It was by complete chance that I went into Brechin Cathedral a few weeks ago. I was going elsewhere, had misread the opening hours and this was en route. The term cathedral for this church is purely historical. David I appointed a bishop here in the middle of the 12th century, but like St Giles in Edinburgh, the church has since come under the care of the Church of Scotland, who do not have bishops. A cathedral being the seat of a bishop, this is, strictly speaking, not one.
It's also one of the smallest churches that you're ever likely to see called a cathedral, but by gum, they haven't half tried to make up for it in quantity and quality of stained glass.
The most prominent artist amongst the windows is William Wilson who made 16 windows for the cathedral between 1952 and 1961. The next five pictures are all by him.
This window was designed by Henry Dearle from William Morris' company.
The angels above the window though are thought to have been the work of none other than Edward Burne-Jones.
Around the altar are 14 windows by Henry Holiday (he has already appeared in a recent blog here). The next 7 pictures are from the 10 windows on either side of the Altar featuring scenes from the life of Christ.
This window from 1932 is by Herbert Henry (I'm thinking that whoever was in charge of buying windows for this church had a deep love of alliteration). Looking at the style of the figures in the window, it's not surprising to find that Herbert Henry was highly regarded by William Wilson.
Looking up, we return to Mr Wilson again for high in the church are a series of small windows featuring Scottish saints (or at least saints with a strong Scottish connection). St Machar was an Irish saint who was active in Scotland in the 6th century (though most of what we know about him comes from a book of almost a thousand years later). There is a line of thought that suggests that Saint Machar and Saint Mungo are one and the same person. If this is so then he's managed to get two windows because St Mungo has a window too.
Four more of the windows from the same series - featuring Saint Cuthbert, Saint Andrew, Saint Margaret and Saint Ninian.
The largest window by William Wilson in the church is the Great West Window, unveiled in 1958.
Though I found Brechin Cathedral mainy interesting for its glass, it would be wrong to dash off now without mentioning the round tower outside. It is one of only two of it's type in Scotland, the other being in Abernethy. There are many example of this type of tower in Ireland and the seem to date from 950 to 1180 AD - this one is thought to be around 1100 AD.
This door in the tower is the most detailed part and features Christ at the top with a saint on each side and crouching beasts in the bottom corners.
I liked the dragon on top of the church - it's got a feel of one of the creatures on the Pictish stones that appear in the area.