This is one of the oldest Christian sites in Orkney and an earlier church may well have been the site of Orkney’s first bishopric. St. Boniface Church is set in an important ecclesiastic site dating back to the 8th Century. It has Iron Age, Pictish, and later remains nearby, dating from the 6th Century B.C. to the 12th century A.D. A Norse hog-back gravestone and two early Christian cross-slabs found in the church yard all combine to indicate a site of great significance.
The present building dates from the 12th Century, but it was considerably rebuilt in the early 18th Century. The church is dedicated to St Boniface (675-754 A.D.), a famous teacher and missionary, working in Friesia and Germany, becoming a bishop in 722 A.D. and archbishop in 732 A.D.. He established many new churches, monasteries and bishoprics before being murdered in 754 A.D.
One interpretation of the story of St. Boniface Church involves the Pictish King Nechtan who was converted to the Roman Church around 715 A.D. He formed an alliance with the kingdom of Northumbria and invited the clergy to establish a well ordered Christian mission throughout his domain. Many churches and monasteries were on or near the sites of brochs, iron age fortified towers, indicating an important place of power. This is the case with St Boniface Church.
About St. Boniface Church
Papa Westray, Orkney: St. Boniface Kirk
Journey to St. Boniface Church
St. Boniface Church is located in the northwest area of the Orkney isle of Papa Westray.
The Papar Project: Papa Westray
British Listed Buildings: St. Boniface Kirk
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Boniface
Wikipedia: Saint Boniface
Ordnance Survey Map (HY4881352705)
Visitors information for St. Boniface Church, Papa Westray may be found at the Canmore website. Visitors information for Papa Westray may be found on the Papa Westray, Orkney website. General tourist information for Orkney as a whole may be found on the Visit Orkney website.
Additional Photos of St. Boniface Church
Road Sign for St. Boniface Church
Approaching St. Boniface Church from the North
Descriptive Sign Inside of St. Boniface Church
Front and South Side of St. Boniface Church
Forestair Leading to Gallery, Front of St. Boniface Church
Entrance to St. Boniface Church
Norse Hog-Back Gravestone in the Churchyard of St. Boniface Church