The Kirk of the Canongate, or Canongate Kirk

Built between 1688 and 1691, Canongate Kirk is the parish church of Canongate in the Old Town, Holyrood Palace, the Scottish Parliament and garrison church of Edinburgh Castle. There are Royal and Castle pews down the front of the Kirk for this purpose. It has a personal link, too. My ancestors were married here in the 1790s, when it was the regimental church of the 73rd regiment of foot. They came to Australia with Macquarie in 1809, the rest is another story…

Canongate Kirk
The large central circular window which is crowned with the royal arms of William of Orange. Below that, the arms of Thomas Moodie, who bequeathed the money for construction. The plaque above the portico describes the origin of the church:

In 1688 King James VII ordained that the mortification of Thomas Moodie granted in 1649 to build a church should be applied to the erection of this structure.

Canongate Kirk, interior looking north

Slightly to one side of the door, looking toward the altar. The colours are those of the
King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment).

The most striking thing about the Kirk is the light, and to borrow a phrase from Wikipedia, the dignified simplicity of the interior. It remains connected with nature outside, light streaming in through the windows on all sides.

Canongate Kirk, interior looking south

Looking back to the entry, the screen features the the badges of some of the guilds which worked in Canongate for many years – the badges of the livery companies, the cordiners, the wrights, hammermen, tailors, baxters (or bakers) and weavers. The organ in the loft dates from 1998.

Canongate Kirk

Looking across the Kirk, prayer box to the left, Royal pew to the right.

Andrew and James Miller

The Kirkyard contains a number of notable resting places, among them the revolutionary economist Adam Smith. These are the graves of Andrew and James Miller who may be relatives of mine. The trail is a bit murky at the moment, I’ll have to look into it more at some point.


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