St Magnus Cathedral

With plenty of competition for one's attention as offered by nearby Scara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar, St Magnus Cathedral towers above the Kirkwall landscape with its distinctive red sandstone hues.

Work began on construction of the 'finest church the North had ever seen' in 1137, and it now belongs to the 'people of Kirkwall'. The original design of St Magnus Cathedral was influenced by Durham Cathedral and Dunfermline Abbey and took the form as a cruciform shape with apsed chapels at the eastern ends of the choir and both transepts and vaulted aisles in the choir and nave, and a tower over the crossing. The arcading of the aisles would consist of circular piers and arches that would support the triforium and above that rose the clerestory. By the 1150s the choir was completed, the transepts had been constructed to triforium level, and the crossing and nave were less than half complete. After the deaths of Earl Rognvald and Bishop William, work stopped until the late twelfth century.

The Society of the Friends of St Magnus Cathedral was formed in 1958 and serves primarily as a fund raising group ensuring that the building is preserved for future generations. You may learn more about their magnificent cathedral or contribute directly by visiting the St. Magnus website.


St Magnus Cathedral