Provand’s Lordship

Provand’s Lordship

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The Provand’s Lordship was built in 1471 and is the oldest house in Glasgow – set in the heart of the most ancient part of the city. It is one of only four medieval buildings to survive in Glasgow, and has been extensively restored.

History of The Provand’s Lordship

Provand’s Lordship was built by Andrew Muirhead, the Bishop of Glasgow, and was originally part of St Nicholas’s Hospital, which stood to the south of the house.

Although it may originally have been built for the head of the neighbouring hospital, the house is believed to have become part of the accommodation provided for the 32 canons of the Cathedral Chapter, each representing an area of the Diocese of Glasgow. (A western extension, designed by William Bryson, was completed in 1670).

In the 1800s the house was occupied by a canon supported by income from the Lord of the Prebend of Barlanark. In 1906 the house was acquired by the Morton family and used as a sweetshop and factory, when the Provand’s Lordship Society formed with the aim of saving it. They eventually raised enough funds to buy the house outright, and later restored it to the state it was in around 1700.

In the late 1920’s, the house was then furnished with a selection of 17th-century furniture donated by Sir William Burrell, and royal portraits.

By 1978 major repairs were needed, and the City of Glasgow acquired and restored it, re-opening it to the public in June 1983.

The Provand’s Lordship today

Visiting Provand’s Lordship provides a flavour of what a home interior of around 1700 would have looked like. The house has three storeys, connected together by a spiral staircase and displays household interiors from around 1500-1700, including wooden furniture, as well as a gallery. The original oak floor beams have also been protected by false floors.

Today the house looks across a busy road to a castle-like building constructed in 1993, which houses the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art.

Getting to The Provand’s Lordship

The house is located in the city centre, a short walk from Buchanan Street and Argyle Street. It is situated on Castle Street, opposite St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art and Glasgow Cathedral.

The nearest local train station is High Street. First Bus services 19, 19A, 38, 57 and 57A all stop near the house.

Provands Lordship

The Provand's Lordship, which was built in 1471 as part of a hospital in the cathedral precinct, is one of only four surviving medieval buildings in Glasgow. Beautifully preserved, the "auld hoose" is furnished with a fine selection of 17th-century Scottish furniture donated by Sir William Burrell, and a series of historic royal portraits. Room settings give a flavour of interiors around 1500 and 1700, so immerse yourself in medieval Glasgow with a visit to this fascinating building.

Behind the building sits the St Nicholas Garden, a medicinal herb garden which is an oasis away from the calm. Find ​out more here.

All information (whether in text or photographs) is supplied in good faith but should not be relied upon as being a statement of representation or fact. We take every opportunity to ensure the details for Provands Lordship are accurate, please contact us at hello[@] if any of the above information is incorrect.


Provan Hall in Auchinlea Park, Easterhouse, photographed c 1900.

The hall is thought to date from the late 15th century, around the same period as Provand's Lordship. It belonged to the prebendary of Provan, or Barlanark, and was the country seat of the prebendary. In 1667 it was bought and maintained by the city of Glasgow, before reverting to private ownership a century later. A dwelling house was added to the older block in the 18th century. In 1938 Provan Hall was acquired by the National Trust for Scotland, and subsequently leased to Glasgow City Council. No longer in a rural setting, it is surrounded by council houses.

In 2003 Glasgow City Council announced its support for a plan to restore Provan Hall. The hall and the Auchinlea Park site will become the responsibility of a new heritage trust which will seek funding to restore the buildings and develop a purpose-built visitors centre.

Reference: Glasgow City Archives, TD1271/2/8

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

Provand’s Lordship, built in 1471 is the oldest house in Glasgow

The Provand’s Lordship in Glasgow, Scotland, is a medieval house still standing in the city.

It is one of only four remaining buildings from this period and although it isn’t the oldest building in Glasgow, it is the oldest house.

Built in 1471 by Andrew Murihead, Bishop of Glasgow, it was originally built as a part of St. Nicholas’s Hospital. The Murihead coat of arms is still on one of the house’s sides.

The rest of the buildings belonging to the hospital’s complex were torn down between the 18th and 20th century.

