Old High history book now available

Tales of the Old High image

Our resident historian, Ross Martin, has written a quirky book of essays on aspects of the history of the Old High Church.

The Old High is the Town Church of Inverness, on a site dating back to Celtic times.

Tales of the Old High was launched on Friday 22 November when Ross spoke about his book and gave a tour of the building.

You can buy the book by sending a cheque for £5 made payable to Old High St Stephen’s Church to:

Ross Martin

‘Roseneath’

Drummond Crescent

Inverness

IV2 4QR.

You can also buy it from Waterstones in Inverness, or online from www.waterstones.com .

It’s also available on Sundays at both of our places of worship. Or contact us for a copy.

Here’s the introduction to the book by our Minister:

Ross MartinWe’ve often urged Ross Martin, our resident historian, to put in print his many tales of the Old High. Now he has done so, in this delightfully quirky volume.

It will stand as fitting companion to the history of the Old High by the Rev Francis J L MacLauchlan, and the Centenary History of St Stephen’s by the late Malcolm Cumming

But it will make fascinating reading, not just for those interested in church history, but for anyone with an interest in the history of Inverness and the Highlands.

Out of ancient charters, kirk session minute books and the very fabric of the building, Ross brings stories to amuse, delight and surprise!

Here are tales of a missing cupboard, a black pulpit, and the generosity of Mary, Queen of Scots. We hear of the engineers who changed the Highlands in the 18th and 19th centuries, of the tragedy and chaos of the wars of the 20th century, and of the close connections between Town and Kirk.

I’ve discovered that a predecessor preached to the town’s defenders during a clan attack; that another needed government soldiers to allow him to take possession of his church; and that the preaching of another was described by the venerable Lord Cockburn as “two and a quarter hours of sheer absolute nonsense”. All of which puts any contemporary ecclesiastical troubles into perspective.

Christianity is an historical faith. In an age which sometimes has little sense of history, Christians live by the stories of the Bible, and the best of their tradition, in order to live faithfully in the present and to have hope for the future.

When showing people around the Old High, I sometimes say that it has been a Celtic, Roman Catholic and Episcopal Church, and that it is currently Presbyterian. All the major Christian communities of Inverness have their roots in this site, which properly belongs not simply to the congregation of Old High St Stephen’s, but to all the citizens of the Highland Capital, for it helped to make us who we are.

Thank you Ross, for this a wonderful volume which lets the stones tell their story.

Peter W Nimmo