For exclusive Scottish tours, email or visit my website.

Govan Old Parish Church, Scotland

Friday, September 04, 2009

This evening, I am posting information on Govan Old Parish Church, near Glasgow.

Indications are that the church is located on an important Christian site dating to the 9th and 10th centuries.and possibly earlier. It is the only part of pre-industrial Govan to survive and contains many interesting gravestones dating from the 17th-19th centuries which record the changing nature of the community and occupations reflecting the transition from agricultural to industrial society.

The present church is possibly the fourth church building on the site. It was designed by Sir R. Rowand Anderson and completed 1884-88 under the ministry of Dr. John Macleod.

Dr. Macleod selected the important collection of stained glass which were made by English craftsmen. The magnificent windows in the main church are attributed to Charles E Kempe.

This church is, perhaps, most famous for its collection of 30 sculptured stones the design of which suggest Norse (Viking) settlement in the area. Yesterday's blog posting covers the important carved stone collection the most prominent of which is the carved stone sarcophagus which may have been intended to hold the bones of St. Constantine.

Past ministers of this church include George F. McLeod (Lord MacLeod of Fuinary) who founded the Iona Community.

Hidden away in an industrial community, this building and its contents are an important part of Scotland's heritage yet, strangely, the facility is not well advertised and consequently often overlooked by visitors to Glasgow.



posted by Catswhiskers @ 9:50 AM  0 comments


Post a Comment

Govan Carved Stones, Glasgow, Scotland

Thursday, September 03, 2009

This evening, I am posting a video clip taken at Govan Old Parish Church which covers some of the 31 monuments located there, most of which are intact and highly decorated. Key facts:

  • These stones represent some of Scotland's most important early medieval sculptures.
  • Age of the stones is about 1000 years ( 9th-11th centuries AD.)
  • All the stones emanate from the Govan Church site which suggests it was originally a major ceremonial and administrative centre for the kings of Strathclyde, a pre-unified Scotland fiefdom.
  • The carvings show Viking influences and date from a time when the Norsemen were converted to Christianity. Some of the stones bear both pagan and Christian markings.
  • The Govan location is important because here was a ford providing a waterway from the Atlantic and Irish Sea into central southern Scotland. The carvings suggest strong links with Pictland to the north and Cumbria to the south.
  • The piece de resistance is the ornamental coffin ( see single image above) carved from a single block of sandstone and decorated with knotwork panels and hunting motifs. It may have been intended as a reliquary for the bones and relics of St. Constantine who was martyred by pagans.
  • This site is open to the public, but subject to restricted hours, especially in winter. Contact me if you wish to arrange a private tour.



posted by Catswhiskers @ 11:42 AM  0 comments


Post a Comment

Visit Govan Stones Scotland

Monday, September 08, 2008

This evening, I am presenting some images of Govan's famous carved stones. There is a total of 31 monuments which date from the 9th to 11th centuries and represent one of the largest and most interesting collections of early medieval sculpture in Scotland.

The stones range from a sarcophagus and recumbent stone slabs to free-standing crosses and cross-slabs together with a fascinating collection of five hogback monuments.

These stones are situated inside Govan Old Church which is no longer used for worship but is now a quasi museum.

The following six images are of the famous sarcophagus which is believed to have been constructed to hold the bones of St. Constantine to whom the church is dedicated. The sarcophagus is believed to date from between the second half of the 9th century to the mid 10th century. The interior of the sarcophagus is considered too narrow for a full grown body and may have been designed to hold relics in the form of bones. The monument is 2.1m long, 0.79m wide at the head, 0.65m wide at the foot and 0.34m deep.

All four sides of the sarcophagus are decorated in low relief with panels of interlaced ribbons, animals and a single horseman.

This is the 'sun stone' which is a cross slab with a cross filled with an interlace pattern on the other side. The image shows the sun with its swirl of fat serpents.

This is one of the four hogback monuments which appear to date form the second half of the 10th century.
This is the 'Jordanhill' Cross on which is carved a solitary horseman. The shaft is almost 2m tall and was broken just below the head.

This is the reverse side of the Sun Stone mentioned above. This shows a rider on a strange beast below the cross.
I believe these stones are one of Glasgow's most valuable historic treasures yet are not easy to find and are definitely off the tourist trail. Staff at the church provide a warm welcome with cups of tea and refreshments.


posted by Catswhiskers @ 11:03 AM  0 comments


Post a Comment