Provand’s Lordship, Castle Street, Glasgow. Kim Traynor CC BY-SA 3.0

Sign above the entrance to Provand’s Lordship, confirming its status as the oldest house in Glasgow. Stephen Sweeney CC BY-SA 2.0

Despite the fact that it was originally built for the hospital, it is believed that the house provided accommodation for the canons of the cathedral chapter.

In the 1800s it was occupied by the canon of the Prebend of Barlanark. As time passed, the word “Prebend” was altered to “Provand”, which gave the house it’s name.

At the beginning of the 20th century the house was occupied by the Morton family and used as a sweet factory and a sweet shop.

In 1906 the Provand’s Lordship Society was formed with on goal in mind: To save the deteriorating house.

In 1908, with the owner’s co-operation the society opened several rooms to the public. A while later they raised enough money to buy the lordship and start its restoration.

In 1927 Sir William Burrel, a Scottish shipping merchant and philanthropist, gave a donation to the Society in order to help them with the process. Some of his 17th century furniture is displayed at Provand’s Lordship.

The house was donated to the City of Glasgow in 1978 by the Provand’s Lordship Society.

Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow – A view from the back. Char CC BY-SA 2.0

The gardens were officially opened in 1995 by HRH The Princess Royal. James Allan CC BY-SA 2.0

Behind the house is St.Nicholas Garden, a medicinal herb garden, built in 1995. The garden was recreated in the style of gardens from the 15th century.

The interior of the lordship is an example of what a home would have looked like somewhere around 1700.

The central room on the ground floor represents a demonstrative display of medieval Glasgow. The Lord of the Prebend’s chamber is located on the first floor.

There is a mannequin Prebend dressed in a period robe placed in the chamber. A wonderful collection of wooden furniture can be seen in the rest of the house’s rooms. There is a gallery on the upper floor.

A room in the house. Char CC BY-SA 2.0

The Prebend Chamber. Char CC BY-SA 2.0

Dining room in Provand’s Lordship, with coat of arms of Charles the II, Glasgow, Scotland. amanderson2 CC BY 2.0

Today Provand’s Lordship is operated as one of many marvelous Glasgow museums. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday and admission is free.

The house, with its narrow passageways, low ceilings, old furniture and a collection of historic royal portraits, can give a real notion on how life was back then.

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Dating from the 12th century, the Scottish Gothic-style Glasgow Cathedral is said to be the burial site of St Mungo, the town’s patron saint. There is evidence that a place of worship has been located at this site for over 1,400 years.

One of the most interesting facts about the cathedral is that it’s not a cathedral at all. Following the Scottish Reformation, the cathedral title was retained honorifically. A bishop has not had a seat here since 1690. Glasgow Cathedral is one of the very few examples of church buildings to have survived the Reformation without having its roof destroyed.

The cathedral’s current congregation is part of the Church of Scotland’s Presbytery of Glasgow, who often refer to it by its other names, the High Kirk of Glasgow, and St Kentigern’s or St Mungo’s Cathedral.

2. Crookston Castle

Situated on a Pollok hilltop just 4 miles south west of the city centre, Crookston Castle is one of Glasgow’s most valuable historic landmarks. The castle is surrounded by a deep defensive ring-ditch which dates from the 1100s. It is named after Sir Robert de Croc who also gave his name to the surrounding area. The original castle was constructed out of timber and earth, but this was replaced in the 15th century by a stone keep.

Crookston Castle survived bombardment in 1489 and was the subject of a siege in 1544. Today it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and bears a Category A listing courtesy of Historic Environment Scotland. The building is the only-surviving medieval castle in Glasgow.

3. Provand’s Lordship

Stood at the head of Castle Street opposite Glasgow Cathedral is one of the city’s most interesting buildings, the Provand’s Lordship. Built in 1471 as part of St Nicholas’s hospital, it is often cited as the oldest house in Glasgow, though some claim this distinction should be handed to Easterhouse’s Provan Hall instead, as it is thought to have been constructed around 10 years earlier.

The Provand’s Lordship was just one of a large number of similar buildings which once existed in this area, though all of these have since been swept away. Today it is one of just four surviving medieval buildings to be found in Glasgow. The interior includes historic 17th century furniture donated by Sir William Burrell.

