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Beginnings: Early times to 1560

Buildings and Cityscape

Buildings and Cityscape

By John R Young

Bishop's Castle Glasgow Cathedral dominated the skyline of early medieval Glasgow, the present structure being built in the 12th and 13th centuries. The first stone cathedral was consecrated in 1136 in the presence of King David I. Destroyed by fire in 1189, it was rebuilt on a larger scale by Bishop Jocelin in 1197. The Cathedral is dedicated to St Mungo who established a church on the site in the early 7th century. The ground was consecrated for Christian burial by St Ninian in 397. St Mungo's tomb was popular with pilgrims.

Around the Castle The oldest house surviving in Glasgow is Provand's Lordship (1471) from the reign of James III. It was built as part of the Hospital of St Nicholas which was located opposite the Cathedral. The Hospital was founded by Bishop Andrew Muirhead c.1460. The house was a townhouse for canons and priests attached to the Cathedral. The canon was responsible for the parish of Provan having the title "Lord of the lands of Provan". The building therefore acquired the name of Provand's Lordship. Nearby was the Bishop's Castle on the site now occupied by the old Royal Infirmary.

Tolbooth Steeple The Cathedral and its surrounding area were at the heart of the life of medieval Glasgow, as was the High Street running to Glasgow Cross and the Clyde. Two important buildings at Glasgow Cross were the Tolbooth and the Mercat Cross, both erected in the 15th century. The earliest reference to the Tolbooth, originally known as "The Praetorium", is from 1454. Only the steeple now remains. A wooden bridge over the Clyde, at the site of the modern Victoria Bridge, is mentioned in a charter of 1285 and the first stone bridge was built by the early 1420s.

Rottenrow c 1570 The University of Glasgow was founded by Bishop William Turnbull in 1451 with a papal bull from Pope Nicholas V. During the early life of the university teaching operated from the Cathedral (in the lower church) and the Dominican priory south of the Cathedral. A separate building, the Auld Pedagogy in the Rottenrow, was later used for college business before a new Pedagogy was built in 1459 on the east side of the High Street. The earliest school in Glasgow, located north of the Cathedral, was the Song School for the boy choristers. There was also a grammar school off the High Street, opposite the monastery of Blackfriars.

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