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In the Footsteps of St Mungo

Point B - Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral – Photo J. Wilson

Walking Route Instructions: Enter the cathedral by the front door. The crypt with St Mungo’s tomb can be visited. There is no café on site but this may be found in the adjacent St Mungo Museum.

Glasgow Cathedral, also called the High Kirk of Glasgow or St Kentigern’s or St Mungo’s Cathedral, was built before the Reformation and is the only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland to have survived the Reformation with its roof on. The first stone cathedral was dedicated in 1136, in the presence of King David I. The cathedral is said to have been built where the patron saint of Glasgow, Saint Mungo, built his church. The tomb of the saint is in the lower crypt. 

The historic Molendinar burn ran past the cathedral. This is where St Mungo and St Columba were supposed to have walked and made the decision to build a great city ‘on the banks of the Molendinar’. A bridge, the Bridge of Sighs, was built over the burn to the Necropolis.. The burn is now culverted through most of the city until it reaches the Clyde.

You can visit the tomb of St Mungo within the Cathedral.

This magnificent wooden eagle lectern, with the eagle representing John’s gospel can be seen and originates from France in the 17th Century. You can also see four stained glass windows with the symbols of the four evangelists – the lamb, ox, eagle and the lion.

Dr Peter Lowe died on 15th August 1610 and is buried in the grounds of Glasgow Cathedral, opposite its west door. He is the founder of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He travelled to France to become a doctor and a surgeon as there were no medical schools in Scotland at the time. There is another memorial to Peter Lowe inside the Cathedral, a medallion inset in the wall, by Scottish sculptor James Pittendrigh Macgillivrey (1893).

Every year, on the first Sunday of December, there is a Founder’s Day Service in the Cathedral. After the service, the minister of the Cathedral along with the College’s President and Council, visit Peter Lowe’s grave to lay a wreath. Read more about Dr Peter Lowe here: Maister Peter Lowe – Our Founder and his Legacy · Heritage (

Look out also for the window with the symbols of the trades guilds of Glasgow, such as the Weavers and the Maltmen and the Coopers. These symbols have some commonality across Europe – Medieval Guilds – World History Encyclopedia.

And look out for the stunning Millenium window created by glasspainter John Kenneth Clark who was a student at Glasgow School of Art studying under the wonderful teacher Alfredo Avella (Scottish/Italian 1924 – 1982), and subsequently taught there in the 80s. He began making his windows in the Derix Studio in Germany completely in 1991: The Millennium Window – Glasgow Cathedral. This window is very unique belonging to a series of windows John has made combining text and symbolism. It is one if the most technically difficult windows ever made combining multi layered acid etching with traditional glass painting. Here a link to John K Clark’s website that hopefully explains the thought process behind this work. John Kenneth Clark – Glasgow Cathedral Millennium Window (

Millenium window in Cathedral – artist John K Clark- Photo J. Wilson

These days, the congregation of the cathedral is part of the Church of Scotland’s Presbytery of Glasgow and its services and associations are open to all. It sits alongside Glasgow Royal Infirmary, opened in 1794, and the Glasgow Necropolis graveyard, opened in 1833. An artwork of the scene is here: TheGlasgowStory: Bridge of Sighs and a sketch of the view was made in 1834 by the artist William Turner ‘Glasgow Cathedral and the Bridge of Sighs’, Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1834 | Tate)

Information from Visit Scotland – their page is at:

This is an excellent document about the European influences:

Walking Route Instructions: As you exit the cathedral, walk forwards and at the pavement on Castle Street, turn right and walk along the front of the Royal Infirmary buildings and behind the fence you should spot the memorial to Joseph Lister which is our next stop.