Govan Old Parish Church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Govan Old Parish Church was a parish church in the Church of Scotland, serving Govan in Glasgow. It was also known as "St Constantine's". Since 2007, the congregation has become part of Govan and Linthouse Parish. Govan Old Church is no longer used for regular Sunday services, but the building remains open and is used for occasional services, including midweek services. The dedication is to Saint Constantine of Strathclyde whose shrine at Govan is still in existence.


Carved cross in Govan Old Church

Govan Old Parish Church is an ornate, Category A listed building[1] of significant architectural merit, designed by Robert Rowand Anderson and influenced by features at Pluscarden Abbey near Elgin. Govan has, however, known considerable socio-economic problems and has been severely affected by the decline in the shipbuilding industry.

The current church building was constructed in 1888, although the site is one of the oldest places of Christian worship in Scotland. Upon construction, the congregation was closely associated with the Scoto-Catholic High Church movement within the Church of Scotland—several former ministers have been actively involved with the Scottish Church Society. Notable former ministers include the Reverend George MacLeod, later the Lord MacLeod of Fuinary, and Norman Shanks, Leader of the Iona Community from 1995 to 2002.

Two of the church's windows were given by Robert Malcolm Kerr; the Emmaus window in 1891, and Christ blessing the children in 1902. Both were made by Heaton, Butler and Bayne.[2]

The church's collection of early Christian carved stones is of international significance. 31 monuments survive, most of which are highly decorated. They mostly date from the 9th and 10th centuries. They include Viking hogback tombstones, carved crosses and a carved sarcophagus.[3]


Following arbitration, the Church of Scotland's Presbytery of Glasgow decided upon a union of the three local Church of Scotland congregations in the Govan area. Govan Old (along with the charges of Linthouse St. Kenneth and New Govan) was terminated on October 28 2007, becoming part of Govan and Linthouse parish and congregation. The future of the Govan Old Parish Church building remains uncertain as the united congregation continues to use all three original buildings, albeit with the former New Govan building being the main centre of worship. The former minister of Govan Old (until his retirement in June 2007) was the Reverend Dr Norman Shanks, a former leader of the Iona Community and a former Convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Nation Committee. The current minister of the combined Churches is the Reverend Dr Moyna McGlynn.

The church is located near Govan Station on the Glasgow Subway.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Govan Old Parish Church". Historic Scotland. Retrieved June 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ Kerr on the Govan Old Church website
  3. ^ "Early Christian stones". Clyde Waterfront Heritage. Retrieved June 19, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°51′53″N 4°18′46″W / 55.8646°N 4.3129°W / 55.8646; -4.3129