Provand’s Lordship, built in 1471 is the oldest house in Glasgow

Kim Traynor CC BY-SA 3.0

The Provand’s Lordship in Glasgow, Scotland, is a medieval house still standing in the city.

It is one of only four remaining buildings from this period and although it isn’t the oldest building in Glasgow, it is the oldest house.

Built in 1471 by Andrew Murihead, Bishop of Glasgow, it was originally built as a part of St. Nicholas’s Hospital. The Murihead coat of arms is still on one of the house’s sides.

The rest of the buildings belonging to the hospital’s complex were torn down between the 18th and 20th century.

Provand’s Lordship, Castle Street, Glasgow. Kim Traynor CC BY-SA 3.0


Sign above the entrance to Provand’s Lordship, confirming its status as the oldest house in Glasgow. Stephen Sweeney CC BY-SA 2.0

Despite the fact that it was originally built for the hospital, it is believed that the house provided accommodation for the canons of the cathedral chapter.

In the 1800s it was occupied by the canon of the Prebend of Barlanark. As time passed, the word “Prebend” was altered to “Provand”, which gave the house it’s name.

At the beginning of the 20th century the house was occupied by the Morton family and used as a sweet factory and a sweet shop.

In 1906 the Provand’s Lordship Society was formed with on goal in mind: To save the deteriorating house.

In 1908, with the owner’s co-operation the society opened several rooms to the public. A while later they raised enough money to buy the lordship and start its restoration.

In 1927 Sir William Burrel, a Scottish shipping merchant and philanthropist, gave a donation to the Society in order to help them with the process. Some of his 17th century furniture is displayed at Provand’s Lordship.

The house was donated to the City of Glasgow in 1978 by the Provand’s Lordship Society.

Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow – A view from the back. Char CC BY-SA 2.0


 The gardens were officially opened in 1995 by HRH The Princess Royal. James Allan CC BY-SA 2.0

Behind the house is St.Nicholas Garden, a medicinal herb garden, built in 1995. The garden was recreated in the style of gardens from the 15th century.

The interior of the lordship is an example of what a home would have looked like somewhere around 1700.

The central room on the ground floor represents a demonstrative display of medieval Glasgow. The Lord of the Prebend’s chamber is located on the first floor.

There is a mannequin Prebend dressed in a period robe placed in the chamber. A wonderful collection of wooden furniture can be seen in the rest of the house’s rooms. There is a gallery on the upper floor.

A room in the house. Char CC BY-SA 2.0


The Prebend Chamber. Char CC BY-SA 2.0


Dining room in Provand’s Lordship, with coat of arms of Charles the II, Glasgow, Scotland. amanderson2 CC BY 2.0

Today Provand’s Lordship is operated as one of many marvelous Glasgow museums. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday and admission is free.

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