April A-Z: O is for Old High Church

The base of the tower of the Old High Church dates to around the 15th Century, making the lower tower the oldest structure in Inverness – I wonder if that includes this lovely little wooden door inserted half way up the wall?

The rest of the current church itself was built in the late 1700s, but apparently there have been multiple churches on this hilly spot since the times of St Columba, who reputedly brought Christianity to the Pictish peoples who lived at that time in what is now Inverness, preaching from St Michael’s Mount here on the banks of the River Ness in AD565.

Since the early 1700s there has been a curfew bell rung every evening – originally at 5pm but nowadays at 8pm – as when Inverness was built mainly of timber structures, walking with an open flame would have been a definite fire hazard and without a lamp it was deemed too dangerous to be out and about in the dark.

From our house we can actually hear the curfew bell ringing in the distance but it’s quickly become one of those everyday background noises you just seem to filter out because it’s just always there. Obviously there’s no actual legal curfew due to fire risk any more, just a stay at home strategy due to coronavirus, but 300 years on it’s nice to have that continuity of tradition.

When I was young I used to think it was called the High Church simply because it was on a high hill, and I was almost right – apparently in the days when the church steeple would easily have been the highest building around, it literally was the high church! 🙂

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip!

6 thoughts on “April A-Z: O is for Old High Church

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