Cosmic Conversations Start with a Trip Back to the Killing Times

A summer season of fascinating talks at A’ the Airts in Sanquhar

The first in this summer’s series of Cosmic Conversations in Sanquhar will involve a trip back to the Killing Times, one of the most notorious periods in Scottish History.

The public talks, at A’ the Airts community arts and crafts centre, are being staged in partnership with Crawick Multiverse, the 55-acre artland just outside the Dumfries and Galloway town.

Duncan Close, Chairman of the Royal Burgh of Sanquhar Heritage Society, is the first of the speakers with a talk entitledSanquhar and the Killing Times: The Covenanting Struggle.

He says: “I’m going to speak about the Covenanters struggle which was largely here in south west Scotland and the Sanquhar Declarations, which were very important documents.

“There was a great deal of action round here. Every hill, every glen around this area can tell its own story.”

There is a short video of Duncan explaining the content of his talk at https://vimeo.com/223814521.

The small town played a pivotal role in what many Presbyterians saw as the unwarranted interference of Charles II in the affairs of the Church of Scotland.

Many ministers in South West Scotland gave up their posts and took to preaching in the open air rather than accept the king’s demand that he be recognised as spiritual head of the church.

The struggle between crown and Covenanters, which took place in the 1680s, led to armed conflict, widespread persecution and executions and became known as the Killing Times.

It is regarded as a key factor in the overthrow of the House of Stuart in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

This will be the second year of Cosmic Conversations, which are intended to give insights into some of the biggest and most enthralling issues – from history and science to art and religion.

They are also linked to the current Cosmic Collisions exhibition at Merz Gallery in Sanquhar, which is showing new work by Charles Jencks (who designed Crawick Multiverse) and previously unseen pieces by the architect Daniel Libeskind.

This year’s Cosmic Conversations are:

  • SANQUHAR AND THE KILLING TIMES: THE COVENANTING STRUGGLE: Duncan Close, Chairman of the Royal Burgh of Sanquhar Heritage Society. Wednesday, 12 July, 7pm
  • LANDSCAPES OF COSMOS AND CHAOS IN NITHSDALE: Professor David Munro, Historical Geographer in Residence at Drumlanrig Castle. Wednesday 16 August, 7pm.
  • GAIA, GOD AND THE MULTIVERSE: Michael Northcott, Professor of Ethics at the University of Edinburgh and Dr David Borthwick, Lecturer in Literature at the University of Glasgow. Wednesday 30 August, 7pm.

The Cosmic Conversations take place at A’ The Airts, 8-12 High Street, Sanquhar. Tickets are £5 each, £10 for all three but entry is free to those aged 25 and under.

Tickets available at:

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