The Whithorn Way

in the steps of Saints, Monks & Monarchs

Pilgrimage Story

Whithorn has been a place of pilgrimage from as early as the 7th century and remained so until the time of the Reformation. Post the reformation only a very few pilgrims continued to come to Whithorn however in more recent times the story of Whithorn and its connection with St Ninian has seen a growing revival in pilgrim visitors to the area.

The importance of Whithorn is related to St Ninian and his establishment of the "Candida Casa" in the later 4th century. The life of St Ninian is shrouded with uncertainty and it was not until the 8th century that there was any written records made about the life and times of St Ninian. What is know is that St Ninian's influence has spread across Scotland and there are churches named after this saint from Whithorn as far north as Shetland.

The importance of Whithorn has impacted on the lives of later day Saints, the setting up of monastic communities, and the arrival of Kings and Commoners to the holy sites at Whithorn. Amongst the royal visitors there has been:-

  • 1301 - Prince Edward of England (later to become King Edward II)
  • 1329 - King Robert Bruce
  • 1425 - King James I (established a decree to support pilgrims to visit St Ninian's Shrine)
  • 1473 - Queen Margaret wife of James III
  • 1488 to 1509 - King James IV (frequent pilgrimages and one on foot)
  • 1532 & 1533 - King James V
  • 1563 - Mary Queen of Scots
  • 1955 - Queen Elizabeth II
  • 2000 - Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
For fuller details link to HES website by clicking here.

The St Ninian influence has been widespread and below are some of the resultant west of Scotland Christian church manifestations that speak of the spread and growth of Christianity resulting from this first recorded Christian influence in Scotland. All of these images relate to buildings or structures that are passed on the Whithorn Pilgrimage Way.

Church 1
Church 2
Church 3

Glasgow Cathedral

Govan Old Church

Paisley Abbey

Church 4
Church 5
Church 6

Collegiate Church Lochwinnoch

Kilwinning Abbey

Portland Church Troon

Church 7
Church 8
Church 9

St Nicholas's Chapel, Prestwick

(Robert the) Bruce's Well

Crossraguel Abbey

Church 10
Church 11
Church 12

Colmonell Church

The Martyr's Tomb

New Luce Church

Church 13
Church 14
Church 15

Glenluce Abbey

Mochrum Parish Church


Whithorn Priory

                                St Ninian's Cave

St Ninian's Chapel

Click to return to the Home Page.

This website is sponsored by Walking Support

Walking Support is a business that plans and books walking holidays on many long distance walking routes in Northern Britain.
For more information link to

WS Logo

© Whithorn Way Steering Group   Designed by I-Net Support   Last update - February 2016   Date accessed -