Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Guild Window from the Church of the Holy Rood

The following text comes from a 2008 posting by Jacqueline Harte, a most talented photographer who took the photo that appears above.  I have added a bit of text myself which is commentary.  The church is a Scottish Beauty that has hosted many moments and figures in history....coronations (the only church in the UK other than Westminster Abbey to have held one and still be a living church today), John Knox, Henry VIII, and onwards from the reign of David I.

The dominant motif is the reversed Four which is a merchants' mark that dates from the Middle Ages. The vertical and horizontal bars form the Sign of the Cross, an appropriate symbol for the Kirk of the Holy Rude. The window faces south, therefore this golden Cross, surrounded by deep blues, will shine on the floor of the nave. Since the word Nave derives from the Latin for a ship it is an appropriate place for a window donated by the Guildry of Stirling, long associated with merchant trade. Designer- Crear

“Rude” or “Rood” is an old English word signifying the Cross of the Crucifixion.

The first Church on this site was founded by King David I in 1129, but destroyed by fire in 1406. Shortly afterwards a grant was made by the Lord Chamberlain of Scotland to have a new Church built and the Nave, South Aisle and Tower were completed about 1414. This part of the Church with its rounded Scots pillars, its Gothic arches and its original oak timbered roof now appears, after many changes, much as it did when first built.

Because the Church was not large enough for the congregation the Choir (or eastern) part was built between 1507 and 1546 by local tradesmen under the inspired direction of John Coutts, Master Mason.

I love this next part! It makes me think of Presbytery modern day rulings on church property which I learned about only last week from my pastor!

In 1656, following a quarrel between the two ministers of the Church and their followers, the Town Council had a partition built where the crossing now is, thus forming two charges, the East Church and the West Church, each with its own minister. This situation continued until 1935, when the two congregations were united under one minister.

Then followed the major restoration during the years 1936 - 1940. The dividing wall was removed, the two short transepts were extended, the groined roof of the crossing was built, the floors of the Choir and Chancel were raised whilst Vestries and a Session House were constructed under the floor of the Choir.

Between 1965 and 1968 further restoration was carried out. This involved the renewal of the stone tracery of several windows, the replacement of many decayed stones, the re-pointing of the whole of the stonework and the renewing of the heating system. In 1970 the carillon of 6 bells in the Tower were recast and re-hung. These can now be rung either manually or mechanically. Between 1987 and 1993 a major renovation of the Church took place at a cost of £1,250,000.

Mary, Queen of Scots, worshipped in this Church and John Knox preached here. Mary’s infant son, James VI of Scotland, who later became James I of England in 1603, after the death of Queen Elizabeth, was crowned here on 29th July 1567, making this Church the only church in Britain, in regular use for worship, apart from Westminster Abbey in London, where a Coronation has taken place. 

I would so enjoy to see some of the historical stoles from this period and particularly from this church!  Ahh... when I get to Scotland!!