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St Magnus Cathedral

 

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  • St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall
  • St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

Other Information

  • The nave of St Magnus Cathedral is believed to have been built by the same team who built that of Durham Cathedral. There are an extreme number of similarities between the two churches in terms of the design from the pillars to the same number of bays, some eight in total.
  • The main material for the church is red sandstone taken from a quarry near Kirkwall, and yellow sandstone which traveled further from the island of Eday. The builders used this as two contrasting colours, even creating a chessboard effect at points.
  • Unlike Durham, the 14th century saw the cathedral ceiling given a Gothic vault that it still displays today creating an interesting hotchpotch of architecture with the earlier Romanesque.
  • The Scottish takeover of Orkney and opposition to local traditionas saw the creation of a dungeon in the cathedral, the only one in the United Kingdom. Called Marwick's Hole it was used by the church clergy to imprison people, many of whom were later executed for crimes such as blasphemy or witchcraft.
  • Due to the remote location of Orkney, the violence of the Scottish reformation was tempered and unlike other great churches in the country it survived with only minimal damage.
  • By the early 20th century, the original spire shaped like a pyramid was in need of work and rather than repairing it a new taller spire was raised in its place to the point it stands today.
  • Restoration work in 1911 also found some bones, believed to be those of St Magnus who was originally enshrined within the cathedral as it was built.

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Reference Data

Reference No.
6626
First Uploaded
20-02-2012
Last Editorial Date
21-02-2012
 

Building Location

Address
Broad Street, Kirkwall. KW15
Council
Orkney Islands Council
County
Orkney
Region
Scotland
Country
United Kingdom

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Building Specification

Status
Complete
Construction start date
1137
Completion date
1468
Style
Romanesque

Pinnacle Height (AGL)
49.00
Pinnacle Type
Spire
Roof Height (AGL)
40.50

Market Data

Primary Use
Place of Worship


Metres > Feet