St Giles’ Becomes a Cathedral

A full system of presbyterian church government was not set up in the Scottish Church in 1560 at the Reformation, and bishops remained a feature during the reign of James VI. In 1633, his son Charles I decided to create a new diocese of Edinburgh, with St Giles’ as its Cathedral. In 1635 William Forbes became the first bishop of the new diocese of Edinburgh. The King’s ecclesiastical and other policies led to civil war in Scotland and bishops were abolished by the 1638 General Assembly. They were created again when Charles II was restored to the British throne in 1660, and finally abolished by William III in 1690. St Giles’ and other Scottish cathedrals, such as Glasgow and Dunblane, still retain that title, in recognition of their long heritage of Christian worship.