History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
In the 12th century, a Premonstratensian priory was built at Whithorn on the site of the Celtic monastery. This later rose in stature to become the cathedral church for all of Galloway. Little of the medieval building remains intact, but St Ninian's shrine can still be seen in the priory vault, beneath the presbytery and high altar. This is approached via a 15th-century vaulted undercroft, which holds an unusual small oven in the west wall, where wafers for mass were baked.
The importance of St Ninian's shrine can be judged by the fact that in 1507, at a time when pilgrimage was becoming a less popular activity, King James IV walked from Edinburgh to pray at St Ninian’s tomb. Before James came Robert the Bruce, who came to Whithorn to seek a cure for an illness in 1329.
We do not know precisely where Ninian's church was located, but it may have stood near the nave crossing of the medieval priory. Evidence of several timber buildings has been found, and a possible early Christian burial ground. East of the church a children's graveyard was found, containing over 45 skeletons, all under 10 years of age. There is some evidence that a Roman or post-Roman whitewashed building stood on the site, which would account for the origins of Whithorn's name, which comes from the Old English 'hwit aerne' (loosely 'white house').
About Whithorn Priory
Address: Whithorn, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, DG8 8PY
Attraction Type: Abbey
Location: on A746
Website: Whithorn Priory
Phone: 01988 500508
Whithorn Priory Photos
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Whithorn Museum - 0.1 miles (Museum)
Rispain Camp - 0.9 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Cruggleton Church - 2.7 miles (Historic Church)
St Ninian's Cave - 3 miles (Countryside)
St Ninian's Chapel - 3.3 miles (Historic Church)
Galloway House Gardens - 3.9 miles (Garden)
Sorbie Tower - 4.2 miles (Castle)
Drumtroddan Standing Stones - 5.6 miles (Prehistoric Site)
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