St Giles' Church


This is the principle church in Edinburgh.  It is often referred to as St Giles Cathedral, but this description has only been accurate for brief periods in it life (1633-38 and 1661-89).

The Church of Scotland does not have Bishops or Cathedrals.

Early History

St Giles stands in the High Street, part of Edinburgh's Royal Mile that links Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace.

The first church on this site was probably built in the 12th century.

Three Churches

Around 1581, St Giles was divided into three separate churches by the erection of stone walls.  These were taken down in 1633 and put up again in 1639.  They were rearranged many times and finally taken down in 1882.


In 1817, the Old Tolbooth and luckenbooths were removed from in front of the church, revealing its exterior, which was seen to be in poor condition.

This was restored and rebuilt in 1829-33, so producing the church approximately as we see it today.


The notes above are a very brief extract from the comprehensive description of St Giles that appear in 'The Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh' (John Gifford et al) pp.102-118.


St Giles Cathedral

'National Series' post card  -  St Giles' Cathedral, High Street, Edinburgh



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