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Credit: Am Baile/ Highland Photographic Archive
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The Rose Window and Methodism

By Janet Bryer

The majority of the pictures used for publicity of the Rose Window which is to be a part of the Spirit of the Highlands - Inverness Castle project have shown the window from the outside - the view most people would have experienced and which became part of the history of Inverness. However deep within the archives there was a picture of a similar window from the inside, not in colour unfortunately - but one that sets the context for the Rose Window.

An extract from the Inverness Courier (September 1868) gave a description of the Old Methodist Church as 'Tho small it is very neat in the Normal style type of architecture and an ornament to the locality in which it is sited. In the gable of the building there is a wheel window fitted with expensive coloured glass the gift of a friend as likewise are the coloured tiles in the passage.'

The inside of a church with a large stained glass window - the Rose Window Image provided by Am Baile/ Highland Photographic Archive

Rose Window in St. Columba's, Inverness.

The gift came from James Keith a bookseller living in Dingwall who followed the same profession as his brother Charles, who was based in Church Street in Inverness. James ran a Methodist class meeting in Dingwall for many decades and Charles was also a dedicated member of the church in Inverness. When Charles died it was said that 'even when the strength of the Church was humanly speaking very small he was ever loyal to and confidant of the spiritual influence manifested among the people through the ministerial work of the church'.

The importance of the window to the Inverness community is vital but the picture showing the window from the inside shows the church context - the window between the pulpit and the lectern. Members of the church in 1963 remember that the pulpit was the 'piece de resistance'. This serves as a reminder that the beauty of the window outside was a reflection of the church's purpose inside. The Methodists in Inverness have always been welcomed by the people of Inverness and it is in that welcome that part of the Spirit of the Highlands can be seen.

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The history of the Highlands and Islands comes alive in photographs such as this one of St Columba's rose window. Such photographs shine a light on significant historical moments and on local communities We would love to know, are there any photographs, art pieces, or objects you feel encapsulate the community 'Spirit of the Highlands and Islands'? Tell us below, we can't wait to hear from you!

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