The Whithorn Trust

History & Heritage
Whithorn is where the earliest evidence of Christianity has been found in Scotland c.450AD. See 2000 years of history at our exhibition, Roundhouse and Museum.
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About The Whithorn Trust

The Whithorn Trust welcomes you on your visit to our Museum, the chronological exhibition in our Visitor Centre, and outdoor site with full-scale Iron Age roundhouse reconstruction, as well as the Priory ruins.
Whithorn is central to understanding how early Scotland developed, from Celtic tribes to settled Christians in touch with the Roman world, to established monastery. The evidence we have at Whithorn is earlier than any other Christian community in what we now call Scotland and dates from 450 AD; at our Museum, you will be able to see the earliest Christian monument, a stone named after a Romanised Christian of Celtic origins, called Latinus. Bede wrote of Whithorn in the 700's AD as part of the Anglo-Saxon world and as the burial place of a saint called Nynia; he gave the town its name, after the white church founded by the saint. Later it became a Norse trading settlement, with strong links to Ireland and a vibrant school of sculpture, which created standing stone crosses combining the influences of these several cultures. By the 12th Century, it was part of an area known as Galloway after this mixed peoples, the Gall Ghaidheal, who had settled in previous centuries. By 1128, its monastery was refounded; some parts of the current Priory date to this foundation by Fergus of Galloway, who regarded himself as a native King of the region. By the 14th Century, the Kingdom of Scots was beginning to exercise control over rebellious Galloway and popular veneration of the saint, now known as Ninian, was growing. The Royal House of Stuart fully adopted this saint, who attained national stature and a following in parts of Europe, and Scottish Kings and Queens visited yearly, encouraging mass pilgrimage to the shrine, where miracles were hoped for and cures sought. Pilgrimage routes were traced by thousands of pilgrims on their way to Whithorn from Glasgow and Edinburgh, the North of England and by sea. These are now being revived and the Whithorn Trust has supported the development of the Whithorn Way, a 149 mile walking route from Glasgow Cathedral to Whithorn and the Isle of Whithorn; you can find out more about this on our website https://www.whithorn.com/walk-the-whithorn-way/. Today, some faith groups continue the tradition of pilgrimage to Whithorn and there are sites outside Whithorn you may wish to visit such as St Ninian's Cave, where pilgrims from as early as the 8th Century have left graffiti crosses pecked into the rock.
The Whithorn Trust is the charity which looks after the archaeological site and displays artefacts of all eras, works with schools and promotes the archaeology of the region. It operates a museum coffee shop and gift shop which help support our research and educational activities. The ticket is all-inclusive and is valid for one year; in 2021, in addition to being available at our front desk, tickets will also be available on-line for advance purchase, which will give you sneak peeks, exclusive access to expert views, short films and 3D objects.
Your ticket includes access to all parts of the site and a personal guided tour to the Iron Age roundhouse, constructed using archaeological evidence from nearby Black Loch of Myrton, an exceptional Iron Age site which yielded exact information about prehistoric construction methods and tools. This was used to build the roundhouse you are able to visit. Historic Scotland members (also English Heritage, Cadw and Manx Heritage members) obtain a discount on their visit to our site.

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