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Glasgow, St Ninian's Hospital And Chapel

Chapel (15th Century), Hospital (14th Century)

Site Name Glasgow, St Ninian's Hospital And Chapel

Classification Chapel (15th Century), Hospital (14th Century)

Canmore ID 44282

Site Number NS56SE 23

NGR NS 5914 6445

NGR Description NS 5914 6445 and 5904 6433

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/44282

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Glasgow, City Of
  • Parish Govan (City Of Glasgow)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District City Of Glasgow
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS56SE 23 5914 6445 and 5904 6433.

St Ninian's Hospital, which stood at the S end of what is now Victoria Bridge (at NS 5914 6445 on Renwick's plan) is said to have been founded about 1359, but probably the foundation took place in the following century. The earliest records mention lepers in the hospital in 1485. In 1494, William Stewart, canon of Killearn, mentions St Ninian's Chapel "constructed by him and built anew" at this hospital (NS 59044 6433 on Renwick's plan). Another charter, of 1491, refers to this chapel as newly built. The hospital was granted to the city in 1636.

R Renwick 1912; I B Cowan and D E Easson 1976.

Activities

Publication Account (1990)

The foundation of the hospital dedicated to St Ninian for the reception of lepers was attributed by McUre (1736) to 'a lady of the Lochow family' c.1350. Renwick (1908, 251) suggests that there is no basis in extant records for this attribution. The site of the hospital at the south end of the Clyde Bridge, outwith the burgh, but in the barony of Gorbals, suggests that the foundation could hypothetically have existed contemporaneously with the construction of the first bridge over the Clyde, but on the other hand, the river was easily fordable at this point and the construction of the bridge was not necessarily a catalyst in the development of the hospital. The site, however, certainly fulfilled the requirements of the early burgh laws that accommodation for lepers be provided outside the town gates, and this responsibility may well have fallen upon the ecclesiastical establishment as Gorbals formed part of the Govan lands bestowed upon the see if Glasgow by David I (Renwick 1908, 251). It seems probable that the hospital was established by 30 June 1485 as Cowan and Easson (1976, 180) claim that the earliest mention of male and female lepers in the hospital, and poor lepers dwelling there, specifies their presence on 30 June and 1 July 1485. According to MacGeorge (lBBB, 120) the household accounts of the James IV record alms given to the inmates of the leper hospital during a visit by the King in 1491 'Item to the sick folk at the brig of Glasgow be the kings command ijs'.

A chapel for the use of the community of lepers at St Ninian's Hospital was founded by William Stewart, Canon of Glasgow Cathedral and Prebendary of Killearn. the foundation date appears to have been 16 August 1491; Cowan and Easson (1976, 180) cite documentary mention of the chapel as newly built at this date. The support of the chapel was confirmed by the endowment by the founder in 1494, of a tenement on the south side of Bridgegate together with various additional annual rents.

Information from ‘Historic Glasgow: The Archaeological Implications of Development’, (1990).

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