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Beginnings: Early times to 1560

Buildings and Cityscape

Places of Worship

By Stephen T Driscoll

Hogback gravestone Although undoubtedly there were places of worship in the Glasgow area in prehistoric times, none of these sites has survived. Christianity first reached southern Scotland in the 5th century and can be documented in Glasgow from the 6th century. St Kentigern apparently was active in Glasgow and was believed to have been buried at the cathedral site, but this does not appear to be the most important church here. At Govan archaeology has recovered burial remains, which on radiocarbon evidence may date as early as AD 535.

Govan Cross slab Govan appears to have been associated with the nobility of the kingdom of Strathclyde and to have enjoyed a high degree of patronage. The scale of this patronage is exhibited in the large collection of early medieval sculpture of the 10th - 11th centuries. With the foundation of the Cathedral in the early 12th century Govan was eclipsed.

Blackfriars Church During the later Middle Ages a number of additional chapels and hospitals were erected in Glasgow. Those that have had the greatest impact on the cityscape are: St Tenew (St Kentigern's mother) which has become St Enoch's, the collegiate church of St Mary and St Anne, the steeple of which is part of the Tron Theatre, and the Merchants' Hospital, the steeple of which still stands in the Brigdegate. Religious houses were also built by the Dominicans (Blackfriars) and the Franciscans (Greyfriars) on the east and west sides of the High Street respectively. Churches were as also built to serve outlying communities at Rutherglen, Cathcart and the Gorbals.

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