I was pleasantly surprised to find that the John Knox House was just a few blocks away from St. Christopher’s Inn, the hostel where I have been staying this week. It belonged to a certain James Mossman who was knighted by Mary, Queen of Scots. Today, in addition to being a tourist attraction, the first floor has a cafe and Storytelling Center.
The motto on the front of the house above the door is in old Scots and translates as “Love God above all and your neighbour as yourself.”
The bulk of the house was built in the mid 1500s. It is three floors with lots of the original house to see. There is a stone turnpike staircase with an intentionally higher seventh step, to trip up intruders! The doorways are really low and you have to stoop on occasion to get through. People must have been much shorter then.
Mossman was beheaded by the Protestants, his head displayed on the walls of Edinburgh Castle. The house was given to an aged John Knox as it was close to St. Giles Cathedral where he preached. This was prior to Mossman’s beheading. I have some pictures of the outside of St. Giles Cathedral as you have to pay to take pictures inside. I don’t have a good camera — actually, the pictures were taken on my cell phone — so I didn’t want to spend extra money, just to take some grainy photos inside. I did the best thing you can do, however, which is attend the noonday service and scripture reading.
Enjoy the Pictures! By the way, Knox got his education at Saint Andrews!
tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can
And when it’s time for leavin’
I hope you’ll understand
That I was born a ramblin’ man
-Allman Brothers Band
The day is fast approaching when I go off to Scotland. Truth be told, I haven’t been on an airplane in decades. Can’t remember when my last flight was. I think it was to go see a friend in Fresno in the mid-90’s! That’s a long time.
So, I’ll be on a plane (three planes, actually) on Labor Day, Sept 3rd, from LAX to Las Vegas, then to Heathrow, and finally to Edinburgh. Because of a housing issue at Saint Andrews–they only open their residences on the 8th of September–I had to book a hostel in Edinburgh for three nights! I’d tried postponing the flight but the travel agency’s surcharge on that was outrageously expensive. Looked at some hotels in Edinburgh and Saint Andrews but they too were quite expensive. That’s when my brother suggested a hostel and I looked some up in the Edinburgh area. Quite affordable! Of course, you have to share the room, but that’s no problem for me. I guess I can be a tourist in Edinburgh for a few days. I hear it’s quite beautiful there.
Definitely got to go visit Edinburgh Castle. The hostel emailed some tour guide info and I think I’ll try one of those. Did some demographic research on the internet and it appears Edinburgh has a population of about half a million people. Saint Andrews is a small town, about fourteen thousand. And about 99% white. No worries about me standing out. (more…)