St. Magnus   45 comments

I spent 3 days in Kirkwall waiting for a boat a while back and as I have just done a few posts about the Shetland Islands I thought I better include the Orkney’s, this is St.Magnus Cathedral which dominates the skyline of Kirkwall, the main town of Orkney, a group of islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland. It is the most northerly cathedral in the British Isles, a fine example of Romanesque architecture built for the bishops of Orkney when the islands were ruled by the Norse Earls of Orkney.

It is owned not by the church, but by the burgh of Kirkwall as a result of an act of King James III of Scotland following Orkney’s annexation by the Scottish Crown in 1468. It has its own dungeon.

Its construction commenced in 1137 and it was added to over the next three hundred years. The first Bishop was William the Old, and the diocese was under the authority of the Archbishop of Nidaros in Norway. It was for Bishop William that the nearby Bishop’s Palace was built.

Before the Reformation, the Cathedral was presided over by the Bishop of Orkney, whose seat was in Kirkwall. Today it is a parish church of the Church of Scotland.





Sneaky shot of the inside.




Front door surround has seen better days, love those hinges.

St. Magnus







45 responses to “St. Magnus

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  1. I’d love to see this some day. What did you think of Orkney? I’ve never been.

    • Seemed like a nice place, had lunch followed by a piece of cake, but they brought me the wrong cake so only had a bite as I didn’t like that one, they wouldn’t let me pay for my whole lunch because I didn’t eat the cake, ended up with a compromise and I paid for the main course, you would never get that in London.

  2. Very beautiful place and photos!

  3. Hard to believe that this much construction took place not only a millenium ago, but on an island.

  4. What a grand place. I love the first shot with the cemetery in the foreground. Excellent detail.

  5. Great colours! Beautiful

  6. I’ve been to St Magnus many times. it is respected as a Cathedral. It has the most gorgeous organ pipes, the sound is glorious. It is known as a Viking Cathedral because its foundations were built by the Vikings. There is a very interesting history to be obtained, not just about the bricks and mortar. Over the centuries there have been the developments that the visitor sees today. Dr John Rae who discovered a route through the NW Passage, is laid to rest in the Cathedral. There is also a poignant memorial to the loss of The Royal Oak in the body of the kirk.

    Sometimes I look at the photos I have taken over the years, in and out of the Cathedral, to compare the light at different times of year and the effect on the structures and the town.

  7. Magnificent photos with color and detail. Especially the one at the front door and the first one. The history you provided enhances the photo. Thank you.

  8. Terrific post and Great shots Mark!

  9. For some reason it reminds me of St. David’s Cathedral in South Wales. Great photos.

  10. What a beautiful place! I love your picture of the front door!

  11. Cool photos. Love the textures on the buildings.

  12. The first one is stunning!

  13. I remember this church and graveyard from my visit there Mark. Really cool location but didn’t get a chance to go inside. Wonderful details and textures.

  14. Love your photos! Refreshing and new motives you don’t see everywhere, love the first one- and the building is so clean! Unlike most cathedrals which are located in the cities…

  15.! We never made it past the isle of Skye on our Scotland road trip. Itching to go back ^_^

  16. This place looks wonderful Mark, nice work!

  17. nice details and look 🙂

  18. Awesome images.

  19. What a fascinating history, Mark, and the architectural details are quite impressive. Love the handsome hardware on those grand old doors!

  20. You’ve shown us a mighty fine Cathedral there with your super photographs !

  21. Amazing picsvu have got there 🙂

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