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Whithorn, the Cradle of Scottish Christianity - Philip and Sheila

"A century before St Illtud founded his monastic school at Llanilltud Fawr, St Ninian was already developing his monastic school at Whithorn, on the south west coast of Scotland, the earliest monastic foundation in the country. By the 8th century a stone church was built, known as Candida Casa, the White House.

In this video we look at the medieval Whithorn Priory, and then the magnificent collection of early carved stones in the Exhibition Centre. We were told by the curator that while we allowed to film we couldn't touch the stones. What a contrast with our Galilee Chapel, where there is no such restriction. Stones - especially carved stones - are very tactile and are meant to be touched and felt, as they certainly would have been by pilgrims down through the centuries. Nevertheless, it was all very interesting - and then, after a warming cup of coffee and toasted teacake, we moved down to the windswept Isle of Whithorn with its ruined St Ninian's Chapel. This was the stopping off point for pilgrims coming by sea to Whithorn from Scotland, Ireland and indeed Wales. We walked to St Ninian's Cave on the Solway Firth to which Ninian would retreat for solitude, and which is still used for pilgrimages today.

Is there a connection between St Ninian and Ninian Park, the former home of Cardiff City FC? Well, yes, there is. Not because St Ninian came to South Wales, but because the Marquis of Bute, John Crichton-Stuart, who rebuilt Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch and continued the development of Cardiff Docks, was so fascinated by St Ninian that he financed the excavations at Whithorn in the late 19th century and not only named Ninian Park and the road and the school in that part of Cardiff after Ninian, but also his own son. The Bute family's ancestral home is Mount Stuart, on the Isle of Bute in Scotland, and Sheila and I hope to visit it this summer - so look out for the videos."

Philip Morris

Thank you Sheila and Philip for another wonderful day out! Mum hasn't see this one yet as she is on annual leave and I've put my foot down and taken the reigns from her this week(!), but I'm sure she'll be champing at the bit to catch up and rejoin our travels again next week.

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