Perfection and Freedom: high enlightenment in the Edinburgh New Town

I will give a half-hour talk this Sunday, 26 June, at 5pm in St John’s Church, Princes Street. Admittance is free and wine will be served in return for donations.

In August 1792, as revolutionary crowds stormed the Tuileries and
France became a republic, the Reverend Daniel Sandford arrived in the
New Town from Oxford University, and advertised for pupils ‘whose
education in the Classics he will superintend, paying particular
attention to the Grammar and Pronunciation of the English Language.’
In 1818, now Bishop of Edinburgh, Sandford built St John’s Church,
where he ministered until his death in 1830. His ideology seems
strange to us now, and was old-fashioned even to early Victorians. Yet
his unique message, which married gospel truth with enlightenment
optimism, made him an important role model and inspiration to build a
better world to his influential New Town congregation.

This half-hour talk, first given at the Modern British History Network Conference, takes you back 200 years into the mindset which shaped the architecture and liturgy of our church. It will be followed by a short time for discussion, and at 6pm by a chance to experience that architecture and liturgy, at choral evensong.