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Charity no. SC042128

Special Exhibition : 400th Anniversary of Rev. George Gillespie (1613-1648)

Covenant or Crown? Learn about the life and times of this important Scot


Who was George Gillespie? What was Kirkcaldy like 400 years ago?

George Gillespie was born in 1613, the second son of Kirkcaldy Old Kirk minister Rev. John Gillespie, a staunch Presbyterian called the "thundering preacher".

In his short life of 35 years, George Gilespie became a leading churchman, an eloquent preacher and debater, a statesman in turbulent times and an author of the Westminster Confession of Faith, still the Presbyterian subordinate standard for matters of faith, conduct and church government.

When he took ill in 1648 he was Minister of the High Kirk of St. Giles in Edinburgh and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Seeking recuperation in Kirkcaldy where his brother was Minister, he died of TB in December 1648. Such were the denouncements he had made of bishops that on the orders of Archbishop Sharp, his tombstone was broken at the Mercat Cross in Kirkcaldy, and was only replaced with the one still in the south porch by his grandson 100 years later.

Exhibition details and opening hours

Visit our exhibition on George Gillespie's life and times. The original exhibition, researched and displayed in 2013 on the quadricentenary of Gillespie's birth is available for viewing in the church. It is exhibited in the summer during July and August on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm (last entry).

The church is open to visitors at other times outwith July and August, and the display can be brought out on request. Some prior notice is helpful. The Kirk is presently closed under Government regulations for coronavirus but is usually open on Monday evenings (6.30pm - 9pm), Tuesday evenings (6.30pm - 9pm), Wednesday mornings (10am - 1pm), Friday afternoons (2pm - 4.30pm) and Sundays (10.45am - 3.30pm).

 Further details of the original exhibition and associated lectures are obtained by clicking on the heading above.

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