Edinburgh Scotland was no different because after filling our stomachs with a hearty Scottish breakfast and hot English breakfast tea, we walked to the Royal Mile where the unusual crown-shaped tower of St. Giles Kirk caught our eye and lured us into its vast interior.
The patron saint of the city of Edinburgh is St Giles and the church was named after him. St. Giles was a 7th century hermit (and, later, abbot) who lived in France, some say that the fact that he became the patron of both town and church was probably due to the ancient ties between Scotland and France.
In 1559, at the height of the Scottish Reformation, the fiery Protestant leader John Knox was chosen to be the minister at St. Giles by Edinburgh's Town Council. During this time, relics were sold, and church treasures were melted down in accordance with protestant teachings.
In 1638, those opposed to King Charles’ plans to reintroduce the Episcopal church in Scotland signed the National Covenant. They were called “The Covenanters” and were strict reformers. Montrose felt they were excessive in their zeal and broke with them to support and lead the royalist army.
Montrose was imprisoned and finally executed outside St Giles' at the Mercat Cross in 1650, and his head was placed on a spike outside the church. After the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660, Montrose's head and body were exhumed and placed in St Giles' with full honors. The marble tomb effigy lies peacefully in the small aisle chapel.