- St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh (Episcopal)
name=Cathedral Church of Saint Mary the Virgin
caption=The eastern spire of St Mary's Cathedral
St Mary the Virgin
Scottish Episcopal Church
provost=Dr Graham Forbes
viceprovost=Canon Jane Millard
Organist and Director of Music=Mr
Assistant Organist=Nicholas Wearne
website= [http://www.cathedral.net www.cathedral.net]
St Mary's Cathedral or the Cathedral Church of Saint Mary the Virgin is a
cathedralof the Scottish Episcopal Churchin Edinburgh, Scotland.
1689after the abdication of James VII, the Church of Scotlanddivided over the issue of the Stuart Succession. Two churches came into being: the PresbyterianChurch established by King William II, and the Episcopal Church which remained loyal to the Stuart cause. One consequence was that St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh as it then was, came under the Established Church's ministry, and the Episcopal Diocese was left without a cathedral. For a time the Episcopal residue of that congregation worshipped in an old woollen mill in Carrubber's Close, near the site of the present Old Saint Paul's Church. This was used as a pro-cathedraluntil the early 19th century, when this function was served by the Church of St Paul in York Pace.
The cathedral was designed by
Sir George Gilbert Scottand the foundation stone was laid on May 21 1874by the Duke of Buccleuchand Queensberry, whose family had been supportive of Scottish Episcopacy over the previous hundred years. Inside the stone was placed a bottle containing a copy of the Trust Deed, the Edinburgh Post Office Directory, Oliver and Boyd's Almanac, newspapers and coins. In preparation for the opening of the Cathedral a congregation had been formed to worship in a temporary iron church erected on the site now occupied by the Song School. Beginning on May 26, 1876, it was ministered to by the dean, James Montgomery, and two chaplains, and grew rapidly. The nave of the cathedral was opened on January 25, 1879 and from that day, daily services have been held in the Cathedral.
St Mary's Cathedral is the only cathedral in Scotland to maintain a tradition of daily choral services with choristers drawn from its own choir school. It was the first cathedral in Britain to employ girls in the treble line as well as boys, in 1978 when
Dennis Townhillwas organist and choir master. In 2005 St Mary's Cathedral became the first cathedral in the Anglicantradition to have a female alto singing in daily services.
The Father Henry Willis organ was built in 1879.
There are ten bells in the central tower of the Cathedral hung for
change ringing. They were the gift of the first Dean of St Mary's, James F Montgomery. The bells were all cast by John Taylor & Co of Loughboroughto weight ratios defined by Lord Grimthorpe who was a leading bell designer of his day. This is one of only a few complete Grimthorpe rings still in existence. The bells were dedicated on October 29, 1879.
* [http://www.cathedral.net/ St Mary's Cathedral website]
* [http://www.ofchoristers.net/Chapters/Edinburgh.htm A history of the choristers of St Mary's Cathedral]
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