Thursday, August 11, 2016

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 259

 John Knox's House, Edinburgh, Scotland

Traditionally associated with John Knox (1513-1572), he reportedly may have only lived in it for a few months during the siege of Edinburgh Castle; nevertheless, this postcard photograph is of what is called “John Knox’s House” in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The first mention of Knox living in this house started around 1800 and was repeated by Victorian writers until the tradition was established and even appears in a visitor's pamphlet. Although the house would have been a familiar feature in the city during his lifetime, a Catholic owned it at the time of Knox and it is unlikely he visited or stayed here since he was a Protestant religious reformer.  It is believed that he maintained a residence in Warriston Close instead where there is a small plaque with the years he lived there. The postcard is unused with the number 1024 on the reverse lower left.  The publisher/printer is identified as Braemar Films Ltd., of Edinburgh.

The house was built beginning in 1490 with some restorations and repairs in later years.  It passed through several hands via inheritance and forfeiture.  James Mossman, husband of Mariota Arres who had inherited the home in 1556, was a goldsmith.  He worked in Edinburgh Castle making coins for supporters of Mary Queen of Scots who were holding the castle during the siege when she was exiled in England.   Mossman was subsequently charged with counterfeiting following the surrender of the Castle in 1573 and was hanged, quartered, and beheaded.  The house was forfeited and given in the name of James VI of Scotland to James Carmichael. 

In 1850 the building was restored.  Alexander Handyside did carvings made for that restoration.  Another restoration occurred in 1984.  Many decorations and paintings have been added and the house and contents are now a museum.  Today the Church of Scotland owns it as part of a new Socttish Storytelling Center.

John Knox a clergyman, theologian, writer and for a time a private tutor to young boys was born around 1513 in Scotland.  He is known as the leader of the Protestant Reformation, a founder of the Presbyterian denomination in Scotland.  It is not known when or how Knox became converted to the Protestant faith but he was a close friend of the reformer George Wishart, even acting as Wishart’s armed bodyguard at times.  Because of his religious beliefs he was arrested by the French and spent 19 months as a galley slave.  Later he spent 5 years exiled in England where he was licensed to work for the Church of England and preached Protestant doctrines.  Following this period he spent several years in Continental Europe preaching and working for the reformation.  He was married and widowed then married a second time when he was 50 and his bride was 17.  He died 14 November 1572, survived by five children, two sons with his first wife, Margery Bowes Knox who died in 1560, and three daughters with his second wife, Margaret Stewart Knox, survived Knox. 

For more information about John Knox and the house, see:

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