Pilgrimage and Visual Genre: The Architecture of Twentieth-Century Roman Catholic Pilgrimage in Scotland

Robert Proctor, Ambrose Gillick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)
96 Downloads (Pure)


As Roman Catholics gained confidence in twentieth-century Scotland, they revived pre-Reformation shrines and pilgrimages and created new shrines with transnational connections to the modern Catholic world. Three sites in this campaign were Carfin, a new pilgrimage center based on Lourdes; Whithorn, site of medieval pilgrimages to Saint Ninian; and Dunfermline, associated with the canonized Queen Margaret of Scotland. Each had different meanings for Scottish Catholicism. The landscapes of these shrines included proposed new buildings, completed buildings, including shrines and churches, and existing features, notably caves or grottoes and medieval ruins. Whether found, professionally designed, or made by the clergy and their congregations, these sites framed and ordered pilgrimage rituals and lent them meaning. Seeing common architectural, visual features across these pilgrimages, and drawing on new archival research, we suggest that the employment of recognizable visual genres was a key way of creating a consensus amongst the faithful. International symbols of saintly presence were remade for the local context, with intertwined religious and political intentions, giving tangible expression to a revived Catholicism in Scotland, and promoting a new vision of Scotland as a Catholic nation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-487
Number of pages32
JournalMaterial Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief
Issue number4
Early online date17 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Pilgrimage and Visual Genre: The Architecture of Twentieth-Century Roman Catholic Pilgrimage in Scotland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this