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.

Be Sociable, Share!