilding immediately, but he died soon after.

Eventually the cathedral was completed and consecrated by Bishop de Lamberton on 5 July 1318 - and what a day of rejoicing that was!

Sadly, the building was to suffer once more when it was damaged by fire in 1378.

Today is the 57th Anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

St Andrews - 7

Here we see Bishop Roger de Beaumont supervising the building of the early castle.

The bishops, later archbishops of St Andrews occupied a leading position in the Scottish church, and were also among the great men of the kingdom.

Bishop Roger de Beaumont, Chancellor of Scotland, built the castle about the year 1200 to provide essential protection for himself and his property, and as a reflection of his status. However, most of what still stands today dates from later periods, because the earlier structure was destroyed during the Wars of Independence, in the first half of the fourteenth century.

After 1385 the new bishop, Walter Trail, rebuilt the castle from its foundations; the pentagonal layout he established remained the basis for all its later development.