See my previous post on London and Oxford.

The next day Judy and I drove to Edinburgh, Scotland, to catch up on our old friends Paul and Shiona Rees. We spent Thursday night with them in Edinburgh. Paul gave us a tour of his church, Charlotte Chapel. It is a “new” church having only been founded in about 1800.

Royal Castle at one end of the Royal Mile

The next day we walked the Royal mile. At one end is the Royal castle where John Knox confronted Mary Queen of Scotts. This was the city of Edinburgh as it had existed for centuries until it began to expand around1800. The old city is on a ridge. At one end is the Royal castle, at the other St. Giles church where John Knox preached. The streets are narrow and still paved with old stone. Many shops lure in the tourists. The Old Town takes one back to life as it must have been in the 18th century.

St. Giles Church

 At the other end of the Royal Mile is St. Giles church where John Knox thundered sermons that transformed Scotland into a protestant nation. All of this occurred in the 16th century. Knox grave is under a parking lot. The old church graveyard was needed for parking.

Grey Friars Church

¬†Between the castle and St. Giles was the old Grey Friars church. It was here that the Scottish people covenanted with each other in 1638 to resist the encroachment of Anglicanism. Charles I and Archbishop Laud tried to impose the Anglican prayer book upon the people. The first time the bishop attempted to read it in divine services a maid named Jenny Geddes picked up her folding stool and threw it at him instigating a riot. The British jailed many of the covenanters at Grey Friars. We toured the prisons and the graves. The Scottish people remember this as “the killing times.”

The ruins of St. Andrews Castle
Where Wishart was burnt

Next we took the 1 hour drive Northeast to the town of St. Andrews known for the University, Golf Course, and Castle by the same name.It was in this castle that the Scottish reformation began. The Reformers holed up in the castle for safety. While there they called the young John Knox to be their preacher. Knox had been the body of guard of George Wishart, one of the first reformers, for the six weeks prior to his death. Wishart was burnt at the stake. (There is a GW in the pavement in front of the castle on the spot of his death). Knowing full well the suffering that it would bring Knox burst into tears and fled the room.

The Roman Catholic French navy came to the aid of Scotland’s Roman Catholics. Their canon pulverized the castle walls. (The crumbling ruins remain). Then the French impressed Knox as a Galley slave for 19 months.

On the way home we passed through the little village of Dunbar where Oliver Cromwell defeated the Scottish army in the crucial battle of Dunbar in the 1650s.

Emily and Father

We arrived back in Durham just in time to spend more quality time with our new grandaughter, Emily.