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Erecting the Clock
The Church Organ
About St. Mungo

St. Mungo’s Parish Church : Penicuik

The story of a church is the story of a people’s journey in faith from one generation to another. The Christian Community in Penicuik may well have its beginnings in the missionary work of St. Mungo (Kentigern) in the latter part of the 6th. century. There are documented references about a church being here by the 12th. century. Indeed in 1296 the local priest Walter Edgar along with the Laird, Hugh de Penicok, had to swear loyalty to Edward 1 at Berwick during the Scottish wars of independence. The church ruins in the cemetery are largely the pre-reformation building as it evolved and was added to (as late as 1733 Sir John Clerk added an aisle to the building). The tower still holds a 5 cwt. bronze bell gifted and dated 1680. Shockingly this is also the site of the 1629 witch burnings, fuelled by the hysteria set in motion by an insecure King James VI, misguided religious leaders and overly diligent civil authorities. We know the names but not much more about these poor women who were so cruelly treated in the name of God and of justice. Thankfully we live in more tolerant times.

The late 18th. century saw the town grow and church records show frequent arguing of the heritors over whose tenants were taking up too much room in the Kirk on a Sunday. Happily the foundation stone for a new church was laid on August 15th. 1770 in the yard of the Schoolmaster’s house. Built in the fashionable neoclassical style, it was a 'T' shaped building with an impressive portico surmounted by a nicely incised Cross. Some time later some locals tried to pull down, what they considered a 'papish' symbol (the Cross), but fortunately they never succeeded.

Although added to, throughout the 19th. century, it is basically the same Church building used by the St. Mungo’s folk to this day. By mid 19th. century musical instruments were allowed to be in Scottish Churches. A fine pipe organ by Miller of Perth was installed in 1884 and it serves as a fine accompaniment to the people’s praise to this day. One can wonder what Mr. John Knox would have thought of this “Kist of Whistles” but the congregation are very pleased with it. Along with a good organist and choir we love our hymn singing. The clock in the pediment originally placed in 1884 has been replaced by modern workings—a gift from the British Legion.

The 20th. century saw St. Mungo’s as a thriving congregation with a great amount of youth work including a very large Sunday School, Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade.

Now in these early years of the 21st. century very different challenges face the church nationally and locally. How do we proclaim and live out the Gospel in the materialistic milieu of our day, in a world very divided by the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'?

Today Penicuik has several churches each with its own distinctive worship style and scope of outreach. St. Mungo’s is playing her part, in being a congregation of the Church of Scotland, with an openness to seek where and how God’s spirit is leading us forward as his Church for the future. Constant changes and new styles, but, the same ever life-giving message of Christ.

If you would like to join us in this journey of faith, hope and serving God, we’d be delighted to have you join us : so that together we can make a difference in our town and our world for Christ’s sake.

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Penicuik: St. Mungo's Parish Church (Church of Scotland). Scottish Charity No SC005838