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Pages About St Cuthbert's Church :
Up To 15th Century

| Art & Architecture | Church Yard | Church Organ | Memorial Chapel | History |  

Pages About St Cuthbert's History

| up to 15th C | 16th C | 17th C | 18th C | 19th C | 20th C |  

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| Cuthbert The Saint | Stained Glass | Photo Album |  

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St Cuthbert's History

The setting...  

For much of its existence St Cuthbert’s was a country kirk, outwith the city wall and in the county of Lothian and Tweeddale. In the reign of King David I of Scotland (1124 - 1153), Edinburgh was clustered on the ridge which runs eastwards from the Castle. All along the foot of the northern slope of the Castle rock was a morass or marsh and from there northwards it was all countryside until one came to Newhaven and Leith on the coast.  

The Kirk below the Castle of Edinburgh has a claim to great, but imprecise, antiquity. One theory about its origins is that St Cuthbert journeyed from Melrose and stayed awhile in the sheltered hollow below the Castle rock. Another view is that the Church came into being only fifty years before the 1127 Charter. Simeon of Durham, in 1130, wrote of a church in Edwin’s Burgh in 854 but whilst some believe it was St Cuthbert’s others think St Giles.  

Through history... 


King David I granted a Charter giving all the land below the Castle to St Cuthbert’s. This is the oldest document in the Scottish Records Office, Register House, Edinburgh.


Foundations laid for the Abbey of Holyrood. A few years later, King David gave the Church and Parish of St Cuthbert to the new Abbey. St Cuthbert’s parish was very extensive in the 12th century with considerable revenues but the transfer to the Abbey meant a material lessening of status. The new Augustinian Abbey employed vicars to care for the souls of the parish but it also pocketed the surplus revenue!
Very little is known of the life of the Church during the Roman Catholic period - the 12th to the mid-16th century - but an occasional reference to St Cuthbert’s appears in Vatican documents.  


16th March, St Cuthbert’s-under-the-Castle rededicated by the Bishop of St Andrews.  


An English Knight, St Giles de Argentine, fought and died at Bannockburn. Sir Walter Scott would later describe in his "Tales of a Grandfather" and "Lord of the Isles", how the Knight’s body was brought to a quiet resting place "in Sanct Cuthbertis Kirk beside Edinburgh".
Scottish Independence was restored after Robert the Bruce's defeat of the English army.


Richard II led an army north and burned Holyrood and Edinburgh. It is possible St Cuthbert’s was damaged or even destroyed at that time.  


Large marshy area beside the Church used to form the Nor’ Loch.  

If you are researching your family history, or are interested in finding out more about the history of St Cuthbert's Church or Parish, you can find information on available resources HERE


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St Cuthbert's Parish Church. 5 Lothian Road. Edinburgh. UK. EH1 2EP

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