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Greyfriars Kirk - Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 55° 56.791 W 003° 11.506
30U E 488023 N 6200143
Quick Description: Construction of Greyfriars Kirk began in 1602 and was completed circa 1620. It has a Category A listing on the Historic Environment Scotland register.
Location: Southern Scotland, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 10/8/2017 6:38:59 AM
Waymark Code: WMWRQX
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member pmaupin
Views: 1

Long Description:
"Greyfriars Kirk, today Greyfriars Tolbooth & Highland Kirk, is a parish kirk (church) of the Church of Scotland in central Edinburgh, Scotland. The kirk stands on the site of a pre-Reformation establishment of the Franciscan order, the "Grey Friars".

It is one of the oldest surviving buildings built outside the Old Town of Edinburgh, having been begun in 1602 and completed circa 1620. It sits to the south of the Grassmarket, adjacent to the rear of George Heriot's School, itself founded in 1628. For many years, Greyfriars Kirk was divided into two places of worship – Old Greyfriars (erected 1614) and New Greyfriars (erected 1718).


Greyfriars Kirk has an important place in the history of the Scottish Covenanters. In 1638 the National Covenant was presented and signed in front of the pulpit. In 1679, some 1,200 Covenanters were imprisoned in the Kirkyard pending trial.

In 1845 a fire destroyed the furnishings and the roof. In the mid 19th century, the Rev. Robert Lee, then minister of Old Greyfriars, led a movement to change the worship, introducing the first post-Reformation stained glass windows in a Presbyterian church in Scotland, and also one of the first organs. He received considerable criticism at the time, but most of his proposals were subsequently widely accepted in the Church of Scotland.

In late September 1912, over a thousand people, many of them from Ulster, signed the Ulster Covenant at the kirk. The Covenant bitterly opposed the Third Home Rule Bill, and thus opposed Home Rule for Ireland.

The two congregations united in 1929 and the historic church building was subsequently extensively restored. The interior dividing wall between the two former separate sanctuaries was removed as part of these renovations, completed in 1938. When they were completed the vault containing the family of Lauder of that Ilk found itself located in the kitchen rather than within part of the church proper.

Given the depopulation of Edinburgh's Old Town in the early part of the 20th century, many neighbouring church buildings were closed and their congregations united with Greyfriars, including the New North Church and Lady Yester's Church. In 1979 the congregation united with the former Highland Tolbooth St John's Church on the Royal Mile (now The Hub, the headquarters of the Edinburgh International Festival society).

The kirk today

The post-1979 united congregation continues to use Greyfriars Kirk, with Sunday services in English and in Scottish Gaelic. This is the only Church of Scotland congregation in the east of Scotland with regular services in Gaelic. The current ministers (since 2003) are the Reverend Dr Richard Frazer and Reverend Lezley Stewart. Greyfriars also regularly has students training for ministry. Currently Justin Taylor is the probationary minister.

Greyfriars has developed and is developing the Grassmarket Community Project and the Greyfriars Charteris Centre. Greyfriars community outreach takes many forms but is primarily focused around our centre in the Kirkhouse on Candlemaker Row. The project is now managed by Grassmarket Community Project Ltd. - a partnership between Greyfriars Kirk and Grassmarket Mission.

Throughout the week the Grassmarket Community Project offers a variety of workshops aimed at developing people’s self worth, social networks and skills. Craft, art and community are all central themes in our work. Participants have the opportunity to join in with GRoW wood workshop, the Plough to Plate cookery and gardening program, the Grassroots Textiles workshop, Greyfriars Herb Garden or one of our many arts and education activities.

Although primarily aimed at individuals facing deep social exclusion, the Grassmarket Community Project encourages members of the local community to join in and work side by side with participants from all walks of life.

The Greyfriars Charteris Centre is a "Centre for Community" based on the Pleasance in Edinburgh. It has three large halls, two meeting rooms, and numerous offices to be used by local individuals, community groups and businesses. It is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation SC047573 and is part of the mission outreach of Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh ? The Greyfriars Charteris Centre was formed in June 2016 within the former Kirk o'Field Church and St Ninians Centre and is open to people of all faiths and none. The Greyfriars Charteris Centre is a Centre for Community. It exists to provide a place of connection with communities of all kinds: location, people, faith, need, interest, aspiration and many more. All its activities, whether directly managed or curated, will give local people the opportunity to reach their potential through gaining new skills, building on existing abilities or dreams, and developing self-confidence.

Greyfriars Tolbooth & Highland Kirk is part of a Local Ecumenical Partnership (LEP) with St Columba's-by-the-Castle (Scottish Episcopal Church) and Augustine United Church (United Reformed Church)."

--Wikipedia (visit link)
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