Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 10:48 UK

Bishops' treasures brought home

A ring - Picture courtesy National Museums Scotland
The items buried with the bishops have returned to Whithorn

Precious items buried with the medieval bishops of Galloway have returned to Scotland's "cradle of Christianity".

Gold rings, sequins from vestments and a chalice are among the items which have been taken back to Whithorn for a special exhibition.

The event is designed to celebrate the centenary of Whithorn Priory being brought into state care.

The artefacts on show were discovered during an archaeological excavation of part of the priory church.

Historic Scotland collections manager Rachael Dickson said she felt the exhibition was the best way to mark the centenary.

Beautiful artefacts

"Whithorn Priory has now belonged to the people of Scotland for 100 years and we felt this was something worth celebrating," she said.

"A special exhibition of the remarkable and beautiful artefacts discovered in the excavation seemed a great way of marking the anniversary."

Every summer a number of famous finds are taken from Edinburgh to Whithorn to go on show.

Chalice - Picture courtesy National Museums Scotland
Whithorn was the home to the bishops of Galloway in medieval times

The special centenary items are in addition to those, and will be on display until the end of October.

Janet Butterworth, Whithorn Trust director, said: "The items being shown in the special exhibition are some of the smaller finds from the excavation and in many ways some of the most interesting because they get you closer to real people.

"The sequins from the vestments give an idea of just how richly dressed a late medieval bishop would have been.

"This exhibition is a great chance to see many of the finds together and get an insight into what life was like at Whithorn Priory in the middle ages."

Dr David Caldwell, Keeper of Scotland and Europe for National Museums Scotland, said it had been happy to lend the items for the exhibition.

"These finds are of great significance and the centenary is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the importance of the priory, which acted as the cathedral for the bishops of Galloway," he said.

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