Thursday, 25 August 2016

A link between the church and the fair at Govan Church, Glasgow

This summer I was in Edinburgh visiting family. I was only there for a short time and really wanted to revisit Glasgow.....a day is not long enough!
As well as visiting Kelvingrove Museum, the transport museum and walking part of the amazing graffiti trail I made a point of visiting Govan Church.

Govan Church, Showman's Yard Glasgow
Govan Church and Showman's Yard

Inside are some of the most striking stone carvings that I have ever seen, The Govan Stones, Viking Hogback stones.  Large black curved burial stones looking like upturned boats or the humps of whales, they gave me goosebumps! I thought they were magnificent....stunning. I would have loved to have seen them all those years ago when they were in their original positions.

viking hogback stones,katie morgan
Three of the five Viking hogback stones in Govan Church.

Whilst walking around I noticed a little galloper painted and part of a stained glass window. The curator said that the fairground families that had the yard next door had paid for the restoration and had added the galloper into the glass. Now that I'm home I'm enjoying trying to find more out ,of the link between the fairground and Govan Church.

katie morgan
Galloper decoration on stained glass in Govan Church.

This area was once the home of Fairfield, a massive shipyard.
http://www.govanremgroup.org.uk/digital_stories.php

Picture by Hawkeye Aerial Photography courtesy of BAM

 When it finished two old fairground families set up quarters but were never allowed to live on them full time. Now the area across the river has had the beginnings of development with the building of The Transport Museum ( Riverside Museum),the land around is starting to be more valuable. Tara S Beall was Artist in residence at Glasgow's Riverside Museum and tried to promote the knowledge, history, culture and modern life of the two local fair families, the Stringfellows and the Johnstones. In 2013 there was a three day event and I think that she is still involved with helping fight the causes of these families.
For over 50 years Govan Church has been important to the show folk holding weddings,christenings and funerals. When restoration was needed the families had six windows restored.. ‘

The inscription added to the base of the St Elizabeth window reads:
 TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN MEMORY OF CATHERINE MACAULEY, ALISTAIR McCRONE PHYSICIAN, and LESLIE BURNS SHOWMAN. AS AN EXPRESSION OF THE DEVOTION OF THESE AND OTHER FRIENDS, INCLUDING THE FIRST GOVAN EASTER CARNIVAL, THESE SIX WINDOWS WERE RESTORED AND REDEDICATED ON 9th JUNE 1991
Inside Govan Church,Glasgow

It appears that cultural traditional events, lives etc are sometimes classed as intangible which means that they are not protected in the same way as 'tangible' such as buildings etc. In 2013  the UK had not signed a UN charter to help protect cultural heritage and the 'intangible. Social events and craftsmanship is 'intangible' but the vehicles,buildings and tools are 'tangible'. Now that we are heading for leaving Europe will any of this change? I think a big can of worms are being opened. If anyone needs to correct me or knows more, then please comment, Thank you.
https://earlymedievalgovan.wordpress.com/category/museums-conservation/

There has been a fair in Govan for 260 years, and at some a bit of local folk lore arrived. A sheep's head is carried at the head of the Govan Fair procession every year. The story goes that a young man was once refused permission to marry the ministers daughter so he came back at night, cut the head off the ministers prize ram and carried it through the streets of Govan on a pole. On the first Friday in June this event takes place with the grudge being 'put to bed' with the minister crowning the Govan Fair Queen.
https://govanremembersistheww1.wordpress.com/sheeps-heid/

Well I'm not going to delve further in this blog post, but I will say that Govan is worth visiting. There is a huge community spirit and a lot of voices who need to be heard and all care for the area. I loved visiting Govan Church and of course being a fairground decorator/painter, I loved finding the little stained glass galloper.

You can find lovely stories and images on this site -Govan Reminisence Group  http://www.govanremgroup.org.uk/digital_stories.php

No comments:

Post a Comment

Translate

Blog Top Sites