Historical Churches, Glasgow

Historical Churches (Self Guided), Glasgow

The feeling of serenity and being free from stress and worries is quite precious these days. And where better to find this than inside a church? Glasgow is home to a number of great churches that are notable for their architectural design, mostly in the Gothic style.

One of the city's most iconic ecclesiastical landmarks and a stunning example of Gothic architecture is Saint Mungo's Cathedral. Dating back to the 12th century, this house of worship, otherwise known as Glasgow Cathedral, is dedicated to Saint Mungo, Glasgow's patron saint.

Saint George's-Tron Church is another prominent religious site. This temple is renowned for its role in the city's history, having witnessed significant events and played a central role in Glasgow's religious life over the years.

Saint Aloysius' Church, an architectural gem with its elaborate Baroque style, is a testament to Glasgow's Catholic heritage. It showcases exquisite artistry both inside and out.

Saint Mary the Virgin Cathedral, commonly known as Glasgow's Episcopal Cathedral, is yet another splendid religious edifice of note. Its Neo-Gothic architecture and stunning stained glass windows draw visitors seeking spiritual solace and architectural marvels.

Finally, Woodland Methodist Church, a less grand but equally significant structure, has been a spiritual refuge for the community for many years. Its simple yet charming design reflects the diversity of faith in Glasgow.

The historical churches of Glasgow are more than just architectural wonders; they are living reminders of the city's past and the role that faith has played in shaping its identity. We therefore encourage you to explore these remarkable places of worship, each with its unique charm and significance, on your next trip to Glasgow to gain a deeper appreciation of the city's cultural heritage.
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Historical Churches Map

Guide Name: Historical Churches
Guide Location: Scotland » Glasgow (See other walking tours in Glasgow)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Author: irenes
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Saint Mungo's Cathedral
  • Saint George's-Tron Church
  • Saint Aloysius' Church
  • Saint Mary the Virgin Cathedral
  • Woodland Methodist Church
Saint Mungo's Cathedral

1) Saint Mungo's Cathedral (must see)

Saint Mungo's Cathedral, or simply Glasgow Cathedral, is one of the few churches to have survived the Reformation. The setting for numerous literary works over the ages, its ornate construction and rich history dating from the 12th century provide hours of learning and exploration.

The ground on which the cathedral stands is steeped in history; it was first blessed by Saint Ninian over 1600 years ago and Saint Mungo, the son of a pagan King of Lothian, built his church here in the 7th century. You can see his tomb under the main altar, in the crypt.

The original church was wooden and was mostly destroyed by fire. Building began on the “new” church during the 12th century, in the Gothic style. It once had towers at its west end, but these were removed during renovations in the 18th century since there wasn’t enough money to replace them.

Inside the cathedral, you can admire the ancient “rood screen”, an ornate partition between the chancel and the nave. Rood screens are rare in Scottish churches and this one is much prized. In 1999 the magnificent Millennium Window was installed in the north wall of the nave. There are several side chapels, including the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist where you can see Saint Mungo’s Well.

During the Reformation, when many churches were sacked and torn down, the people of Glasgow took up arms to defend the cathedral. In 1583 the Town Council agreed to oversee the building and pay for its upkeep. It stands today as a reminder of the devotion and determination of the people who worship in it.

Admission is free, and it's highly recommended that you visit the interior. After that, go next door to the Museum of Religious Life and Art, across the road to Provand's Lordship, and up the hill to the Necropolis (to get beautiful views of the Cathedral and the city), and you'll see the original medieval heart of Glasgow, and experience attractions for free in one day.
Saint George's-Tron Church

2) Saint George's-Tron Church

At the busy end of Buchannan Street is Nelson Mandela Place and you will find here the Saint George’s Tron Church which is the oldest building on the square.

The original church was built in 1687 but soon became too small for the parish’s growing population. Today’s church was built in 1808 by William Stark in the Baroque style. When the building was completed there were statues of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John on top of the bell tower, but these have been replaced by the impressive obelisk that stands over the ribbed dome and clock tower.

Between the time of its construction and 1940 the church was called Saint George’s Parish Church, but then it merged with Tron Saint Anne and took its present name.

