Our Revolting Past

Did I tell you about the Church History Social last Saturday evening? I don’t think I did.

What’s that you say – you don’t understand what a Church History Social is. Well, let me tell you,  it was the most entertaining way to spend a Saturday evening and a roaring success. The late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were laid out for our entertainment by Roger Edwards who has been doing a good deal of research in this area. In between times, we ate a seventeenth century repast of wine and nibbles and Frikki and Christine Walker entertained us to some music associated with the congregation, including a lovely Schubert Lied which was a setting of words by one of my predecessors.

It has been said before that Episcopacy collapsed in Glasgow, but Roger is in the business of showing that far from collapsing, there were hundreds of Episcopalians in this town after the Glorious Revolution.

So it was that we heard about someone being made a bishop in secret to protect him from the mob, an early example of cross-dressing in the congregation as one of the clergy captured at Sherriffmiur swapped clothes with his wife to escape from Stirling castle, times of persecution when  only a few piskies could meet together, a church where the priest had taken an oath of allegiance to the Hanovarians but the congregation hadn’t, the origins of Old St Paul’s claim to be Jacobite and of course the congregation’s successful supply to Bonnie Prince Charlie of a paramour.

Roger’s method was ingenious. He told the story and at key moments, called out members of the audience to come and stand to represent characters in the tale. Everyone called out had an emblem to wear – priest’s bands for the clergy, a frilly pinny for a servant maid, even frillier jabots for the chaps and a lovely purple sash held with a shiny clasp for Bonnie Prince Charlie himself.

Guess who got to be Bonnie Prince C?


  1. fr dougal says

    “Aye, yir no bonny, yir no a Prince – but yir a right charlie” Rikki Fulton “Scotch and Wry”!

  2. And did you get to play the Sherriffmiur priest part, Kelvin? Opportunities like that don’t come along everyday.

  3. Kelvin says

    That part was already taken.

    The moment when a set of priest’s bands were exchanged for some lacy frills ensured that we all knew that St Mary’s had a history a good deal more interesting than most.

  4. it’s been literally weeks since I wore a frilly jabot!

  5. Well get on with it Layclerk. Lent is coming soon and it will be plain jabots for weeks.

  6. Rosemary Hannah says

    It really was superb, and impeccably researched. I propose feeding large sections of it to the students at Tisec.

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