Govan Old Church

This evening, I am focusing on Govan Old Church near Glasgow, Scotland. Superficially, this is a nondescript Victorian era church built for the local shipbuilding community but, after peeling back a few layers, a rich history becomes evident, viz:

  • The current building (correctly known as the Parish Church of Saint Constantine in Govan) is probably the fourth such Christian place of worship on the site. It was designed by Robert Rowan Anderson and modelled on 13th century lines.
  • The actual site, close to the banks of the River Clyde, may well date back about 1500 years, and possibly longer. Archaeologists have found:
  • Christian burials dating back to the 6th, possibly 5th
  • Foundation of an early wooden chapel.
  • An early medieval road.
  • Craft workshops within the enclosure.
  • The ditch surrounding the graveyard.
  • The interior has become a de facto museum, being home to a large collection of elaborately carved stones dating from around the 8th-11th centuries AD which were found in the churchyard. The carvings and designs on the stones witness a merging of cultures which occurred at that time
  • Back in the 8th-11th centuries, the Govan site may have been the heart of a regional power centre which later faded in importance when Glasgow Cathedral was built in the 12th century.
  • Here is information on Govan. In its Victorian heyday Govan was a world-class centre of shipbuilding. The Old Church was built to accommodate the mushrooming local population engaged in the shipbuilding and other local industries.
  • As will be evident from this video and the images below, the church incorporates a collection of high quality stained glass windows. All the windows in the main church are by Charles E Kempe.
  • The sarcophagus shown in the final image below ranks as the earliest piece of art-work in the Glasgow region.
  • The Church is predominantly used for Presbyterian worship with a small section allocated for worshippers of the Russian Orthodox faith.
  • The Church is open April-October for purpose of visiting the Carved Stones.
  • Location is about four miles N.W. of central Glasgow. There is also a ferry link from the Riverside Museum opposite.


Inside Govan Old Parish Church

Stained Glass Windows

Hogback grave markers at Govan Old Church

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