Thursday, 22 October 2009

OPR and Kirk Session Brought to Life

By the churchyard gates of Duddingston Kirk,there is a gatehouse formerly used to watch for "body-snatchers"in the early 19th century,who stole corpses to sell for medical research. The best known being Burke and Hare.

Adjacent to the main entrance gate there are also four rough stone steps dating from the 17th century. Known as "Loupin on stane" from the Scots word for jumping,it is believed the local farmers brought their wives on horseback  to church and the stone platform enabled the farmer's wife to mount up behind her husband.

Also by the entrance gate there is one of the few remaining examples of  "Jougs" . Once used as punishment, the iron collar in two halves, fastened by a clasp and suspended by a chain was fitted  around the neck.The Kirk Session had punative powers for offences such as blasphemy,swearing,drunkeness,adultery and breaking the Sabbath. Parishoners had to undergo the humiliation of appearing for a number of Sundays with their necks in the Jougs,before proceeding intothe church for public rebuke  .


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