4. Provan Hall

Situated in Auchinlea Park, Easterhouse, Provan Hall is thought to be Glasgow’s oldest house, and could be up to a decade older than Provand’s Lordship on Castle Street.

It was built in the 1460s for the Prebendary of Barlanark who used the house as an administration centre from where he could control his estate. Over the centuries, “Prebend” was changed to “Provan”. Provan Hall remained family-owned until the 1930s and was eventually purchased by a group of businessmen before being handed over to the National Trust for Scotland. The house is regarded as one of the most important residential buildings in the country.

5. Old College Bar

Located on the High Street, the Old College Bar is thought to be the oldest public house in Glasgow, with parts of the building dating back to 1515. A plaque above the entrance reads: “Glasgow’s oldest public house. Ancient staging post and hostelry”. The pub’s name is a reference to Glasgow University which, until 1870, was situated close by. The bar closed in 2013 after a dispute over unpaid bills. A planning application has since been submitted in favour of demolishing the vacant building for a new multi-million pound student accommodation project. Although developers have said that they aim to retain the building’s historic foundations in some form, campaigners have pledged to fight tooth and nail to save the Old College Bar from demolition. You might have to be quick if you want to catch this one.

6. Trongate Steeple

Built as part of a church in 1529, the Trongate Steeple is another of Glasgow’s finest historic gems. Members of Glasgow’s notorious Hell Fire Club burned down the church in 1793, leaving only the iconic steeple with its distinctive blue-faced clock tower standing. The steeple was then incorporated into a new church building designed by James Adam.

The building has been used as a theatre since the 1970s, with very few original features remaining on the inside. However, the Trongate Steeple has changed very little and remains one of the oldest and most valuable buildings in the city centre.

7. Haggs Castle and Pollok House

Located in the Pollokshields district of South Glasgow, Haggs Castle is a tower house dating from the 16th century. A stone plaque above the doorway states that the house was built in 1585 for Sir John Maxwell of Pollok and his wife. In the 18th century, the Maxwell family swapped Haggs Castle for Pollok House. Haggs was abandoned for a number of decades, but was restored during the 19th century and has since returned to private ownership.

The Maxwell family line occupied Pollok House from when it was first built in 1752 until 1966 when it was gifted to the city.

It remains uncertain who is responsible for designing the house, though some say it was the architect William Adam - father of the great Robert Adam, who would go on to design much of late 18th century Edinburgh.

Today, Pollok House is open to the public for most of the year. One of Pollok House’s owners, Sir John Stirling, was a founding member of the National Trust for Scotland, the property’s current custodians. A great collection of Spanish art adorns the interior of Pollok House. The collection was amassed by John Stirling Maxwell’s father William, who developed a strong love for Spanish culture after touring Europe extensively in the 1840s.

8. Tolbooth Steeple

One of the Glasgow’s most recognisable ancient landmarks, the Tolbooth Steeple was built in 1626 at Glasgow Cross. The distinctive stone steeple and clock tower is all that remains of the old Tolbooth buildings which were pulled down in 1921. These buildings were once home to the Town Clerk’s office, the council hall and the city prison, and it was outside the Tolbooth where witches and criminals met their end - usually by hanging. The exterior of the steeple was once ‘decorated’ with spikes to display the heads of those who had been executed.

The Tolbooth was the site of the Glasgow City Chambers until 1814, when the council moved to the Saltmarket before relocating again to George Square. The historic Mercat Cross, first erected at Glasgow Cross in the 17th century, is located nearby. When the Tolbooth Steeple was first built, Glasgow had a population of just 7,000.

9. St Andrew’s in the Square

Completed between 1739-1756, St Andrew’s in the Square is the fourth oldest church building in Glasgow, after Glasgow Cathedral, the Trongate Steeple and St Andrew’s-by-the-Green. Built using money from the city’s Tobacco Lords, the church was the first Presbyterian church to be constructed post-Reformation, and is widely considered to be among the finest neoclassical church buildings in Britain. After a failed invasion of England in 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobites camped within the church while it was still under construction. The building is now owned by the Glasgow Preservation Trust. St Andrew’s in the Square paved the way for other prominent buildings finished in a similar style, such as the townhouse of William Cunninghame on Exchange Square (built 1778 - now the Gallery of Modern Art), and Hutchesons’ Hall on Ingram Street (1802-1805).

