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18 July 2019

Songs from centuries past bring history to life

A new audio guide to Glasgow Cathedral lets visitors experience centuries of unique musical heritage.

A reconstruction illustration of the cathedral in around 1420. The walls are painted white with red detailing.

A new audio guide to Glasgow Cathedral has been launched to help visitors to step back in time to discover the history of the site and experience centuries of unique musical heritage.

Among the pieces of medieval music is one that has recently been identified as probably Scottish by Edinburgh University Early Music Historian James Cook. The earliest piece visitors can listen to in the cathedral on the audio tour could be from as early as c.800.

Featuring choral performances from the resident Glasgow Cathedral Choir and the critically acclaimed Binchois Consort, directed by Andrew Kirkman, the audio guide brings together 1000 years of religious music for the first time.

Hannah Brown, Interpretation Officer at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), who devised the audio guide said:

“The new audio guide will allow visitors to find out more about the Cathedral’s rich and fascinating history but also enhance their visit by taking then on a moving and evocative musical journey.”

With these new audio guides, visitors will be able to hear some of the beautiful choral harmonies that would have filled this awe-inspiring space over the centuries.”

Andrew Forbes, Director of Music at Glasgow Cathedral, said:

"Visitors to services at the Cathedral frequently comment on how much the choir adds to their visit: the power and beauty these voices in such a magnificent space can be a moving experience indeed.

I’m delighted that those visiting on weekdays will now get a chance to experience this added dimension too, through the audio guide, as I’m sure it will greatly enhance their visit.”

Glasgow Cathedral is the only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland to have survived the Protestant Reformation of 1560 virtually intact. The cathedral is dedicated to St Kentigern - or St Mungo, as he is affectionately known - the patron saint of Glasgow. A major pilgrimage destination in medieval times, today visitors can still follow the route these pilgrims would have taken to see the tomb of St Kentigern, who is believed to have been buried on the on the site of the cathedral in around 612.

The new Glasgow Cathedral audio guides are now available on site in eight languages (English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin, Polish and European Portuguese) priced £3.00 for adults, £2.00 for concession and £1.00 for children. A 20% discount is available for Historic Scotland members. Entry to Glasgow Cathedral is free.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
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For further information, please contact:

Stacey Dent
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct line: 0131 668 8097
Mobile: 07557 489 322
communications@hes.scot

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