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St Peter and the Holy Rood
St. Peter and the Holy Rood
The Scottish Episcopal Church is in full communion with the World-wide Anglican Church (which of course includes the Church of England), the Church of Ireland and the Lutheran Church.
Priest in Charge : Reverend Wendy Knott, Tel: Thurso (01847) 893393
Assistant Honorary Curates :
Welcome to Thurso and to our church of St. Peter and the Holy Rood.
Our usual services are as follows:
A Brief History of Our Church
After post-Reformation struggles between Episcopacy and Presbyterianism, by 1792 the Episcopal Church had become a “tolerated religion in Scotland”. However, the present church in Thurso was not established until the late nineteenth century under the auspices of local benefactors.
The first service was held on 14th August, 1881, in the Drill Hall, Thurso, with the Right Reverend Robert Eden D.D., Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness.
The site for the church was given by Sir Tollemache Sinclair and “a grand athletic festival in aid of church funds was organised by Mrs. Sinclair of Barrock”.
Mr. Alexander Ross of Inverness was appointed Architect and the Foundation Stone was laid in 1884.
The Reverend Lumsden Walker was appointed priest and took up his duties on Advent Sunday, 3rd December, 1882.
Although not fully completed, the church was opened for divine worship in May, 1885. However, due to an outstanding building debt, the church was not formally consecrated by the Bishop until Sunday, 7th September, 1890, under its title “St. Peter and the Holy Rood”. At that service, 6 candidates were confirmed, 37 people received Holy Communion and the collection amounted to £23/4/0 (twenty three pounds and four shillings, or £23.20). the text for the sermon was “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship” (Acts, chapter 2, verse 42).
The original design of the church included a chancel but financial circumstances delayed its construction. However, on 26th May 1905 a Foundation Stone was laid. The new chancel was dedicated by Bishop Maclean on 4th September 1906. The work was funded by Mrs. Sinclair of Barrock as a memorial to her son, Mr. Norman Alexander Sinclair. A plate on the left wall of the chancel shows this dedication.
Some Items of Interest in the Church
The carved reredos behind the altar is made from a series of panels brought from the Continent (it is thought from Germany) and gifted to the church in 1906 by Sir Tollemache Sinclair. The panels depict “The Ascension” and “The Descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost”.The pulpit is in memory of the Reverend Lumsden Walker, priest of this church from 1882 to 1891 and 1898 to 1923.
At the back of the church, the baptismal font was given to the church in 1885 by Mrs. Duff Dunbar.
Behind the baptismal font, is part of the family pew of the Reverend Alexander Munro of Coul, Rosshire, which dates from 1676. It originated in Old St. Peter’s Church, Thurso, which was built in the thirteenth century by Bishop Gilbert of Moray who became Bishop of Caithness in 1222.
The Children’s Chapel was dedicated in 1966 to the authoress Christina Keith.
"In a small case up on the left wall at the rear of the church are a pewter chalice and paten which came from the "Associated Congregation" of Old St. Peter's and are dated 1782. Due to deterioration of the metal, they can no longer be used."
The organ was gifted by the Trustees of the (now closed) Temple Methodist Chapel in Glazebrook, Lancashire. It was dismantled, transported and re-assembled in this church in 1973 by the then organist and a team of dedicated helpers.
The painting of St. Peter on the left wall of the nave is in memory of Father John Collingwood Hadfield, Archdeacon of Caithness and former priest of this church. Painted by local artist Hazel Cashmore, it was given to the church in 1994 by the Hadfield family.