The History of Leith

July 17, 2010

The Thistle Chapel-St Giles Cathedral

The Order of the Thistle has roots in the Middle Ages, but the presentday order was largely created in 1687 by King James VII of Scotland (King James II of England). The nave of Holyrood Abbey was adapted as its chapel, but in 1688 the Abbey was ransacked by the Edinburgh mob, furious at King James’ Roman Catholic allegiance. After that, the Knights of the Thistle had no chapel of their own for over 200 years.
The Thistle Chapel was designed by Robert Lorimer and finished in 1911. It contains stalls for the 16 knights, the Sovereign’s stall and two Royal stalls. The chapel contains a wealth of detail, both religious and heraldic, and much of it peculiarly Scottish, including angels playing bagpipes.

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