Govan Old Parish Church

Glasgow, United Kingdom

The current church building in Govan was constructed in 1888, although the site is one of the oldest places of Christian worship in Scotland. Unusually, the axis of the church was turned to orientate north-south rather than the traditional east-west orientation, but this allowed the main door to face south to the main street. It is believed that the site's earliest Christian activity began sometime in the 6th century AD. Archaeological excavations in the 1990s uncovered two early Christian burials beneath the foundations of a later church. Despite this early activity, it wasn't until the 9th and 10th centuries that Govan Old rose to prominence.

The church now houses a remarkable collection of early Christian stones, The Govan Stones. They are an unique collection of early medieval stones carved in the 9th – 11th centuries to commemorate the power of those who ruled the Kingdom of Strathclyde. 31 monuments dating from this period include beautifully carved crosses and cross shafts, and 5 magnificent hogback stones.




Your name


Founded: 1888
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

More Information


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Karine Davison (2 months ago)
Interesting to go round on own , but knowledgeable guides there too . Have been about 3 times and would go back.
George Semerdjiev (2 years ago)
Beautiful church with wonderful collection of Celtic sculptured crosses and Viking monuments.
Gordon Hart (2 years ago)
Fantastic, probably the worlds largest collection of Viking “Hogback” gravestones.
John Inglis (2 years ago)
Govan Parish Church has an amazing collection of historically important and ancient stones dating back thousands of years. The stones give a great insight into ancient times in the Strathclyde area. The guides are very friendly and informative and greatly add to the visit. Admission is free and is well worth a visit.
Charles West (2 years ago)
If you're into your history, this is well worth a visit: one of the UK's most significant collections of early medieval sculpture - crosses, hogbacks and a remarkable sarcophagus), well presented and with helpful explanatory panels, and friendly and knowledgeable volunteers to hand; you can stroll by the river after your visit, too. Deserves to be better known.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week


Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".