One of Scotland’s earliest Christian sites has re-opened to visitors.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced that visitors are once again able to visit the 900-year-old Whithorn Priory. 

One of Scotland’s earliest Christian communities lived and worshipped in Whithorn, and the oldest Christian monument in Scotland was found here.

The Latinus stone, which dates to the 400s, was discovered beneath the priory ruins during excavations in the 1880s. Translated, it reads: “We praise you, the Lord! Latinus, descendant of Barravados, aged 35, and his daughter, aged 4, made a sign here.”

The priory was established in the 1100s by Premonstretarian monks, and it later became the cathedral church of Galloway.

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After the Reformation of 1560, little of the priory survives today, but visitors can still follow the route taken by medieval pilgrims to visit St Ninian’s shrine at the east end of the church.

The Whithorn Museum, which stands on the old cathedral priory grounds, hosts the Latinus stone and offers a unique and immersive way to explore the tranquil remains of this once-bustling power centre.

Visitors will now be able to access the ruined nave of the cathedral church and the upper parts of the crypt. Temporary restrictions will remain in place to the internal crypt and Lady Chapel areas. Visitors can also access the graveyard, which has been accessible throughout the season.

Whithorn Priory is the latest of a series of sites to reopen following inspections and necessary repairs to the masonry.

Robin Johnston, Head of South Region at HES, said: “As one of Scotland’s oldest known Christian settlements, Whithorn Priory is a gem in beautiful Dumfries and Galloway.

"Visitors can walk the same routes that pilgrims did almost a millennium earlier and see the Latinus Stone which is the oldest Christian monument in Scotland. We are excited to welcome visitors back to this historic site once again.”

Whithorn Priory and Museum is open from Sunday to Friday, 11am to 4pm (closed for lunch 12.30pm to 1.30pm), until 31 October. The priory nave is open year-round.

Visitors are encouraged to book tickets before visiting.