The Metropolitan Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow. The Cathedral, which was designed in 1814 by James Gillespie Graham in the Neo Gothic style, lies on the north bank of the River Clyde in Clyde Street.
From the Scottish Reformation of 1560 until the beginning of the Catholic Emancipation process in 1791, with the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1791 – which restored certain civil rights and freedom of worship – Roman Catholics in Glasgow had to worship covertly. By the end of the 18th century, particularly with the influx of Irish Catholic immigrants to Glasgow during the nascent stages of the Industrial Revolution, there emerged an increasing demand for a Roman Catholic church in the city. In 1805 there were approximately 450 Catholics in the city, but by 1814 the number of recorded communicants in the city had increased to 3,000, and in that year the decision was taken by the Rev. Andrew Scott to build a new church in Clyde Street.
The lands upon which the church was built had been purchased from the owners of the firm of Bogle and Scott which had previously traded from that site as part of Glasgow's tobacco and sugar trade with America and the West Indies. The families of Bogle and Scott, mostly Presbyterian and Episcopalian, were prominent names in Glasgow who owned numerous estates around the city and often held leading municipal offices, such as George Bogle of Daldowie, Lord Rector of the University.
Completed in 1816, and designed by James Gillespie Graham (1776–1855), the church of St. Andrew formally re-introduced the Roman Catholic presence to Glasgow.
The continuing hostility to the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland was evident during the construction of the church: work completed during the day was torn down by saboteurs at night, delaying completion and eventually guards had to be placed on the building site to protect the construction works. However, congregations of other Christian denominations in the city donated money for the completion of the project in a gesture of ecumenism in light of the difficulties faced in construction. The church building is relatively modest in scale, without a steeple or bell tower. This was due primarily to continuing restrictions on the prominence of Catholic places of worship under the Relief Act of 1791, that were not ultimately repealed until the later Catholic Relief Act of 1829.
In the wake of the Restoration of the Scottish hierarchy, undertaken by Pope Leo XIII in 1878, the church of St Andrew was eventually raised to the status of pro-Cathedral in 1884, and was also extensively renovated at that time by the architects Pugin and Pugin.
In 1947, with the establishment of the new Dioceses of Motherwell and Paisley, the Archdiocese of Glasgow recovered the status of Metropolitan Diocese which it had had before the Reformation and St Andrew's became a Metropolitan Cathedral.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick.