In the eighth century, Bede wrote of Whithorn as a shrine established three centuries before his time: “an episcopal see, called after S. Martin the bishop, and famous on account of the church where he rests in body, along with many other saints. The place belongs to the province of the Bernicians (Northumbrians) and is commonly called The White House. It received this name because he built the church there of stone, not a common practice among the Britons”
Archaeologists have established that in the fifth century, the early Christian settlement at Whithorn had contacts with Gaul, a sophisticated church hierarchy, and was importing fine wines and pottery to a thriving and literate community, which was in touch with a movement of Christian ideas and art coming from Europe and beyond. As such, Whithorn is quite possibly Scotland’s earliest town. Later, in the middle ages, the burgh of Whithorn thrived as the shrine was visited by Scottish Kings and Queens; from Robert the Bruce to Mary Queen of Scots, and by thousands of pilgrims.
Our tradition of welcome is 1500 years old. Come to Whithorn and experience it!