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Glasgow, St Thomas' Chapel

Chapel (14th Century)

Site Name Glasgow, St Thomas' Chapel

Classification Chapel (14th Century)

Alternative Name(s) St Enoch Area

Canmore ID 44286

Site Number NS56SE 27

NGR NS 589 649

NGR Description NS c. 589 649

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NS56SE 27 c. 589 649

St Thomas's Chapel, dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury, is first mentioned in 1320; it is also noted in 1505. Though the chapel is supposed to have adjoined, or to have been in some way connected with St Thenew's Chapel (NS56SE 26), there is little definite information. It had probably disappeared before the Reformation.

Orig Paroch Scot 1851; R Renwick 1908; R Renwick and J Lindsay 1921.


Publication Account (1990)

The first reference to a chapel of this dedication occurs in 1320,1 and may be identical with that in existence by 1462 at the Townhead when a university procession was to begin there.2 Its site may have been identical or close to that of the chapel of St Roche (see below) . In 1569 the chapel was transferred to a secular owner with reservation of burial rights in the chapel yard. 3

An earlier chapel of this dedication may have been that situated on St Thenew's Gate 'without the walls of Glasgow': Archbishop Thomas Becket of Canterbury had been canonised in 1173 and soon after King William the Lion founded the abbey of St Thomas at Arbroath. 4 This veneration of St Thomas may have been displayed also at Glasgow and the chapel may date from soon after the founding of the burgh. By 1462 it was the property of the college, 5 but all record of this chapel had disappeared before the Reformation.


1. Glas. Reg., no 267.

2. J Durkan, 'The Bishops Barony of Glasgow in

Pre-Reformation Times' in Scottish Church History

Society, xii, pt 3 (1986), 298.

3. Ibid.; Glasgow Protocols vi, 1674.

4. Renwick, Memorials, 233.

5. Hunimenta Alme Universitatis Glasuensis (Maitland Club

1854) (3 vols) ii, 39.

A lack of documentary reference to the chapel suggests that it had ceased to exist before the Reformation. The endowments of the altarage of St Thomas, which was founded in the Cathedral by Adam Colquhoun Rector of Stobo in the early 16th century, were acquired by the College after the Reformation. Renwick (1908, 234) speculated that there had by that time been a merging of the endowments of the chapel, with those of the altarage, although the college rentals and accounts do not provide any evidence on which to base a positive view. However, the chapel appears to have been extant and in use in f462, as a statute of the Faculty of Arts at the College passed in that year, allowed that preparatory to the annual procession through the city subsequent to the feast of St Nicholas, all masters and students should assemble and hear matins at the Chapel of St Thomas the Martyr, which was, presumably, the chapel in the Trongate (Renwick 1908, 234) . Extant records do not indicate the continued existence of the chapel either spiritually or physically at or after the Reformation.

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


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