Glasgow Cathedral is also called the High Kirk of Glasgow, St. Kentigern’s or St. Mungo’s Cathedral. The name St. Mungo may sound familiar if you read my post on the Murals of Glasgow where I shared my favorite mural of a modern day St. Mungo.
Around 550 A.D., St. Mungo, founded a religious community around a small church located in what would become known as Glasgow.
I shared some of the history of St. Mungo in that prior post.
He is a significant character in the history of Glasgow. He is the Patron Saint and his life is represented on Glasgow’s Coat of Arms.
You may recall that I had a change of plans due to disruptions in train service out of Glasgow. This left me time for a little more sightseeing, albeit not as well planned as I would have liked. Our second afternoon there we decided to take the hop-on hop-off bus to St. Mungo’s Cathedral. As luck would have it, we just missed the time for the last interior tour. They literally locked the doors in the face of my aunt and mother as they peered through the closing gap (I was sidetracked taking photos, not realizing that the last admission had happened).
So an exterior tour it was…
Upon exiting the bus, I was captivated by the presence of this church. The doorway that was being locked is to the right. I assume the people over there were able to get in and tour the inside. Had I known what time they closed and the last admittances were 30 minutes prior to closing, I probably would have sprinted over there.
Of course, I was thinking of my Thursday Doors people and the doors on Glasgow Cathedral were quite magnificent.
Very little is known about the buildings that were on this site prior the present one.
The first stone building was consecrated in 1136 in the presence of King David I and occupied the area now covered by the Nave.
Damaged by fire, its replacement was consecrated in 1197 by Bishop Jocelin.
Work would be done throughout the 12th-15th Century.
You may be surprised to hear that it is one of the last of its kind in Scotland. Glasgow Cathedral is the only church on the Scottish mainland that survived the Protestant Reformation of 1560.
I’m always impressed by the intricate details of Gothic architecture. And this church does not disappoint.
From its magnificent stone work and stained glass…
…down to the door knockers.
Since I wasn’t going to be able to go inside, I strolled along the outside admiring the details of this imposing structure.
And I spied this door.
I find deep satisfaction in having found this door that appears to be rarely, if ever, accessed.
It holds me spellbound for a moment as I wonder who may have passed through this entrance.
Where does it lead? Perhaps someone who has been inside would know. But as a curious daydreamer, I could only stand there and guess as to the tales that this door held closely.
Had the hands of some 16th or 17th century woman lightly touched the stone as she passed through it arched entry? Did children hop from step to step, patiently waiting as their parents finished the conversations held after the weekly service? Was this door only used by those who served with the church? Or did mourners gather on the stairs after the burial of those within the grounds to the East?
I may never know those answers, but in a church with such a long history, the possibilities are endless.
I allow my mind to drift from the past to the present.
I think about how Glasgow Cathedral has stood the test of time.
Although the title of Cathedral is honorific since it has not been the seat of a bishop since 1690, it is still the place of active worship for the Church of Scotland.
I wander around looking at the nearby gravestones and then head to the nearby Necropolis, the burial grounds of an estimated 50,000 people.
Let your light shine!