St Michael's Parish Church

Linlithgow, United Kingdom

St. Michael's Parish Church is one of the largest burgh churches in the Church of Scotland. King David I of Scotland granted a charter for the establishment of the church in 1138. The church was built on the site of an older church and was consecrated in 1242. Following a fire in 1424, most of the present building dates from the mid-15th century, with extensive restorations in the 19th century. Parts of the Church of St Michael were brought into use as they were completed, and the church was completed in 1540.

Built immediately to the south of Linlithgow Palace, the church was much favoured as a place of worship by Scottish Kings and Queens. Mary, Queen of Scots, was born in Linlithgow Palace on 8 December 1542 and was baptised in St Michael’s Church.

In 1559, at an early stage of the Scottish Reformation, the Protestant Lords of the Congregation destroyed the statues adorning the exterior and interior of the church as signs of 'popishness', and defaced the statue of St Michael which formed part of the structure.

Following the Reformation, the interior of the church was reordered. Some traces of pre-Reformation artefacts can still be detected. In 1646, Oliver Cromwell's troops stabled their horses within the nave. Following the departure of the troops, considerable restoration was required.

By the early 19th century the church was in a very poor physical condition. Although repairs were made, many of the historic features of the church were destroyed, the interior walls were whitewashed, a plaster ceiling replaced a fine 16th-century one and in 1821 the stone Crown Tower (a crown steeple similar to that of St Giles' Cathedral) had to be dismantled.

While other repairs were completed and the church was rededicated in 1896, the tower was too weakened for restoration of the original crown steeple.

By the late 19th century tastes had changed radically, with the installation of the church's first post-Reformation stained glass windows. In 1964, an aluminium crown was installed.



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Founded: 1242
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Sen Sen Lin Quan (13 months ago)
A beautiful church with amazing colourful glass windows. The staff there were very helpful and kind with handing us a map of the whole place. Very worthwhile church to visit with a great depth of history
Alan Holt (13 months ago)
A really lovely old Parish Church adjacent to Linlithgow Palace in guess where ? Linlithgow. The church is in beautiful condition and is regularly in use, there are some beautiful stained glass panels, the ceiling is really nice, this could well be one of the smaller cathedrals in England. It is really quite quiet and you can have a few moments of contemplation in peace. The staff are really friendly, chatty and helpful. If you are in the area please do visit, it is free.
Wanderers Compass Travel Blog (13 months ago)
Lovely church next to the Palace. The stained glass was impressive. The town is charming and a joy to walk around.
David Nisbet (13 months ago)
Historical value amazing. The church next to the palace stunning as well. The staff very helpful and polite. Great visit.
Gail Markle (15 months ago)
Such beautiful architecture. The staff on hand are so friendly and helpful. It's absolutely worth a stop.
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