Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan set Sunday at Christ Church

The Foundation for Historic Christ Church will host the 22nd Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 30, at Historic Christ Church & Museum, 420 Christ Church Road, Weems.

The Kirkin’ is a popular annual event, due in part to the fact that Lancaster County and other nearby areas of Virginia are rich in Scottish heritage, reported publicity chairman Marilyn Hedges.  Several early ministers of Christ Church probably were educated in Scotland.

The Rev. Andrew Jackson, an Ulster Scot, led Christ Church Parish from 1686 to 1710. Jackson’s successor, the Rev. John Bell, took over the parish in 1712 and served for more than three decades.  After Bell’s death in 1743, Christ Church turned to David Currie, a clergyman originally from Edinburgh, who served the parish for almost 50 years.

Hedges notes the Northern Neck’s early tobacco economy also attracted many Scottish merchants to Lancaster County and to its largest town, Kilmarnock.

A Scottish Gaelic word for church, “Kirk” in this case means “blessing.” The Rev. David H. May, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Kilmarnock, will officiate at the service. The Kilmarnock & District Pipe Band, who co-sponsors the event each year, will perform. The St. Andrew’s Society of Williamsburg, another co-sponsor, will provide the color guard and the society’s president Dr. J. Mott Robertson Jr., and vice president Michael Thompson will attend.

Tartans are the traditional plaid emblems of clans and families, and people of many denominations remember their patriotism, faithfulness and independence by the wearing of the tartans representing their clans and the playing of the bagpipes at Sunday’s Kirkin.’ The organizers urge all who are wearing or carrying their own bit o’tartan to come forward for a special blessing of tartan and family during the service, added Hedges.