Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's all in the bones .........:)


A little family history....

My grandparents Mary McBride and Henry Bradley were married at St Francis Church, Cumberland Street, The Gorbals, Glasgow, Scotland on February 14, 1911.
The Glasgow Story: the church circa 1919

When I realized this I thought ...how romantic:) I also wondered why my grandparents would marry in a church that was not in the district where they lived.

Then I did a little bit of research....and after contacting a local parish priest (yes I did.. shock horror!).... He very nicely emailed me back and told me that in the day St Francis Church was usually very busy on Valentine's Day. Why?...because they had what was purported to be a relic of Saint Valentine.  I then found this link:)

The opulent interior of St Francis' Church, Gorbals, photographed in 1919. Relics of St Valentine are said to have been kept in a casket housed in a side aisle of the church, from 1868 until 1999.
A Franciscan friars' mission was established in Cumberland Street in 1868, and a temporary chapel built. A much larger Gothic style church, designed by Peter Paul Pugin, was opened in 1881. A French family is said to have given the remains of Saint Valentine, an early Christian martyr from northern Italy, to the Franciscans in 1868. They decided that a suitable home was the new church in the Gorbals. Churches in Terni, near Rome, and in Dublin also claim to hold the remains of Saint Valentine, and there is a story that the bones were divided between the three locations.
It was only when the Franciscans moved with the relics to the Blessed John Duns Scotus Church in Ballater Street in 1999 that the existence of the remains became widely known. Following extensive publicity, Glasgow proclaimed itself City of Love and in February 2002 launched to the City of Love Festival, an event which has been repeated in subsequent years.
Reference: Mitchell Library, 333249

His bones in a casket......Source
A few old pictures.....post WW11


At the time I contacted the parish priest the church was no longer being used and was a walk-in civic centre. But, according to one of my genealogical blogger friends it was bought back for a £1 a few years ago to be reopened as a church.
As it looks today.
Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!

P.S Just as a point of clarification...my grandmother did live in the Gorbal's parish for a short time prior to her marriage in order to be married at St Francis as required by church law.


  1. What a wonderful story for today xx

  2. Wow.... for a pound we could have bought us a church Mary Ann.....and...opened it as a bed and breakfast or something.... wouldn't that be grand? .... I wonder what the heating bills and electric would be....yikes!

  3. whoops....forgot....Happy Valentine's Day!!

  4. What a fascinating and wonderful tale! I love when you find out these little tidbits of family lore. What a gorgeous church as well!~

  5. Wow, an Italian saints bones end up in a Scottish church via a French family, how strange (and continental!) is that! Great story Mary Ann, thanks for sharing and Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours! Deb

  6. That is so romantic. I am pleased such a lovely old church will be used as a church again. Happy Valentine's Day. I hope you will be able to visit the church one day.

  7. are you kidding me!!!!!! I just saw that you won the little donkey!! good grief.

    You win all the time! .... sheeeesh....yes...I'm a poor loser.... pout......

    get your ass out to the lottery depot..... and when you win.... spread the wealth, eh.....?? give the donkey sanctuary a big present.....

  8. You won?? How cool!! congrats!!

    Sweet story for Valentines Day!....or any day. :)


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