St Giles’ Files

We’re back! Welcome to the new series of the St Giles’ Files, where we will be covering even more history, and perhaps uncovering even more secrets of the building. In each episode we discuss an aspect of St Giles’, from medieval architecture to political intrigue, so stay tuned! 

As restrictions ease and life at St Giles’ gets busier, we are not able to dedicate as much time to the podcast. Going forward, we will be releasing them when we can, hopefully to coincide with exciting projects coming up. If you have any questions or suggestions for us, we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at, or through our contact page on the website.

Episode One: The Road (More or) Less Travelled

In this first new episode we are honoring one of Scotland’s most beloved saints, Queen Margaret. As she is often associated with pilgrimages, we will discuss what a pilgrimage was and what they have become today with a few traditional, and not so traditional, examples. Apologies for the audio here, we managed to pick up a bit of ambient sound from the cathedral. Bonus points for anyone who hears the sound of the bells in the background!

Episode Two: Into the Archives

This week, we are discussing the idea of cathedral archives, and giving you a behind-the-scenes peek at what, and how, history is stored at St Giles’.

Episode Three: The Patience of Saints

Episode Three: Saintly Windo

Why does this Presbyterian Kirk have so many saints in it? Our object of the week is Karl Parson’s underrated Saint’s window, which leads to a discussion on religious imagery, Celtic Christian mythology and a large, angry mob in Fife….

Karl Parson’s Saint’s Window

Episode Four: Mark Our Words

Inspired by a temporary ceramics studio at the back of St Giles’, Ciara and Stephen ponder cathedral craftsmanship via the ancient practice of mason marks. Part professional necessity, part art, they are a tangible link to other Scottish buildings, offer us new possibilities in making the cathedral more accessible, and are a chance to get really excited about databases.

Hazel Frost:

Mason Marks Project:

Episode Five: It’s All In The Execution

We currently have a Crime and Punishment board in the cathedral, detailing various misdeeds in the St Giles’ area during the Covenanting period, as well as the often macabre justice doled out. This has led us to wonder what exactly is a church’s role in historical justice, and what can we learn from the legal systems of the past? Why did St Giles’ have a jail in it? And were the citizens of 16th century Edinburgh really as bloodthirsty as tour guides would have you believe?

Warning: This episode discusses historic crimes and punishments, some of which may be distressing.