The last time we heard from our friends Florence and Mike Lince, the 6-Monthers, they were living in Chile. That was then, this is now: they’ve moved for the next 6 months to Scotland, and quickly discovered its charm.
On our first day in the United Kingdom, we arrived in the sleepy little town of Kinross, Scotland, just in time for dinner. After catching up on sleep over the weekend, we began our exploration of Scotland. It started with a bus trip 20 miles north to Perth, population 45,000. We were able to see most of the town on foot. Just off High Street in the center of town, we spotted the steeple of an old church.
We were warmly greeted as we entered the beautifully restored St. John’s Kirk, a church dating back nearly 800 years. Hosts welcome visitors to worship, to take a tour, or to take a self-guided interpretive walk through the church. Congregation members are eager to share the artistic beauty of what has always been Perth’s Burgh Church. And they want tourists to appreciate that this is not only an historically significant monument, but also a working church.
Kirk, an Old Norse word for church, now refers to the Church of Scotland. St. John’s Kirk was originally consecrated by Bishop David de Bernham in 1242, and the Kirk’s tithes and endowments were granted to the Benedictine Monastery at nearby Dunfermline. At the time of the Reformation (in the 16th Century), the Perth Town Council was on the side of the Reformers and St. John’s became a Presbyterian Church. The leader of the Reform Movement in Scotland, John Knox, actually preached here at St. John’s Kirk in 1559.
St. John’s Kirk was originally configured with individual altars and chapels along what are now the side aisles. At some point it was divided into three separate churches. That configuration remained intact until the church was restored from 1923-26 as a memorial to the soldiers of Perth and Perthshire who gave their lives in The Great War of 1914-18. The internal partitions were removed at that time and the Kirk in its present form was rededicated in 1926.
History comes alive as we take our self-guided walk. On the largest pillar in the church, we see highlighted the marks left by stone masons. Although often covered with plaster, these marks designate which masons did the prep work on the stones and were used to determine how much they were to be paid.
We have decided that Perth will be our home for the next six months, and while we wait for our apartment to be ready within weeks, we look forward to exploring more of Perth and its surrounding cities. More Scottish treasures await, we are sure.
Follow the travels of Florence and Mike online … click here.