Whithorn Priory is in Whithorn
village in Galloway southwest Scotland, 24
miles southeast of the town of Stranraer, 66
miles southwest of Dumfries. Map / DG8
Area Click On Map . Large
This is one of the top attractions on the
Whithorn peninsular (the Machars). The drive
around the peninsular is about 45 miles, a full
day if visiting all the attractions.
The image top is of the entrance with the
remains of the Priory to the left, and church
from 1822 on the right.
The Crypt is to the right of the Church,
thought to be the oldest parts of what now
remains, an interesting place to explore.
The notice board image shows what the
complex was once like.
397 - Saint Ninian is said to have become
the first Scot to bring Christianity to
Scotland. He was a local from Galloway that
studied in Rome. St Ninian built the first
Christian building on this site at
Little is known about St Ninian, other than
he was believed to have the power to cure
illness and perform miracles.
The original building of St Ninian here was
known as the White House, probably a small
stone church, that was later enlarged to serve
as a Cathedral Church under St Ninian.
St Ninian was buried at this church, leading
to pilgrims from all over Scotland and Ireland
700s - Whithorn was under the control of the
900s - the Norse took control of
1100s - the Norse were removed from the area
by the Scots.
1128 - the Bishopric of Whithorn was
re-established, leading to work enlarging the
1177 - Whithorn also became a Priory of the
Premonstratensian Order of White Canons.
1200s to 1500s - the Cathedral and Priory
were extended into a large complex.
1560s - the Reformation led to the Cathedral
falling into disrepair.
1700s - the main tower of the Cathedral
1822 - the new Parish Church is built on the
site of the former Cathedral. Much of the
complex was removed at that time, leaving the
Crypt on the east side of the new Church, and
the Nave on the west side.
1800s late - the 3rd Marquess of Bute
restored the remains of the Nave and Crypt. He
also excavated what is believed to be the
remains of St Ninian's original church at the
1957 - excavations at the Crypt uncovered 27
high status burials, some of Bishops buried
here between 1200 and 1400.
Jewellery and other artifacts were found
with the Bishops. Parts of their stone coffins
can be seen in the Crypt.
Artifacts found at Whithorn are now held by
the National Museum of Scotland in
Edinburgh, with them being loaned out at times
Next to the Priory is the Museum and Visitor
Centre containing intricately carved stones
and the Latinus Stone – Scotland’s earliest
Christian monument. The Bishops jewelry is at
times on loan to this museum, normally in
St Ninian's Cave is situated 3 miles
west of Whithorn, with a car park and 1 mile
woodland walk down to the beach.
Many of the stones in the Whithorn Museum
were found in this cave.
St Ninian's Chapel is situated at the
Isle of Whithorn, 4 miles south.