3. Dunkeld Cathedral in the 13th Century

Dunkeld Cathedral circa 1850

My name is Symon, one of the 22 canons who made up the Chapter of the Cathedral. As Canons we acted as priests and as advisors to our Bishop.

As you look at the north wall, you will see the remains of the arcading seats where we sat during the services. In my time, these seats, or stalls as they are called, extended all along the south wall and had lofty wooden canopies over them. We each had our own stall, it was often named after a saint or a local area.

As the leading church in the diocese, the cathedral was the setting for an unbroken offering of worship in which only the clergy were expected to take part. The type of worship for which the Cathedral was designed was formally brought to an end by the Reformation Parliament in 1560, when all traces of statues, paintings, and sculpture were ordered to be removed. The reformers called these things idolatry. All the sacred elements that had been gathered here over centuries were so carefully looked after and revered. Their only purpose was to celebrate the glory of our God. When the crowds forced their way in, everything that could be taken was either stolen or, if too heavy to move, it was smashed in front of us.

Instructions were given that doors, windows and essential furnishings were not to be damaged, but sadly there were those who were prepared to take advantage of the situation, and we were powerless to stop them. Soon after the act was passed the laird of Cardeny removed the roof of the nave and it has never been replaced.

These were days of such trauma and sadness. We wept.

Over the centuries wind and weather have done their work and so now the majority of this cathedral lies as a ruin, its weathered stone an echo of its past grandeur.

Please continue down the aisle to the next talk which you will find on your left.