Week 37: All-Scotland Zone Conference and Edinburgh Castle (finally)

I live 2.2 miles away from Edinburgh Castle and it took 37 weeks to get there.  I have been up on the outside grounds once the first month I got here because I wanted to know exactly how to get there and I have been there for the Tattoo but today I finally walked through the gates and into the castle.  More about that in a second.  I like to start at the beginning.

Back: Visitor, Peter, Elders Worley, Wright, Copeland, Gibb, Huang, Sisters Palmer, Wahlquist Front: Sisters Hill, Irving, Jane, Rowanne, Florence, Heather, Audrey
Elder Copeland and me being goofy

Sunday after church I went with the ward to go sing at a rest home.  The people in this place are severely handicapped and there are not very many of them

but we sang to them for about an hour and then visited with them for

just a bit.  It was nice to carol and sing Christmas songs.





Lacey brought me

a Christmas Present when she came in September and told me I could open it the beginning of December so I opened that on Monday.  I think we will have curry this coming Sunday.  She knows me well.  All my favorite things, including a puzzle.  I’ve been spoiled lately with boxes from home.  Thanks mom for the treats.  Things I can’t get here in Scotland!!  It’s nice to have a taste from home.                                                                                                                                             Tuesday was All-Scotland Zone

Conference next door to the office at our church.  I love zone conferences.  It’s so good to see the missionaries and this zone conference was unique.  The morning was in-coming and out-going testimonies and then some instruction but the afternoon was filled with skits, Minute to Win It Games, a movie and good food.  It was so fun to watch the missionaries just play and have fun.  We saw some personalities come out that was really surprising and fun.  Then the President attacked everyone with bags of snowballs and we had a snowball fight for probably 15 minutes.  I had to take a picture of the parking lot because we look like a commercial for Hyundai.    Sister Donaldson got everyone a Christmas Cracker and the missionaries loved them.  A lot of them had never seen these before.  I think we first heard about them when Shon got home from his mission to England years ago.  Cal and I have bought them a few times for Christmas dinners.  They are fun.Elder Fuhoko always reminds me a bit of Landon.  Before I knew him I tried to sneak a picture of him at a zone conference and it didn’t turn out.  Today he took my phone and said – let’s do a selfie so now I have a great picture of him.  Then of course Elder Worley saw us doing a selfie and wanted in on the fun too.  The next picture is three of our newest missionaries.  Elder Hoaldridge, Elder Nadauld and Elder Lowry.

I took over 200 pictures at zone conference so I am having a hard time deciding what to add to my blog.  I was the official photographer this day.  Here are a couple more.  The 3 sisters are Sisters Hood, Ligertwood, and Dahl.  Then we have the Andrus’ who are going home this month.  They have been serving as the self-reliance couple.  Sister Donaldson, Sister Winter and Sister Gifford looking over the desserts.  Then we have our cousins, Elder Gowan and Elder Elton.  And finally Happy Birthday to Elder Wang. I have lots more pictures!!  But I will leave it at that.

We have worked late most every day this week.  I don’t even know why now.  We have just had lots to do.  I think part of it is it gets dark now by about 3:30 in the afternoon so it feels late.  Once we get home we don’t feel like doing anything because it feels like it is the middle of the night.  Today for example is Saturday.  We got up and headed out to the castle.  Then we walked over to the Christmas Market then took the bus home.  We hopped in our car and went out to Primark and a few other stores then drove over to Costco area in search of a few things for a service project the ward is doing.  We were exhausted after all that and I thought it had to be about 8:00 but I looked at the clock at it was 5:45.  We really packed a lot into today.

So Edinburgh Castle.  We finally walked through those gates.  I was a little disillusioned because I had envisioned that we would be walking into a physical castle but this castle is still a bit of a working castle and it focuses mostly on military things.  It is made up of several buildings and there is an actual residence there that someone lives in but there was no big castle like I thought there would be.  It was neat though and I’m glad we went.  Apparently we are going to have to go back because we chose to skip the prisons (we were getting cold) and Lacey says that was their favorite part.  Also they loved the room with the counterfeit money.  We didn’t find that either so we must not have walked into every building after all.

Drums were essential to the successful operation of the army as signalling instruments which sounded “calls” telling soldiers what to do in battle and in camp. Along with the regimental pipes, they also provided music on the march. The drums were often placed in the center of the regiment, beside the colours.  To lose the drums in action was a great disgrace because it indicated that the regiment had been routed by the enemy.  Drummers were paid a few pence more than ordinary soldiers and were more elaborately dressed.

