Is the calendar really turning a page today? It feels like we just celebrated the new year, and here it is already four months in. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I adore the month of April. The breeze blows softer, the grass turns greener, and the sun shines warmer. With every new leaf and every tender shoot, I am reminded how all things are being made new. Kind of an appropriate allegory for today, I think.
With today being Easter Sunday, I thought it would be appropriate to journey with you to the ruins of a place that no doubt saw many an Easter Sunday celebration – St. Andrews Kirk in Gullane, Scotland.
Located about forty minutes to the northeast of Edinburgh, St. Andrews Kirk is an interesting ruin that dates to sometime around 1170. The original kirk was built by the de Vaux family (affiliated with Dirleton Castle) and was constructed with Norman architectural features.
The Congalton family later modified the existing church structure by adding a chapel around 1490.
This remarkable twelfth-century building served as the local parish church for over four-hundred years. In 1612, because of constant sand blowing in from nearby fields, the kirk was abandoned, and parishioners relocated to nearby Dirleton. Following its disuse as a parish church, St. Andrews continued to serve as a burial place for local families.
It is a peculiar and remarkable thing to be able to experience the presence of such a place firsthand. While you likely won’t find St. Andrews Kirk listed as a top tourist attraction in your guidebooks, it is in no way any less fascinating than the ones that are. I think it’s often in these off-the-beaten-path places – the quiet, unassuming ones that don’t have a giant tourist spotlight shining on them – that you tend to find the most meaningful connections to the past.
Cheers and Happy Easter, friends.