Provand's Lordship

The oldest house in Glasgow, the eccentrically named Provand's Lordship was built in 1471 for the chaplain of St Nicholas Hospital.

The city's only medieval building to avoid the wrecking ball, the house is now a museum. It's a fascinating place to see period details in situ, from 16th-century furnishings to a 20th-century sweet shop. The building also hosts a series of rotating exhibitions, so drop in to see what's on. The garden surrounding the medieval house re-creates a medicinal herb garden based on a 15th-century design.

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We’ll start at Glasgow Cathedral, where we’ll meet St Mungo, the city’s patron saint, and learn about Glasgow’s humble beginnings 1,500 years ago. We’ll bustle along Glasgow’s High Street next, where a small city had started to take shape 900 years later, in the 1400s. It was busy with the thousands of pilgrims who came to worship at the shrine of St Mungo. In the 1700s, there were Tobacco Lords on the High Street, and Glasgow had become “the cleanest and beautifulest and best built city in Britain,” according to one English visitor. (He did add, “London excepted,” but in Glasgow we like to forget about that.)

A herb garden filled with medicinal plants
Street art that tells the story of the city
A roundabout on which stands the steeple of a building once used as a prison
A greenhouse of exotic plants in the shape of an upside down ship

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Provand's Lordship is on Castle Street across from Castle Square and St Mungo's Cathedral . Directly south is a former church now part of the University of Strathclyde , known as Barony Hall . The masonry of the three-story villa consists of roughly hewn rubble from sandstone . The windows have different dimensions and are not distributed symmetrically. The cross gables on the rear facade, which is exposed to the west, date from the 17th century. Andrew Muirhead's coat of arms can be found on the unadorned south gable. With the exception of the north gable, all roofs end with stepped gables . The stepped gable on the north side was lost in the course of the extension in the 1840s. The roofs are covered with slate.

The Provand's Lordship home, Glasgow

Do you enjoy history? Have you always felt attracted to the mysteries of medieval Scotland? Then the Provand&rsquos Lordship in Glasgow might be something for you. The oldest house in Glasgow, initially intended to become part of a hospital, the Provand&rsquos Lordship was built in 1471. As one of only four remaining medieval buildings in Glasgow it presents a unique opportunity to explore the history of this amazing Scottish city. In the 17th century it was subjected to an intensive restoration, which allows visitors to catch a unique glimpse of what life was like in Scotland in the 17th century. Behind the building, a medicinal herb garden can be found, known as St Nicholas Garden, reminding people of the initial intention of the building. In this garden, in the covered cloister, one can see the Tontine Faces, a series of stone masks with a remarkable history, which are somewhat famous in the area.

Easy to reach by bus or train, the Provand&rsquos Lordship is open for visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (except Friday and Sunday, when it opens at 11 am). Close to the oldest house in Glasgow, one can find the St Mungo museum of Religious Life and Art, displaying various artifacts and artworks related to the world&rsquos major religions and the history of religion in Scotland. Another place worth visiting nearby Provand&rsquos Lordship is the medieval Glasgow cathedral. Combining a vist to these three historical places in the amazing Scottish city of Glasgow is sure to provide you with an interesting and cultural day.

The museum is located in Cathedral Square, on the lands of Glasgow Cathedral off High Street. It was constructed in 1989 [6] on the site of a medieval castle-complex, the former residence of the bishops of Glasgow, parts of which can be seen inside the Cathedral and at the People's Palace, Glasgow. The museum building emulates the Scottish Baronial architectural style [7] used for the former bishop's castle. [8]

The museum opened in 1993. [9]

The museum houses exhibits relating to all the world's major religions, including a Zen garden and a sculpture showing Islamic calligraphy. It housed Salvador Dalí’s painting Christ of Saint John of the Cross from its opening in 1993 until the reopening of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in 2006. [10]

Watch the video: Provands Lordship, Glasgow