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Excitement as ancient staff returns to area

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By Christie Breen
Dumfries and West
Excitement as ancient staff returns to area

THE historical Whithorn Crozier has been returned to the Whithorn Trust as part of a temporary exhibition.

The 12th century crook-headed staff was the symbol of bishops and abbots and is of immense religious significance.

It is on loan from National Museums Scotland and will serve as the centrepiece of an exhibition in Whithorn’s museum.

It was last on display in the village in 2017 and its return has been welcomed by members of the museum trust, as Julia Muir Watt explained: “The return of the crozier is always welcomed by the people of Whithorn, but it is particularly timely this year, the 750th anniversary of Robert the Bruce’s birth. Robert the Bruce’s last pilgrimage to Whithorn was in 1329.

“We’re delighted to be able to display this work of art in the anniversary year, a reminder of the grandeur of Whithorn’s cathedral, the importance of its bishops and their royal visitors.”

The exhibition was officially launched on Tuesday in the company of Archbishop of Glasgow and former Bishop of Galloway William Nolan along with Minister Alex Currie, of St Ninian’s Priory, and representatives Reverend Dr Elizabeth Breakey and James Cavendish from the Episcopal and Orthodox churches. As well, there were representatives from Historic Environment Scotland, All Roads Lead to Whithorn, Whithorn ReBuild, Cold Case Whithorn and museum volunteers, staff and trustees.

Museum attendant Ruaridh Soutar gave a learned introduction to the crozier’s history, the bishops who used it and its likely role when King Robert came on pilgrimage to Whithorn in 1329.

Julia added: “The crozier will be on display during 2024, and this is also the 100th anniversary of the Galloway Diocesan pilgrimage to Whithorn and the cave so the Trust looks forward to welcoming many back in late August.”

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