curiosity about the ways of the world

In the eye of the beholder


In my minds eye this was a great shot, the outrageous St Edwards church sitting pretty between two farm sheds. A folly framed. Now I come to download it from my new mobile the picture hasn’t turned out quite what I imagined when I was teetering on the wall outside a caravan on Canna in June. 

But it’s worth going back to try again I think, not that anyone needs an excuse for returning to Canna.  St Edwards is that ugly great church on Sanday, a grand gesture built by the Marchioness of Bute as a landmark to shipping in 1890. (As if the island of Rum wasn’t a big enough landmark.)And I see, according to John Lorne Campbell in Canna, it was designed by the architect William Frame. Ah ha, a folly Framed!

Who knows what was in the mind’s eye of Lady Bute. Or what possessed the Hebridean Trust and others to spend £1 million trying – unsuccessfully – to convert the old wreck into a study centre at the beginning of the 21st century. To me it is a comforting landmark from a distance, oddly unwelcoming up close but wonderfully atmospheric seen through a caravan window on a wet midsummer night.

The caravan is perfectly placed near the Square on Canna, so that you can sit looking  out towards Rum between the barn on the left (where Julie and Gordon celebrated their wedding three midsummers ago) and the shed on the right where huge generators make electricity for all the homes on the island.

There’s room for a windmill on Sanday. That would be a landmark with a purpose.


1 Comment

  1. Ray

    It is difficult to be kind about St Edwards. Even in 1890 when there was a reasonable population on Sanday, it was in the wrong place and a long trek from the community. Its ugly style is out of sympathy with the rest of the island, as is the black stone from which it was built. As a final insult it was named after an English saint.

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