St. Giles Cathedral
The ancient capital city of Edinburgh offers uncountable treasures behind its winding stone streets, unassailable castle walls, and graveyards of the centuries:
St. Giles Cathedral The magnificent “High Kirk of Edinburgh” from the 14th Century. The Kirk installed the great Reformation preacher John Knox as pastor there in 1559, where he thundered out the gospel and drove back the centuries of papist error and darkness. Scotland would never be the same.
John Knox House A modest home on the Royal Mile between St. Giles and the Queen’s residence at Holyrood Palace, lived the man who “neither feared nor flattered any flesh,” including the Queen and her courtiers. The hand of providence and mercy upon Knox can be seen in every year of his life.
Covenanter Monument Planted in the center of the old Grass Market gallows square, this marker commemorates the thousands of Christians of 17th Century Scotland who were persecuted and murdered by royal authorities for holding to biblical worship against the policies of the bishops and crown.
Greyfriars Kirk The location where the National Covenant was signed by thousands, pledging loyalty to Christ as a nation. The precincts of the yard were later used to imprison the Covenanter “rebels” and where many found their final resting place.
Magdalen Chapel The little church where the blessed ladies of the church tenderly washed the bodies of the martyrs of the Covenant, the table of which is seen there today. The faithful Presbyterians met there in secret conventicles after the overthrow of the Reformed pastors by the English king in 1661.
Edinburgh Castle The magnificent and premier castle of Scotland which towers over the Old City. It is the home of the National War Museum, the Regimental Museum of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, and site of the annual Edinburgh Tattoo.
Stirling is one of the most strategic and beautiful places in Scotland and a highlight of our tour.
William Wallace Monument
William Wallace Monument The hero of Scottish Wars for Independence in the 12th/13th centuries, Wallace’s heroism has thrilled liberty-loving people around the world ever since. We will climb this magnificent stone tower to gaze over the Stirling plane and river where Wallace’s army routed the English nobles and troops in the battle of Stirling Bridge. The tower is so large it contains museums devoted to Scottish history and to William Wallace.
Stirling Castle Another of the ancient and powerful castles of Scotland, it was the prize of every invasion and every defense of the realm. Home to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlander Regimental Museum and several stunning monuments to Scottish heroes, especially Robert the Bruce.
Church of the Holy Rude and Cemetery James Guthrie, the subject of Bill Potter’s research and writing, was the pastor of this church in Stirling. Rev. Guthrie was arrested, thrown in prison and martyred for his stand against prelacy and his belief that Christ is the head of the church.
Bannockburn Battlefield The most storied battle in Scotland’s militant history. On this field in 1314, King Robert the Bruce defeated the army of King Edward II and secured Scottish independence. It would have to be defended in every generation, as all free people must do to keep their freedom.
Dumfries & Ayrshire
Caerlaverock Castle The classic and beautiful medieval castle of the Catholic Maxwell family, besieged and sacked by Edward I, defended by supporters of Robert Bruce in the Scottish Wars for Independence, attacked by rival clans, partly destroyed each time and finally taken in a 13-week siege by Covenanter armies, never to be rebuilt. One of few castles that has retained its capacious moat.
Sweetheart Abbey The ruins of a Cistercian monastery in “Maxwell country,” founded in the 13th century and named after John Balliol whose son of the same name became King of Scotland. The Cistercians, sometimes known as the white monks, for color of their habits, held out in the Abbey as a Roman Catholic enclave against the Reformation until they were finally banished from Scotland in 1608.
Threave Castle Constructed on a 20 acre island in the 1370s by Douglas’s, Threave has had a tempestuous history of sieges, murders, and intrigues. Later a possession of the Maxwells, it was besieged and captured by the Covenanters. It was used as a prison for captured Frenchmen during the Napoleonic Wars.
Grey Friars Abbey The Grey Friars were Dominican monks (with gray habits), who were invited to inhabit the convent built in Dumfries in the 13th century. The famous philosopher/theologian, Duns Scotus, received his religious habit in the church and it is the site of the killing, near the high altar, of the “Red Comyn” by Robert Bruce, who subsequently became King of Scotland. The modern Dumfries church today takes great pride in its papist heritage and resistance to the Covenanters of the “Second Reformation” in Scotland.
Glasgow & Hamilton
Necropolis and Knox Statue A necropolis is a large ancient cemetery. Glasgow’s cemetery contains more than 50,000 burials and 3,500 monuments. Prior to the opening of the cemetery in the 19th century, a beautiful statue of John Knox was erected there overlooking the city. There is a memorial to the Glaswegian Victoria Cross recipients as well—the British equivalent to the Medal of Honor.
Glasgow Cathedral Begun in the 12th Century and the seat of the bishop and later archbishop of Glasgow, the building survived the Reformation relatively intact to become one of the largest churches of the Kirk of Scotland. Here, in 1638, the General Assembly of the Kirk threw out episcopacy and the Covenanters took control of Presbyterian Scotland.
Drumclog The most significant battlefield victory of the Covenanters over royalist forces led by John Graham of Claverhouse who attacked a worship service near this spot and got more than they bargained for in 1679. This fight, between a couple hundred men however, led to the larger battle of Bothwell Brig three weeks later between 3,000 Covenanters and 15,000 government troops.
Bothwell Castle and Bothwell Bridge few castles in Scotland have undergone more sieges and destruction than Bothwell. It has changed hands many times due to its strategic position on the River Clyde. The bridge nearby was the scene of the overwhelming defeat of the godly Covenanter army by Royalist forces led by the Duke of Monmouth in 1679, marking the effective end of military resistance to the government’s attacks on their pastors and families and marks the beginning of the “killing times.” The captured survivors of the battle were incarcerated in Greyfriars Kirk yard in Edinburgh where many died of malnutrition and disease or by hanging.
Covenanter Cross in Hamilton
St. Kentigern’s Church in Lanark Medieval church ruins. At least once visited by William Wallace. It shows the shifting of architectural styles from Norman to early Gothic. It is named after the 6th Century Britonnic missionary and “patron saint” of Glasgow, also known as St. Mungo. He may have constructed his church on the same spot as the medieval site and has attributed to his life by the Roman Catholic Church, a number of miracles.
Scone Palace Pronounced “Scoon” and shrouded in the mists of time, this ancient capitol dates back to Pictish times. Thirty eight kings of the Scots, including Robert the Bruce have been crowned in this place, many upon the “stone of destiny.” The Augustinian abbey at Scone flourished for more than four hundred years till the Reformation times and the scouring of the superstition of papal religion from the land. The neo-Gothic palace of today was completed in 1808.
St. Andrews Castle
United College University of St Andrews
This city became the educational and religious center of Scotland, boasting the first and greatest university of Scotland, a magnificent cathedral, and the sites of early Protestant reformers who were martyred for their faith. We will visit the Castle, the gravesite of Rev. Samuel Rutherford, the Cathedral ruins, and the Monuments to the Martyrs Patrick Hamilton and George Wishart. It was here that John Knox entered Reformation history and was captured and enslaved to a French galley. This is the location of the killing and defenestration of Cardinal James Beaton, the murderer of Wishart and Hamilton.