- According to tradition, in the 7th century, St Cuthbert - the famous Northumbrian Saint - built the first church on the site, made of mud and wattle.
However, the first definite landmark is a Charter of King David I in 1127 which refers to 'The Church of St Cuthbert, hard by the Castle of Edinburgh.' This is the oldest manuscript in Register House, Edinburgh.
In many ways, St Cuthbert's can rightly be called the Mother Church of Edinburgh in that its parish once encompassed most of the present day city. With a history spanning 1000 years and more, St Cuthbert's has been, in turn, Celtic, Roman, Episcopalian and Presbyterian. For the last 300 years it has been a congregation of the Church of Scotland and a member of the Presbyterian family of churches.
It is reckoned that over the centuries there have been at least seven church buildings on this hallowed spot below Edinburgh's Castle Rock. The church's close proximity to the Castle meant it was often caught in cannon crossfire between opposing armies and, as a result, sustained either severe damage or was destroyed. Such was the resilience of our forebears, however, that they immediately set about the daunting task of rebuilding.
The present church of 1894, built in an Italian Renaissance style, possesses a magnificent interior. It is unusually ornate and sumptuous for a Presbyterian church and is acclaimed for its beauty, atmosphere and sense of 'presence'. It is well worth a visit!
- © NileGuide2013