Like many churches dedicated to Saint Giles, ours is right on the edge of a community. This is because Saint Giles was the patron saint of lepers, and such churches were usually founded as chapels to serve the leper hospitals that would be found outside town or city walls.
Saint Giles, who is believed to have lived from approximately 650 to 710 AD, was Greek by birth but spent much of his life in France. Deep in forest near Nimes he lived a lonely life as a hermit, his only companion being a hind - a female red deer. Legend has it that one day this deer was found by the king's hunt and pursued back to Giles' hermitage; as he tried to protect her an arrow was shot at the creature, but hit Giles' hand instead.
Later the king was so impressed by Giles' humility and unworldliness that he built a monastery where Giles spent the remainder of his life as abbot under the Benedictine Rule.
As a result of these events, Giles became the patron saint of people with physical disabilities, as well as of lepers. He is one of a group of saints known by the Catholic Church as the Fourteen Holy Helpers because they are prayed to for relief from illnesses. Giles' symbols are the deer and and arrow.
The feast day of St. Giles, and consequently our Patronal Festival, is 1st September.
One of the best-known churches named for St. Giles is Edinburgh Cathedral.