Whithorn (400)

According to Bede (writing around 720) the first missionary to Scotland was Ninian, but as already mentioned, missionaries were in Scotland long before Ninian. There is very little information about him. He is supposed to have been born around 360AD of Christian parents. When he was about 25 he went to Rome where he remained for ten or twelve years. On his return he set about his missionary work in Scotland. Unfortunately, his long stay in Rome would undoubtedly have influenced his view of Christianity. His method would have been far more linked to the ritual of church service rather than the preaching of the love of God through the power of the Spirit. His first church seems to have been in Whithorn, one of the most southern points in Scotland. This was a time when the Romans would come up from the south to push back the Picts who were invading from the north. The area of Whithorn was very secluded and was ignored by both the Romans and Picts, so it was a haven that Ninian could return to from his missionary journeys. His church there was made of stone and known as ‘The White House.’ Ninian seems to have evanglised the disputed area between the two walls, areas which had been evangelised before but which now showed little sign of the work of his predecessors. He began a monastery where he taught young men who followed in his footsteps He died in 432. Although Ninian appears to have had a powerful ministry, it appears that the results soon disappeared after his death.