Day 11 (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Today we had booked our Reformation Tour of Edinburgh and St. Andrews. We preceded this with a quick breakfast at the B&B, then our hosts, Dick and Susan Knodel (who are Americans, living in the Edinburgh area) arrived to collect us for the tour.
We began by visiting St. Giles Cathedral, where John Knox ministered after his return from Switzerland in the late 1500's. Inside there are also tombs of others who died for their protestant faith. There is also a memorial to a later time, when a preacher who rejected the views of the reformation and acceded to the desires of the English King, began to preach unacceptable doctrines which were much like the Catholic mass. A woman who sold cabbage at a small stand outside the church shouted "You'll not fill my ears with the Pope's mass" and hurled her small stool at the pulpit. The people left the church in an uproar, and the second Scottish reformation was underway.
A short walk further, and we came to Greyfriars church, where many of the martyrs of the reformation were buried in a mass grave. This is also the site where the Scottish National Covenant was signed by several hundred protestants, They, and the thousands of others who signed the covenant when it was later circulated around the country, were know as "the Covanenters." It was later worth their lives to be accused of being a Covanenter.
After a quick bite of lunch, we set off for St. Andrews, the famous golf site, as well as reformation site. We stopped first by the golf course, since both Dick and Scott are avid golfers. We stopped quickly at the clubhouse and snapped some quick photos. The beach near the course is the "West Sands" - a beautiful beach, where the running scenes from the film, "Chariots of Fire" were filmed. Then it was on to St. Salvator's College, where the first martyr of the reformation, Patrick Hamilton, was killed. He was a professor at St. Andrews University, who espoused reformation principles. When he refused to recant, he was taken out to the street and burned. The spot is marked with "PH" in the brick. It is said that the students will not step on those bricks.
Not far away was St. Andrews Castle, built for Bishop Laud, who persecuted the protestants, but after his death was occupied by the protestants. The castle was stunning - even though in ruins now. It is an incredible view over the North Sea, along the coast.
From the castle, we strolled to the end of St. Andrews, where we walked through the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral. It was an enormous structure, with enough of it remaining to see just how imposing it must have been.
We had a nice supper in St. Andrews, then drove back to Edinburgh, our heads spinning with all the wonderful historical information.