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The Winchburgh Centenary Tapestry
As part of the celebrations for the centenary of the parish of Winchburgh in 1991 a number of members and friends of the congregation decided to work a tapestry showing the witness of the church in the area. The tapestry was worked as a number of separate panels, then sewn together, and hangs on the wall of the church, protected from the light by a curtain when the church is unoccupied. All the panels were designed by members of the congregation, and a number of different techniques were used in the working of the panels.
The central panel shows the church surrounded by trees, much as it is today! The surrounding panels illustrate either biblical or local scenes: the two outer columns depict incidents from the Bible, and the panels surrounding the church illustrate aspects of the life or history of the area.
The left hand column shows scenes from the Old Testament: creation, the burning bush, Noah's Ark, and Joseph in his coat of many colours. The right hand column represent events from the New Testament: the Nativity, the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the crucifixion and the empty tomb on Easter morning. Surrounding the church, starting at the top left hand corner, are panels depicting Duntarvie Castle, the Swan Pond at Glendevon Farm, the miners' rows, the ruined church at Auldcathie, the school, the shale mining industry, Niddrie Castle, the communion chalice, the war memorials in the church, the canal, the brickworks, and the farms round the village.
The miners rows were built around 1900, and at the time were much admired as model housing for working families! Auldcathie was a small farming and mining settlement, mentioned in the history of the Church of Scotland in the time of the Reformation, when an "exhorter" was sent out to preach from Kirkliston. The panel illustrating the schools shows the Primary school mascot dressed in the uniform of the time sitting on the roof of the old Junior Secondary school, which stands at the corner of the Beatlie Road, and which for some years housed a school for children with learning difficulties after the Junior Secondary closed. The shale mining industry is represented by miners' tools on top of a "hutch" full of unprocessed shale. Niddrie Castle is famous as the place where Mary Queen of Scots took refuge on the night after she escaped from prison on an island in Loch Leven. At the time the tapestry was worked the memorial tablets in the church were the focus for Remembrance Day Services; the War memorial in Benet Wood Terrace was not erected till later. The canal shown is the Union Canal which links Edinburgh with the Forth Clyde Canal at the Falkirk Wheel. The two chimneys of the brickworks dominated the village for many years, and Winchburgh bricks can be found in buildings throughout West Lothian and further afield.