Hello, fellow travelers!
As we prepare for our trip, we have done research on specific sites that we will visit. I will be exploring Glasgow Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland. The cathedral itself provides a breadth of knowledge about the spiritual history of Glasgow as well as insight into the changes of the people who worshipped there.
Legends about the birth of the cathedral describe St. Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow, as being the one to build a monastic site where the cathedral lies today. St. Mungo lived in the 7th century and became the first bishop of the kingdom of Strathclyde and was visited often by St. Columba after becoming bishop. Legend tells us that his remains are located within the cathedral, and a yearly celebration is held at the cathedral in honor of his life.
The first record historians have for the building of the cathedral comes from the 12th century where in 1136, King David I of Scotland consecrated the first stone building on site. Unfortunately, the building was destroyed by a fire, thus, a new, larger building was constructed and consecrated in 1197. Additions and reconstructions were made throughout the next 200 years. In the late 13th century, the Quire and Lower Church were added by William de Bondinton. The doorways of the sacristy of the Upper and Lower Chapter Houses date back to mid-13th century, lending for evidence that both were either built or reconstructed during that time. The church as a whole was completed by the end of the century, providing more room for a larger congregation. In the 14th century, additions were built once again, this time the Nave was extended and completed in 1330 and the West Window was completed in the later-half of the century. By the 15th century, the pulpit and Blacader Aisle were added.
The renovations and changes do not end there. After the Reformation, the congregation was so large that the church was divided into three congregations with walls being built in order to allow for the amount of congregation. A wall between the Upper and Lower church was erected to allow the Upper church to be used by the Outer High Congregation who used the space for worship from 1647-1835. The Lower church was used by another congregation called the Barony who used the space from 1596-1801 before they built a new church across from the cathedral and moved there. After leaving, the space was used as a cemetery for the Barony congregation until the middle of the 19th century when it was cleared. The final congregation was the Inner High Congregation that used the Quire. Renovations of this space were also found such as moving the pulpit, the additions of galleries, and the addition of the King’s Seat.
Due to its time of birth, the church was gradually built in a Gothic style. The church itself is 285ft long, 63ft wide, and at its highest point, 105ft tall. The inner roof of the cathedral is made of timber dating back to the 14th century. One particular characteristic of the cathedral are the stained glass windows. The windows depict scenes of abstraction and definition from the Bible. Two most notably are the “Creation” window and the “Millennium” window. As the name of the latter suggests, it was installed in 1999. In fact, all of the windows were installed after 1947, providing new artistic flavors to be coupled with the historical and sacred atmosphere of the grandiose cathedral.
The cathedral was once Roman Catholic before the Reformation. However, unlike many churches during the Scottish reforms, the Glasgow Cathedral was spared from its destructive tendencies. The congregation is Presbyterian, and thus, a member of the Church of Scotland today. Services are still active within the community for worshippers.
That’s it for now! Till next time!