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19 September 2014
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The Kingdom of Strathclyde -
Govan Parish Church, Glasgow
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Govan was the most important religious site in the Britonnic Kingdom of Strathclyde. Archaeological digs have revealed that a curved side of the graveyard follows the line of a Dark Age boundary ditch that would have marked out an ancient monastic enclosure.

Inside the church is the Govan Sarcophagus, believed to belong to St Constantine, but probably belonging to a king called Constantine who ruled Strathclyde in the 9th Century. Originally 3 sarcophagi were discovered but the others have now vanished.

Govan Sarcophugus

Detail from the Govan Sarcophagus
A fine example of the art work from the dwindling Kingdom of the Britons of Strathclyde.


Kingdom of Strathclyde Factsheet

  • After the collapse of the Kingdom of Dumbarton in the 870s the Britons started to fill the vacuum that the Vikings had left in their wake. The Britonnic king, Artgal, had been murdered by Constantine, the son of Kenneth MacAlpine, but the Britons replaced him with Rhun and started to rebuild a new kingdom known as Strathclyde. It stretched along the Clyde valley and from Govan in Glasgow down to Penrith in Cumbria. Its royal centre was at Cadzow, near Hamilton, with Partick, in Glasgow, serving as a royal hunting forest.

  • In 878 the Britons may have gained revenge on the house of MacAlpine when Eochaid, son of Rhun, and his foster father, Giric, forced the house of MacAlpine from the Kingship of Pictland, however, in 889 they returned and expelled Giric and Eochaid.

  • For the Britons this may have been a disaster. The following year, Welsh sources note, the men of Strathclyde who didn’t accept the new order, went into exile and settled in Gwynedd (or Wales). Following this exodus, Strathclyde seems to have become a sub-kingdom of the new Pictish and Gaelic Kingdom of Alba, with its royal line related to the Kings of Alba.

  • The last king of Strathclyde, Owein the Bald, died fighting for Malcolm II, King of Alba, at the Battle of Carham.

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