Saturday, 2 May 2015

Strathclyde Sarcophagus - Old Parish Church Govan

This Sarcophagus in Govan's Old Parish Church, is thought to have once held the remains of St Constantine, son of Pictish King Kenneth MacAlpin, who died in 876.

The Sarcophagus was discovered on 7 December 1855 by the sexton of the church. As he was digging a new grave in the Kirk yard, he found the sarcophagus laying just a couple of feet below the surface.

Given the size and ornate detailing, Professor Driscoll, professor of historical archaeology at Glasgow University, felt that it was created as a public monument to be displayed and viewed. "I think this sarcophagus is to house Constantine's relics as part of making this church into an important place," Prof Driscoll says.

Strathclyde was a powerful ancient kingdom of the Britons from the 5th to 8th centuries. The Kingdom was initially centred in Dumbarton and spread all along the Clyde river. The Kindgom stretched all the way to Cumbria in the south and then west over to Wales. 

Following the capture of Dumbarton in 871, the powerhouse of the Kingdom moved to Govan, with the church of St Constantine being in the centre. Govan Old Parish Church now stands on the site where the church of St Constantine once stood. 

For those who had ancestors in Govan, a major shipbuilding hub, the Old Parish Church holds their own archives  for Baptism, Marriages and Burials. The archives can be viewed by appointment. If you are unable to get to the church, you can seek the services of a local genealogist to act on your behalf. 

Here is the link to the church:

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