Glasgow’s new Archbishop shuns grand mansion for small parish house


As the new leader of Scotland’s largest Catholic community, he could easily enjoy life in an opulent residence reserved for a man in his position.

However, just like Pope Francis, Archbishop William Nolan eschewed the larger estate favored by his predecessors for a more modest abode.

The 68-year-old said he would not move to the lavish Glasgow mansion which was previously occupied by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia before his death in January last year.

Instead of moving to the Archbishop’s house on St Andrew’s Drive near Bellahouston Park, he will live in the parish house at St Patrick’s Church in Anderston.

Explaining his decision, he said the mansion was “beautiful but too big” and said living on the smaller property would allow him to be close to parishioners and get daily exercise.

READ MORE: Archbishop-elect of Glasgow on the Trident ‘scandal’

He said: “I wanted to live within walking distance of the cathedral and the offices of the archdiocese.

“When I was Bishop of Galloway I lived in the apartment above the office of
Ayr and I used to try to walk an hour a day for exercise.

“I found the Archbishop’s house, although lovely, to be too big for me and I don’t want to feel isolated and waste time being stuck in traffic every day.


“So I decided to live at St Patrick’s Parish House in Anderston where I can be close to people and walk to the cathedral and my new office.”

Pope Francis has also opted for a more modest lifestyle than his predecessors.

When elected, he went against Vatican tradition by choosing not to live in the opulent apostolic apartments. Instead, he lives in Casa Santa Marta, a Vatican residence that houses visiting clergy and non-clergy.

READ MORE: Glasgow appoints new archbishop at cathedral mass

On the day he was introduced to the masses as the new Pope, he refused to ride in the Popemobile, a bespoke Benz that has a white leather interior with gold trim and a white leather turret that can be lifted by a hydraulic lift, saying “I’m just going to get…on the bus.”

The papal leader also made headlines for choosing a 30-year-old white Renault 4 as his mode of transport. Although he later bought another vehicle, he later raffled it off to raise money for the poor.


While Benedict XVI preferred red moccasins and ermine-lined coats, he wore simple black shoes and a plain wristwatch with a black strap to his first mass as pontiff.

Closer to home, in 2014 the new Bishop of Paisley shunned a more comfortable address to settle in a parish house on a housing estate in an area of ​​multiple deprivation.

Bishop John Keenan, who grew up in a skyscraper in Maryhill in Glasgow, said the Catholic Church was going through a cultural shift and should “adapt and change in order to be close to the people of our time”.

His first move as the new Bishop of Paisley saw him refuse to take the detached sandstone villa in the town, Renfrewshire, used by his predecessors, and instead move to a church property at the far end east of Greenock.

It came following criticism within the Catholic Church over the way many clergy live, with former Bishop of Motherwell Joe Devine sparking controversy in 2008 for demolishing his house to build a new residence at an estimated cost of £650,000.


Comments are closed.