John Knox’s Pulpit

John Knox’s Pulpit SLO R NO188058 1 372 255m

    the Preaching Rock 1840 Leighton 1840 ii, 193
    John Kno ’s Pulpit 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn

pn John Knox  + SSE pulpit

A name applied to an exposed piece of sandstone bedrock shaped by the elements into a small covered platform resembling a pulpit. Unfortunately, in 2004, Fife Council decided it was unsafe and, despite local opposition, blew it up. For a photo of the crag before the Pulpit’s removal, see http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/145989; and for one taken afterwards, entitled ‘John Knox’s Pulpit No More’, see ibid. 145987 (both photos by Ian Bruce).

    There is no indication that John Knox ever preached, or did anything else, here. Leighton, however, discusses the religious disputes a century after Knox, noting that when the minister of Strathmiglo conformed to episcopacy ‘he was deserted by the greater part of his congregation. ... When the dispute became more intense, and persecution began to prevail, the inhabitants of Strathmiglo ... went to the hills and the muirs to hear sermon from, and to worship with, their own outed and persecuted ministers. One of the most noted of the wild places in which they sought to worship in peace after their own fashion was “Glenvale”, a deep and wild ravine in the Lomond hills, where the shires of Fife and Kinross meet, a place now seldom visited by any one. At the bottom of the wildest portion of this ravine is a large rock formed somewhat like a pulpit, from which the outed ministers often preached to their harassed flocks; and here on different occasions many persons were apprehended by soldiers sent for that purpose. The rock is still called the preaching rock’ (Leighton 1840 ii, 193).

    OS Name Book 28, 29 writes: ‘A large mass of sandstone Rock near the west end of Glen Vale. I have not been able to ascertain how it got the name but it is possible preachings may have taken place at it at a former time’.

    Immediately beside the ‘pulpit’ OS 1:10,000 (2007) marks ‘cave’.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 4