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Govan Old Parish Church, Glasgow

4.6
#9 of 22 in Historic Sites in Glasgow
Religious Site Tourist Spot
Govan Old Parish Church was a parish church in the Church of Scotland, serving Govan in Glasgow. It was also known as "St Constantine's". Since 2007, the congregation has become part of Govan and Linthouse Parish. Govan Old Church is no longer used for regular Sunday services, but the building remains open and is used for occasional services, including midweek services. The dedication is to Saint Constantine of Strathclyde whose shrine at Govan is still in existence.Creation of the SiteIt is believed that the earliest Christian origins of the Govan region emerged in the 6th century, but the Govan Church rose to prominence in the 9th and 10th centuries. The local rulers of Strathclyde became allied with the English, Scots, and Northumbrians to defend themselves from Viking raids. Their central fortification, Dumbarton Rock, was attacked in 890, resulting in the movement of the seat of power to Govan. This led to the establishment of the church site across the river from the royal estate at Partick. There is evidence of these royal associations in the graveyard, which is unusually large for the area and time period and suggests that the site was created by many wealthy landowners. Because the site has been in continual use since this first establishment, it is impossible to tell what the original church looked like, but it is clear from a lack of change to the site of the graveyard that the burial ground always had Christian associations.BuildingGovan Old Parish Church is an ornate, Category A listed building of significant architectural merit, designed by Robert Rowand Anderson and influenced by features at Pluscarden Abbey near Elgin. Govan has, however, known considerable socio-economic problems and has been severely affected by the decline in the shipbuilding industry.
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4.2
  • The place was quite good, with a few interesting stones and what they call sarcophagus (not really). The tour guy was amazing super friendly and well informed. You should be careful of the area though...  more »
  • this is a nice place to visit to see old celtic stones. sometimes there is a free tour of these ancient stones. in the summer the govan ferry runs from nearby - across the river to the tall ship/ part...  more »
  • We spent more than an hour wandering round the old church exploring the 31 monuments and the early medieval sculpture. Also the Viking hogback stones and the Govan Sarcophagus which is amazing.  more »
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  • This outstanding church designed by Robert Rowand Anderson (whose works include Glasgow Central Station, Edinburgh's McEwan Hall, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery), in the Early English Gothic style with ecclesiological interior in a nod to the site's early Christian origins. The site's religious history can be traced back to at least the 6th century although the presence of the terraced 'Moot' or 'Doomster Hill' nearby (removed in the 19th century for industrial expansion) potentially pushed it back much further. The site is associated with the Kingdom of Strathclyde, the last of the British Kingdoms to survive, whose capital was centred on Dumbarton Rock (Alt Clut, meaning 'Rock of the Clyde) a few miles downstream. The church is home to a remarkable collection of 'Hog-back' stones, unusually shaped burial markers with dates ranging from the 9-11th centuries, Celtic crosses and a sarcophagus which were all found buried within the church's round burial ground in the 19th century. It is thought these elaborate monuments were created for the Kings of Strathclyde who were buried here.
  • Remarkable collection of 9th-11th century standing stones and viking hogbacks.
  • A world-class collection of beautifully-presented Early Medieval stone sculpture set within a churchyard that, almost incredibly, seems to preserve its original ancient shape.
  • Very nice a pleasent
  • A hidden gem. The oldest Christian site in the Glasgow area dating back to late 4th Century. Features an amazing collection of 9th to 11th Century carved stones (especially the sarcophagus and the hogbacks) and interesting stories of the rise and fall and rise and fall and rise of Govan through early Christianity, the dark and middle ages and the industrial revolution through to the present. Great to combine with a visit to the Riverside Museum using the ferry. Only 4 stars just now because the artefact layout has room for improvement and you really need to take the guided tour to appreciate what you are seeing (and they are working on that).