St. Margaret’s Chapel-Edinburgh’s Oldest Surviving Building

Hello, friends. Do you ever feel like the gears in your brain get stuck? Seriously, I have been trying to put words to paper for four solid days, and I haven’t been able to get past ‘hello’! Maybe it has something to do with the elephant sitting on my left sinus cavity. Anyway, if today’s post stinks, you’ll know why. 😀

Theater scene from the movie An Affair to Remember.
“And all I could say was, “hello.” -An Affair to Remember, 1957

Today we’re going to take a quick look at the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh. This is St. Margaret’s Chapel, located at Edinburgh Castle.

St. Margaret's Chapel.

King David I of Scotland built St. Margaret’s Chapel nearly 900 years ago – sometime around 1130. David dedicated the chapel to his mother, Queen Margaret, who died at the castle in 1093.

The arched chancel inside St. Margaret's Chapel.
The arched chancel is original construction.
A stained glass window of St. Columba inside St. Margaret's Chapel.
St. Columba, one of five stained glass windows in the chapel

In 1251, Pope Innocent IV canonized the Queen. Queen Margaret of Scotland was now Saint Margaret of Scotland.

A stained glass window of St. Margaret.
St. Margaret

St. Margaret was an English princess of the House of Wessex. After the Norman Conquest of England, Margaret and her family fled to Scotland, where she later married King Malcolm III. Margaret was known as a pious woman who performed many charitable acts.

Following the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the chapel fell into disuse. In fact, during this time, it was used as a storehouse for gunpowder! Fortunately, in 1845, the Scottish antiquary Daniel Wilson recognized the significance of the historic building, and in 1851, with the support of Queen Victoria, St. Margaret’s was restored.

Additional restorations took place in the early twentieth century, with stained glass windows added in 1922. Today the beautiful little chapel is owned by Historic Scotland and cared for by the St. Margaret’s Chapel Guild – a group of Scottish ladies who are all named Margaret. I love that! The Margarets ensure that the chapel has a welcoming display of fresh flowers at all times.

St. Margaret's Chapel.

If you visit Edinburgh Castle (which you MUST do if you’re in Edinburgh), be sure to include some time to pop into St. Margaret’s. It’s a pretty special piece of history.

Well, that’s it for today, friends. Short and sweet.

Have a wonderful week. See you soon.


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