Here are a few pictures looking out over the castle walls.  Can you see the Christmas Market in the second picture.  We walked over there after we were done at the castle.  We didn’t stay long because the church discourages missionaries from going to the Christmas Markets.  They said if we go to always be aware of openings into the markets where cars might be able to enter and always be thinking of escape plans.  We didn’t stay long enough because there were so many people it wasn’t even fun.  But we did have some good crepes.  This third picture is the old palace on the castle grounds and the wall on the right is the old chapel that is the oldest building in all of Edinburgh.  It was build in 1130.

I learned some interesting things at this castle.  First Mary Stewart or Mary Queen of Scots.  She was crowned Queen of Scots at the age of 9 months. The ceremony was held on Sunday the 9th of September 1543 in the Chapel Royal at Stirling Castle. Then shortly after that she was sent to France to live for her safety.  Mary returned to Scotland when she was 18 to begin her personal reign.

In 1563 Mary, Queen of Scots, married Henry, Lord Darnley. They had a son, Charles James, on 19 June 1566 but within a year Darnley had been murdered. Mary had remarried and been forced to abdicate on 24 July 1567.

Five days later her son King James VI was crowned at Stirling in the Kirk of the Holy Rude. The Crown, Sword and Sceptre were brought from Edinburgh Castle for the occasion and for the third time in a century Scotland had an infant sovereign.  This divided the people between the Queen’s Party and the King’s Party.

In 1571, the King’s supporters besieged Edinburgh Castle which was held for Mary by Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange. The King’s Party, wishing to hold a Parliament at Stirling, demanded the Honours from Sir William. (The Honours are the sword, staff and crown). He refused, so replicas were fashioned in silver-gilt.  In 1573 Kirkcaldy finally surrendered and the replicas were melted down and the original Honours took their place with the royal Scotland.

In 1633 King Charles I was crowned in Edinburgh. He was robed in Edinburgh Castle and then rode in grand procession behind the Honours to Holyrood Abbey. There the king was anointed and crowned. He was not a popular king and because of this they country was thrown into a revolution and civil war. In 1649 he was executed in England and his son was proclaimed the new Scottish king. Cromwell’s Army invaded Scotland and the Honours were taken north for safety, probably to Stirling Castle until on 1 January 1651 King Charles II was crowned at Scone. (Scone is where we saw the Highland Cows a few weeks ago.) His was the last coronation in Scotland and the last at which the Scottish Honours were used.

In June 1651 the Honours were taken to Dunnottar Castle to be hidden from Cromwell who had already destroyed the English Crown Jewels. But the castle was besieged and the Honours demanded from the Governor. Two local women saved the Honours by going into the castle under the pretense of visiting the Governor’s wife.  When they left they were carrying Scotland’s Honours; the Crown in Christian Granger’s skirts (she was the ministers wife) and the Sceptre and Sword, broken in half, in a bundle of flax being carried by her maid.  They smuggling them out of Dunnottar by walking right through the English Camp to nearby Kinneff which was ten miles to the South.

For eight years the Honours lay buried in Kinneff Church. In 1660, after King Charles II was proclaimed “king of three kingdoms” in Edinburgh, they were dug up from their hiding place by the Reverend James Granger and George Ogilvy and returned to Edinburgh Castle in December 1660.

In 1707 the parliaments of Scotland and England were united. This made it so the Scottish Honours were no longer needed. After Parliament adjourned on 26 March 1707 they were carried back to the Castle and placed in a great oak chest in the Crown Room, the lid closed and padlocks put in place.  The door to the Crown Room was locked and sealed.  For 111 years the Honours were locked away. For over a century they were basically forgotten until Walter Scott obtained a Royal Warrant to open the Crown Room.

On the 4th of February 1818 the masonry over the doorway was broken down and the door unlocked. Then the great chest was broken into.  Not everyone believed the Honours would be there but to everyone’s joy, they were.  Just as they had been left over a century earlier.  Since that time they have gone in grand procession to the Palace of Holyroodhouse to be presented to King George IV and they have been buried during World War II.  But other than that they have been on display in Edinburgh Castle.  We were able to see them but we couldn’t take pictures.  This is a sign showing what they look like.

Well, I guess that is enough for today.  I either bored you to tears or you liked learning along with me.  I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday.  I’m thinking of you always.  Love you.




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