Prior of Whithorn

The Prior of Whithorn was the head of the monastic community at Whithorn Priory, attached to the bishopric of Galloway at Whithorn. It was originally an Augustinian establishment, but became Premonstratensian by the time of the second or third known prior. As most of the priors of Whithorn appear to be native Galwegian Gaels, it would appear that most priors before the 16th century at least were drawn from region, something unusual in medieval Scotland. The following is a list of abbots and commendators.


List of priors of Whithorn

  • Edanus (Adam or Áedan), 1154 x 1161
  • William (?), 1172x1178[1]
  • Michael, 1200 x 1209.
  • Malcolm, 1209 x 1226
  • Paul, 1217 x 1235
  • Duncan, 1235
  • Gregory, 1235 x1253
  • Duncan, 1273
  • Dungal, 1279
  • Thomas, 1287
  • John, 1293 -1294
  • Maurice, 1296
  • Michael MacKenlagh (or de Makenlagh), 1355[2]
  • Gilbert, 1382-1413
  • Thomas "Macilhachnisi" ("Makillehachuyfy"), 1413 -1431
  • James Cameron, 1446[3]
  • William Douglas, 1447-1467 x 1468
  • Fergus MacDowell, 1466-1470
  • David Ralston, 1468
  • David Lindsay, 1470
  • Roger, 1473
  • Patrick Vaus, 1474 -1503
  • Patrick McCathroge [MacCaffrey?], x 1477
  • Thomas Adunnale, 1470s
  • Henry MacDowell, 1503-1514 x 1516

List of commendators

  • Alexander Stewart de Pitcairne, 1516-1518
  • Silvio Passarini, 1516-1526
  • Gavin Dunbar, 1518-1524[4]
  • William Dick, 1520
  • John Maxwell, 1524[5]
  • Ninian Fleming, 1524-1537 x 1539
  • Abraham Vaus, 1532
  • Malcolm Fleming, 1539-1568
  • Robert Stewart, 1568-1581 x 1582[6]
  • William Fleming, 1568-1594
  • Patrick Stewart, 1582-1605
  • Gavin Hamilton, 1605-1612[7]


  1. ^ Named in the St Andrews Liber as "prior de Galuueia"; may have been the first Premonstratensian prior, but alternatively may have been the Abbot of Soulseat or the Prior of St Mary's Isle.
  2. ^ Became Bishop of Galloway.
  3. ^ Became Abbot of Holyrood.
  4. ^ Became Archbishop of Glasgow.
  5. ^ Also Abbot of Dundrennan.
  6. ^ Illegitimate son of King James V of Scotland; previously Abbot of Holyrood (1539-1568).
  7. ^ Also Bishop of Galloway, Commendator of Dundrennan and Commendator of Glenluce.


  • Donaldson, Gordon, "The Bishops and Priors of Whithorn", in Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History & Antiquarians Society: Transactions and Journal of Proceedings, Third Series, vol. 27 (1950), pp. 127-54
  • Dowden, John, The Bishops of Scotland, ed. J. Maitland Thomson, (Glasgow, 1912)
  • Watt, D.E.R. & Shead, N.F. (eds.), The Heads of Religious Houses in Scotland from the 12th to the 16th Centuries, The Scottish Records Society, New Series, Volume 24, (Edinburgh, 2001), pp. 216-20

See also

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