One of the most rewarding lessons I’ve learned whilst living in Glasgow is to LOOK UP. Most of the city’s buildings, especially the Victorian-era buildings, are adorned with sculptures, inscriptions, and other such decorations.
A common decoration around the buildings of Glasgow University is the above little statue and relief of St Kentgernus (as this relief states), this particular one sitting high on the wall on the University Avenue side of the John McIntyre Building.
So, who is St Kentgernus and why is he featured on many buildings around the campus of Glasgow University?
A simple and quick precursory search on the net for St Kentgernus came up with very little. Absolutely nothing in most search engines. Nothing on Flickr or Wikipedia either. Peculiar, huh?
The answer lies in the fact that Kentgernus is a variation of the Latin Cantigernus, which in English reads as Kentigern. St Kentgernus is St Kentigern.
Commonly known as St Mungo, he founded the city of Glasgow in the 6th century by the banks of the River Clyde and set up a monastery at a spot where now sits the Glasgow Cathedral. His remains lay buried in the crypt of the Cathedral. St Mungo is the patron saint of Glasgow, and it is from his legend that the city gets its coat of arms and its motto, Let Glasgow Flourish.
The connection between St Mungo and Glasgow University lies in the very first years of the life of the University, as the University was initially based in a charterhouse at the Glasgow Cathedral in 1451. The legend of the four religious miracles of Saint Mungo which he performed in Glasgow is also incorporated into the coat of arms of Glasgow University.
[Poll #2: What's your connection to Glasgow University?] Click on the photo above for a larger version. © 2009 GlasgowUniPhoto.com All Rights Reserved.