Friday, 11 May 2012

St John's in St John's town

Perth takes it's name from the pictish word for woods, but it only became fixed as the name of the city in late 19th century. Before that Perth usually referred to the area around it. In the late medieval time it was usually called after it's church, St John's, so it was St John's toun which by the 19th century was appearing as St Johnstone on some maps. I'm sure by now all you football fans out there will have noticed that the name hasn't disappeared as the local footy team is called St Johnstone.

Below is the church of St John as it stands today in the heart of the city. There has been a church here since the 12th century when a settlement grew round about it. The current church church was constructed mostly between 1440 and 1500.


In the square around the church are a number of carved animal heads sitting on plinths. They are based on the some of the animals which adorn the church itself I think.






The chap looking after the church that day was telling us that the church was made from two churches in the 1920s. Slightly puzzling since the church was pretty much the right shape for an ancient church as it stood. Turns out that he wasn't wrong but we were only given half a story. The church started of as one church and after the reformation was divided up into three churches, imaginatively known as the East, Middle and West churches, and they stayed that way till they were all combined together again in the '20s.


As regulars may have noticed, I rather like a piece of stained glass and St John's has it's fair share. This window is often known as the Blue window. Made in 1975 it marks the connection between the local council and the kirk. A room has been built down at that end of the church, leaving this window badly obscured. Such a shame that this lovely window is now effectively in a corridor.




Dedicated in 1955 in the presence of the late Queen Mother, this window celebrates the towns long connection with the Black Watch regiment.


A statue of John the Baptist by Indian sculptor Finandra Bose


No information on this window was provided but it's patently St George. Great dragon.



A tapistry commissioned by the 51st Highland Division Veterans Association in 2008.
Designed by Alan Heriot and woven in Edinburgh at the Dovecote Studios.


Some carving on the pews in the trancepts.




This is one of a pair of rather lovely candle sticks - a gift from the district council in 1993


The cloth on the pulpit - still positioned where John Knox preached in 1559 - I'm not sure he would have approved (I do though)


The area down at the East end of the church is known as the Knox Chapel. It is dominated by this window of the last supper by Douglas Strachan. It is quite delicately coloured and is worth a closer look because the details in the faces are excellent.




According to Wikipedia, this is the largest collection of medieval bells in the country. I see now in the photo that there is a little drumstick provided. Now if I'd spotted that at the time...... Darn!!


No information on this window either I'm afraid.




We had gone in rather close to closing time so only just had time to grab a few snaps of the carvings on the roof on the way out. This is the nearest to an in focus one I have. 


7 comments:

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

The stained glass is wonderful. The Last Supper especially so with the attention to detail in the faces as you said. Cool dragon too. What a neat church.

Ellie said...

Some fascinating facts you got there Sandy. Churches are fascinating places to visit aren't they. Those stained glass windows are amazing.

Shundo said...

I like the wavy hair and receding hairlines of the Apostles. Those church craftsmen sure liked to go to town on the exotic animals.

the paranoid toothbrush said...

St John the Baptist pic....the letter reads..
Dear John..
Stay away from Salome...
from a well-wisher. :)

Sandy's witterings said...

Thank you John and Ellie, I agree, best church for stained glass for a while.

Shundo, Folicly challenged apostles certainly aren't the norm in most last supper scenes.

Dear Miss Toothbrush - I'll bet John ignores his note even though he'd be off his head to.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Lovely carvings and stained glass. i didn't know that about St Johnstone (not being a footie fan...)

Sandy's witterings said...

Juliet, I didn't know about the St Johnston bit either till I was reading about the town just before we went there a couple of weeks ago.