Glasgow Cathedral

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The first stone built Glasgow Cathedral was dedicated in the presence of King David I in 1136. The present building was consecrated in 1197. Since that same period the Cathedral has never been unroofed and the worship of God has been carried out within its walls for more than 800 years.

The splendid achievements of the architects and builders of those far off days can be studied and admired. Not everything, however, is old and the Cathedral has one of the finest post-war collections of stained glass windows to be found in Britain.

The Cathedral has a regular and active congregation, and no visitor should leave the city without making a visit.

Unusually, the church is Crown property and is cared for by Historic Scotland on behalf of Scottish Ministers. Historic Scotland have written a souvenir guidebook, and provide expert interpretation to help bring the medieval Cathedral to life – after all, this is the best preserved example of a large church to have survived from the medieval period in Scotland.

The Douglas connections:

Hugh Douglas 'The Dull' was a priest at Glasgow Cathedral.

Archibald Douglas was a minister there 1571-1593.

Bishop Muirhead confirmed a Charter, dated 29th January, 1472-73, whereby James Douglas of Auchincassil founded a chaplainry of £10, with a chaplain thereof, within the Cathedral Church of Glasgow, on the south side of the nave, at the altar of St. Cuthbert. (Full details in the biography)

When fire damaged Glasgow Cathedral, it was the Earl of Douglas who underwrote much of the reconstruction. (?1400, so 3rd or 4th Earl)

Cecilia Douglas, described as the 'Grande dame of Glasgow' was the only surviving daughter of John Douglas, merchant in Glasgow, and sister of General Sir Neil Douglas and of 6 other brothers, members of the once well known firm of John Thomas and Archibald Douglas, the last survivor of whom was the late Thomas Dunlop Douglas of Dunlop. Married Gilbert Douglas 1794: widowed 1807. The Orbiston estate was the creation of Cecilia Douglas from the estates she inherited of Douglas Park and Boggs, to which she added by purchase. She survived her husband 55 years, and died at Douglas Park, or Orbiston house as she latterly called it, in July 1862 aged 91. She was the last survivor of the original nominees on the Tontine buildings at the Cross. Mrs Douglas left a large fortune, and a fine collection of paintings and sculptures, which she made during her extended residence in Italy and which was presented to the Corporation of Glasgow (who deposited them in their Galleries in Sauchiehall Street) in accordance with her direction to deposit it 'in some public institution in Scotland'. She also gave a large window to the Cathedral in Glasgow."

Other stained glass windows were gifted by the Duke of Hamilton and Lord Belhaven amongst others.

The window panel featuring the Douglas family crest with inscription 'D...LAS' is one of a series of windows made for Glasgow Cathedral by the Royal Bavarian Stained Glass Works, Munich, in the 1860s. The Munich glass was removed in mid-20th century. Over 2000 fragments are now preserved in the cathedral’s upper gallery.

Amongst the memorial plaques is one to Lt Col Jeffray Douglas and all those of the 5th Battalion the Cameronians who fell in the Great War. The unidentified arms in the window are in the Cameronian memorial section of the cathedral.

The beautiful Major Archibald Douglas Monteath Mausoleum is located in the adjacent Glasgow Necropolis.

In October 1938, Prunella Stack 'delighted everyone, the press in particular', by marrying Lord David Douglas-Hamilton, son of the 13th Duke of Hamilton, in Glasgow Cathedral which was attended by a thousand friends, family, Women’s League of Health and Beauty teachers and members. Sadly, only 6 years later he was killed while serving with the Royal Air Force.

•  Is the 'Jamais Arriere' window a funereal hatchment, made in glass rather than the more normal painted version?


Sources for this article include:
  • David B. Appleton, of Appleton Studios, Texas

  • Any contributions will be gratefully accepted


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    Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024