-medieval times to the end of the seventeenth century

The Scotland Guide
© David Williams


Glasgow owed its importance during medieval times to its Cathedral (see picture) which is sited near the summit of one of the city`s many hills. The present building dates back to at least the thirteenth century and over the succeeding centuries a number of important ecclesiastical buildings were established around it. However, their only survivor is the fifteenth-century Provand`s Lordship. Over the centuries, the city developed along either side of High Street, the main thoroughfare which ran past the cathedral and down towards the ford across the River Clyde. Gradually, the city expanded to the east and west of the High Street axis with much of the industry gathering to the east and the western side enjoying the better housing and civic amenities.

Compared to Edinburgh, Glasgow has few pre eighteenth-century buildings, but there are some well-preserved examples on the city`s outskirts such as Haggs Castle and Provan Hall. Within the present city centre, the oldest buildings outside the Cathedral area which have withstood the ravages of time (and the property developers) are the Tolbooth Steeple (1625-7) at Glasgow Cross, the Merchants` Steeple (1665) on Bridgegate, the Trades Hall (1791-4, Robert Adam) on Glassford Street and the Tron Kirk (1793-4) on Trongate. Sadly, the mid seventeenth-century Old College in High Street was almost completely lost when the university moved westwards in the 1860s. Many other good eighteenth- and nineteenth-century buildings were undoubtably sacrificed in the late nineteenth century to make way for the large-scale city redevelopment undertaken by the City Improvement Trust which started its work in 1866.

This article is based on the guidebook "The Glasgow Guide".

Glasgow Cathedral is the city`s most important medieval building, with parts of it dating back many centuries. It is the burial place of St Mungo, Glasgow`s patron saint.
Next architecture article:
The eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
List of architecture articles:
Architecture of Glasgow

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