Opportunity Knox
Opportunity Knox
By: jbhthescots@mac.com, Categories: Words & Images, 1 comment



Glasgow’s Necropolis was always intended to be a multi-denominational burial ground, and one of its oddities is that while some of its monuments relate to multiple burials, others are in memory of people who are not buried here at all. The most striking example of the latter category is what became the first and also the tallest monument in the Necropolis, dedicated to the Protestant reformer John “No Popery here” Knox  (c. 1505/14-1572), who scowls down over Glasgow from his summit perch.


Originally, it was erected in 1825 and placed on top of Fir Park Hill, 200 feet above the River Clyde. The 12ft high standing stone statue, with Knox all glorified in his Geneva gown garbs, was designed by William Warren and carved by Robert Forrest. But to show Knox’s importance to the Calvinist-leaning City Fathers, he was further mounted on top of a 60ft Greek Doric column designed by Thomas Hamilton.


And when the Necropolis was mooted as Glasgow’s first planned cemetery – and to be modelled on the Père Lachaise graveyard in Paris – the opportunistic City Fathers realised this would indeed be an important, grandiose affair; so they immediately transfered Knox there so that their hero would become its centrepiece, around which the rest of the graveyard would be built. Knox’s body, though, is buried in the grounds of St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.


To modern eyes the location of his monument seems a little ironic: Knox is facing west, overlooking Glasgow Cathedral, one of the few medieval churches in Scotland not destroyed during the Reformation in which he played such a leading role. His firebrand preaching is credited with a large influence behind Parliament’s passing of an act abolishing Papal jurisdiction and approving the Confession of Faith as a basis for belief in Scotland. The Scottish Reformation decisively shaped the Church of Scotland and, through it, all other Presbyterian churches worldwide.


Leica M6 & 90mm Elmarit
Kodak Tri-X (200)
HC-110 (Dil.B – 1:31 – 7 min)
Plustek 7600i & Vuescan


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