The interior of the church is modern and light with arched lead-panelled windows and soft fixed lighting in the flat ceiling. The interior is plain and decoration is minimal, with its semicircular gallery overlooking the main aisle and altar.

It is truly a place of worship, although visitors are welcome to take part in the interesting services. The church has a book shop that sells Christian books and magazines and religious items, such as silver jewellery and postcards. Several times a week events are held in the church, including music concerts at lunchtimes.
Saint Aloysius' Church

3) Saint Aloysius' Church

Don’t be put off by the rather forbidding exterior of Saint Aloysius’ Church on Rose Street, or you’ll miss visiting one of the loveliest churches in Glasgow.

The church was built in 1908 in the 17th century Renaissance style by Menart, with a slender golden-domed campanile, Baroque façade and Byzantine dome. The interior is modelled on the Cathedral of Namur in Belgium.

The church is 46 metres long and 28 metres wide with a 14 metre barrel roof of reinforced concrete spanning the nave. The ceiling height is 18.6 metres and 21.50 metres under the main cupola, which is beautifully decorated in green and gold and has 8 stained-glass windows. The interior is sheathed in marble decorated with Venetian mosaics. The High Altar was added in 1913. There are two sacristies and guildhalls.

The church boasts four lovely side chapels, with the Lady Chapel on the right of the High Altar where you can see a marble statue of Our Lady on a pedestal and a stained-glass window of the Annunciation.

The other chapels are: The Sacred Hearts Chapel, the Holy Souls Chapel and the Saint Ignatius Chapel. There is a shrine to Saint John Ogilvie, the first Jesuit martyr, and a copy of the statue Our Lady of Montserrat (the Black Madonna), which was donated to the church by Spanish visitors in 2008.
Saint Mary the Virgin Cathedral

4) Saint Mary the Virgin Cathedral

Saint Mary the Virgin Cathedral is an exquisite church located along the Great Western Road, where its imposing spire dominates the surrounding skyline.

Constructed in 1893 by George Scott, the cathedral showcases a 14th-century Gothic architectural style. The spire itself was the brainchild of John Scott, soaring to a height of 23 meters atop a 40-meter-high tower. This tower also houses a set of ten bells that chime melodiously. The cathedral's construction employs Lanark stone.

The cathedral's central nave measures 31 meters in length and 9 meters in width, with aisles on either side separated by a series of six arches forming arcades. Notably, a glazed porch was added during a renovation phase carried out between 1998 and 2002.

Distinguished by arches supported by columns made of pristine white Bath Stone, the chancel and transepts stand apart from the nave. The pulpit, crafted from Ashlar stone, rests gracefully on colonnades fashioned from polished granite. Substantial restoration efforts involved the installation of a new roof for the chancel, Crossing, and tower, as well as a comprehensive rebuild of the organ. The clerestory windows were replaced, with the stained glass work being attributed to Hardman and Company.

Saint Mary the Virgin Cathedral enjoys significant popularity, boasting a skilled, professional choir. In addition to its captivating religious services, the cathedral attracts tourists by hosting a variety of events such as concerts, music recitals, art exhibitions, and more.
Woodland Methodist Church

5) Woodland Methodist Church

You will find Woodlands Methodist Church on Woodlands Road and you will discover that it is a lovely church to visit.

The church was commissioned in 1909 by the Swedenborgians, who created a New Church movement in 1787 based on the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, an 18th century philosopher and Christian “mystic”, who believed that the Last Judgement had taken place in the spirit world in 1757.

The church was built by David Barclay on two storeys with a Gothic gabled roof and a corner tower on the north side. It became a Methodist church in 1977.

The ground floor of the church is given over to offices and the High Nave is on the 1st floor, reached by Gothic, carved steps with a glass canopy. One of the stained glass windows is a memorial panel for those who died during the Second World War. On the east wall, above the fireplace, you will see carved panels representing the Swedish flag and the salmon and oak symbols of Glasgow.

The doors’ lintels are decorated with biblical inscriptions and stone columns support the wood panelled Chancel’s semicircular arch and the transept’s pointed arches. The church library at the rear of the building has wood panelling and Gothic-like bookcases on all of its walls.

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