New embroidered hanging is finally installed at Stirling's Church of the Holy Rude after Covid setback

One of the Church of Scotland's most historic kirks will mark the installation of its latest artwork with a service of dedication this Sunday, June 5.

The new wall hanging created by a local embroiders, the Stirling Stitchers, celebrates the 900 year history of the Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling, the only active church in Scotland to have hosted a royal coronation.

The six foot by 12 foot hanging was commissioned by the Friends of the Holy Rude in memory of former session clerk Iain Murray White, who bequeathed a generous sum of money to the church, and has been planned as an on-going project with space left for the inclusion of important church events in the future.

900 years of history

The Stirling Stitchers hanging has been installed at the Church of the Holy Rude ahead of Sunday's dedication service.

A core team of 20 members of Stirling Stitchers worked on the project, creating individual badges celebrating aspects of the church itself such as its beautiful Angel Window, or groups or organisations associated with the church including local infantry regiment, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

There is even a musical reference with notes from the tune Crimond, best known as a setting for the 23rd Psalm, which was composed by D. William Baird Ross, who latterly served as organist at the church.

Stirling Stitchers chairwoman Kirstine Higgins revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the project had taken much longer than anticipated.

"It took almost three years to complete due to Covid restrictions making it impossible to meet face to face," she said.

"But working on the hanging at a difficult time brought us together as a group when we needed it most. When Covid guidelines were relaxed enough to allow face to face meetings the group got together to apply the individual designs to the background."

That background features the Stirlingshire countryside with the Forth creating a "River of Life" image running from Alpha to Omega.

"We passed the background on to a professional local quilter who used her long-arm quilting machine to create further texture and interest. An arched window effect completed the background," Kirstine added.

Installing the hanging at the church.

Stretching from Stirling to Inverness

The Stirling Stitchers, who had previously been members of the local branch of the Embroiderers' Guild and have been involved in a number of other local projects, also had some help in creating the hanging.

One of the church sculptures is recreated for the hanging.

"On Holy Rude Open days our stitchers invited visitors both local and from abroad to add their own stitches to the work. The Minister and Friends of the Holy Rude also added stitches," Kirstine revealed.

"So many stitches were used in the project that if the thread was measured it would probably stretch from Stirling to Inverness."

Sadly a much loved member of the Stirling Stitchers, Heather Bovil from Dunblane, died shortly after completing her work on the hanging and never had the opportunity to see it in place in the church.

However, most other Stirling Stitchers members are expected to attend this Sunday's dedication service, though Kirstine herself will also miss the occasion due to a prior family commitment.

"Fortunately there will be a lot of representatives from our group there to see it in place and take pictures," she said.

The dedication ceremony will take place at 11am on Sunday, June 5, at the Church of the Holy Rude, St John Street, Stirling.