- Whithorn Priory
Whithorn Priory is located in
Wigtownshire, Galloway. It was founded about the middle of the twelfth century, in the reign of David I, by Fergus, Lord of Galloway, with Gille Aldan, Bishop of Galloway, for PremonstratensianCanons, referred colloquially in Britain as the White Canons.
The canons of
Whithornformed the chapter of the Diocese of Galloway, which was re-established about the same time, also by Fergus, the old succession of bishops having died out in the eighth or ninth centuries. The priorstood next in rank to the bishop, as we see from the order of signatories to an espiscopal charter early in the thirteenth century; and he and his community enjoyed the right of electing the bishop, although this right was occasionally overruled in favour of the secular clergy by the Archbishop of York, of which see Galloway was a suffragan for several centuries.
The full list of priors has not been preserved; among them were: Maurice, who swore fealty to King
Edward I of Englandin 1 296; Gavin Dunbar ( 1514), who rose to be Archbishop of Glasgow; and James Beaton, successively Archbishop of Glasgow and of St. Andrews, and chancellor of the kingdom. Whithorn was long a noted place of pilgrimage, owing to its connection with the venerated memory of Saint Ninian. Many Scottish sovereigns, among them Margaret (queen of James III), James IV, and James V, made repeated pilgrimages to the saint's shrine, and left rich offerings behind them. The monastery, thus endowed, became opulent, and its income at the dissolution was estimated at over £1000. The last prior (Fleming) was committed to prison in 1563for the crime of saying Mass. The whole property of the priory was vested in the Crown by the annexation act of 1587, and was granted in 1606by James VI to the occupant of the See of Galloway when he established Episcopalianism in Scotland in 1606.
It continued to belong to the bishopric until the revolution of
1688, at which date that see was the richest in the kingdom next to St. Andrews and Glasgow. The priory church, which served also as the cathedralof the diocese, had a long navewithout aisles, a choirof about the same length, and a lady chapelbeyond. In 1684the nave and western towerwere still intact; but the existing remains consist only of the roofless nave and the extensive vaulted crypts constructed under the eastern end of the church. Such restoration as was possible has been carefully
Prior of Whithorn, for a list of priors and commendators
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Look at other dictionaries:
Whithorn Priory — • Founded in Scotland in the twelfth century Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Whithorn Priory Whithorn Priory † … Catholic encyclopedia
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