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A unique Carmelite church

The blog about the Carmelite foundation in Hulne, Northumberland the other day reminded me about a unique Carmelite site in Scotland. The Priory church of St Mary of Mount Carmel at Queensferry on the Firth of Forth in Scotland is the only Carmelite foundation in the British Isles still in use for regular worship, out of the 12 founded in Scotland and the 39 in England. George, the Laird of Dundas, invited the Carmelite Friars to come and settle in Queensferry around 1330. They were in temporary buildings until a century later. The rocks to the north of the Church show traces of a cutting to form a landing stage for the ferry boats and other vessels. It is probable that, in addition to their daily round of worship and their farming and teaching activities, the friars maintained a hostel for travellers delayed by bad weather. In 1441 James Dundas gifted a piece of land, lying in and around the town of Queensferry for the Church of St Mary the Virgin and for the construction of certain buildings to be erected there in the form of a monastery. By the later 19th century the domestic buildings, cloisters, and nave had disappeared but in 1890 the remains were restored for the use of the Episcopal Church in Scotland. Outside, on the right hand side of the easternmost window in the south wall is what is known as a "mass clock" in fact a sort of sundial with 24 radiating lines- this was used to regulate the times of services before the invention of clocks. I often wonder how different life must have been before the spread of clocks and watches.


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S, infant struggling with whooping cough

S, lady who has suffered multiple bereavements, she is now very fragile physically.

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