Uncover the story of St Ninian in Whithorn
the pend leading to Whithorn Priory
Discover the connections to Christianity in Whithorn, where you can hear and see all about St Ninian, the fifth century missionary and bishop who was honoured by thousands of pilgrims.
St Ninian is believed to have trained in Rome before returning to Galloway, and founding the first Christian church in Whithorn. It became known as the ‘white house’ which is how the town came to acquire its name.
Thousands of pilgrims journeyed to the town to pay their respects to him long after he had died in 431 and are believed to have left carvings on the walls of St Ninian’s Cave, dating back to the eighth century. Find out all about the saint and the pilgrims by visiting the cave and St Ninian’s Chapel on the coast, in the fishing village of Isle of Whithorn. Before the 1560s, the village was one of the main ports used by the pilgrims and the chapel was where they would offer thanks to the saint for their safe journey.
In the town of Whithorn, you can visit the Whithorn Story Visitor Centre which features displays of artefacts and a simulated archaeological dig. Head further along Bruce Street to the Whithorn Priory Museum to see a collection of stones, including the famous Latinus Stone, which date back to 450 AD. The collection tells the astonishing story from the arrival of Christianity to the Reformation. Next, see the ruins of Whithorn Priory and the crypts, which are thought to have once held the rock-cut tomb of St Ninian.
This fantastic collection of buildings throughout the town and village give a fascinating insight into the story of the beginning of Christianity in Scotland and are well worth a visit while in Dumfries & Galloway.
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