The elaborately carved pulpit in St Giles’ dates back to 1873, when it was produced and put in place beside the north-east pillar at the crossing, during the early years of the Chambers Restoration. Designed by William Hay, the Restoration’s architect, it is made of Caen stone, is elaborately carved and stands on supporting pillars of green marble. Its sculptor was John Rhind, who would also be responsible for the figures carved above the exterior of the West Door, the interior screen at the North Door, and the angel font. The carvings on the pulpit represent the six Acts of Mercy in which Christians are encouraged to engage. These are listed in the Bible in Matthew, Chapter 25, verses 35-36, and are as follows: feeding the hungry, giving drinks to the thirsty, sheltering the stranger, clothing the naked, comforting the sick and visiting prisoners.
John Rhind (1828-92) was a native of Banff, in the north of Scotland. His father was a master mason and two of his own sons, William Birnie Rhind and J. Massey Rhind, were also sculptors. He and William carved the effigy of James, 1st Marquis of Montrose, on the latter’s monument in the Cathedral.