Archive for May, 2012

From the Glorious Govan Facebook page:


The Govan Old Management Group invites you to join it for
a discussion about:
– plans for the future of Govan Old
– the redisplay of the Govan Stones
– conservation of the church graveyard
– wider developments
Govan Old Church
866 Govan Rd (adjacent Pearce Institute)
Prof Steve Driscoll of Glasgow University Archaeology Department will chair a Question & Answer session following short presentations by:
– Pat Cassidy, Govan Workspace
– Peter Miller, Land & Environmental Services, Glasgow City Council
– Dr. Susan Buckham, Kirkyard Consulting
– Richard East, City Design Co-operative
Wed 30 May, 7pm

Read Full Post »

Replica of the Jordanhill Cross at Govan

Replica of the Jordanhill Cross at Govan (Photo © B Keeling)

A new website for the carved stones at Govan has recently been launched. It’s one element in a larger project aimed at improving how this unique collection of early medieval sculpture is displayed and publicised.

The stones are housed inside Govan’s old parish church (‘Govan Old’), the front of which can be glimpsed in the above photograph. They comprise one of the largest collections of Celtic sculpture in the British Isles and are well worth seeing. Anyone who appreciates Pictish stonecarving, for instance, should visit Govan to see how the artistic legacy of the Picts inspired and influenced their neighbours in other parts of Scotland. The Govan sculptors developed a distinctive style that spread to the furthest borders of the kingdom of Strathclyde, reaching as far north as Luss and as far south as Hamilton. This ‘school’ of sculpture was characterised by certain features, such as a chunky form of Celtic interlace. To most modern visitors, however, the most recognisable monuments of the ‘Govan School’ are the Viking hogback tombstones.

Here’s what the website says:
Visit Govan Old Church and discover the unique collection of early medieval stones carved in the 9th–11th centuries to commemorate the power of those who ruled the Kingdom of Strathclyde. Explore the 31 monuments dating from this period which include beautifully carved crosses and cross shafts, and 5 magnificent hogback stones. Enjoy the intricate interlace carving and warrior figures on the collection’s outstanding piece – the Govan Sarcophagus, the only one of its kind carved from solid stone from pre-Norman, northern Britain.

Opening times, a location map and contact information for Govan Old are also shown, together with an illustrated timeline of Govan’s history and a slideshow of a visit by Kelvingrove Young Archaeologists. A trail leaflet, with a map of the church interior showing the layout of the stones, is available as a PDF download. Admission to the church is free, as are the guided tours.

Follow the picture link below to go to the website.

The Govan Stones website

* * * * * * *

Read Full Post »


Govan, c.1930: the shipbuilding yard on the site of the Riverside Estate

In a previous blogpost I mentioned a long-vanished feature of the Govan landscape: the Doomster Hill, the ceremonial mound of the kings of Strathclyde. It belongs to a category of monument that includes Tynwald Hill on the Isle of Man, the Thingmote of Viking Dublin and other ‘parliament hills’ of the early medieval period. In Scotland, the group is also represented by a recently discovered mound at Dingwall and the famous Moot Hill of Scone.

In the mid-1800s the Doomster Hill was destroyed to make space for a shipbuilding yard and no trace of it now survives. Eventually, in the late 20th century, the shipyard itself was demolished, a casualty of the decline of heavy industry on the Clyde. Today, the site of the hill lies under the Riverside Housing Estate.

On Saturday 31st March 2012, on a piece of ground at the edge of the Riverside, an event of profound significance took place. After an interval of 1000 years, the ancient ‘parliament’ of Govan was remembered – and symbolically re-convened – by a gathering of local people. This was more than a nod from present-day Govanites to their ancient heritage. It was an affirmation of continuity, a demonstration of the link between past and present in a part of Govan that has witnessed more than its fair share of change.

A report of the event by Matt Baker, with photographs by Ben Rush, can be found by following this link.

* * * * * * *

Read Full Post »