Saints and Stones: St. Magnus Cathedral
Home
Saints
Stones

St Magnus Cathedral is the most northerly cathedral in the U.K. The Cathedral was begun in 1137 by the Norse Earl Rognvald. However, the story begins in 1117, when the enmity between Earl Magnus and his cousin, Hakon, the joint rulers of Orkney, resulted in the former's death by the latter's hand. Magnus was made a saint in 1135.

Earl Rognvald had been granted half of the Earldom of Orkney by the King of Norway and came to Orkney with the express intention of reclaiming rights lost by his uncle, Earl Magnus of Orkney, and to build a church of stone to celebrate his uncle's recent sainthood.

Many of the masons who built the Cathedral came from Durham whose cathedral was also under construction. The original church comprised the choir of today's Cathedral. When completed, St Magnus's remains were brought from Birsay and interred in a column. After his death and subsequent sainthood, St Rognvald, too, was also interred here. What you see today is the result of near continuous work over the following 875 years.

About St. Magnus

St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney Website
Orkneyjar: St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall
Undiscovered Scotland: St. Magnus Cathedral
Wikipedia: St. Magnus Cathedral
Orkneyjar: St. Magnus-The Martyr of Orkney
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: Kirkwall

Journey to St. Magnus

St. Magnus Cathedral is located on Broad Street in Kirkwall, the Orkney Mainland's largest population center.

Ordnance Survey Map (HY4488710914)

Visitors Information

Visitors information on St. Magnus Cathedral may be found at the St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney Website website. Tours of the upper levels of the Cathedral are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am and 2pm. There is a slight charge for the tours, and they must be booked with the Custodian by calling 01856874894. General tourist information may be found on the Visit Orkney website.

Additional Photos of St. Magnus from 2007 and 2010

Front of St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall
Main Entrance to St. Magnus Cathedral
Side Door at Front of St. Magnus Cathedral
Interior, St. Magnus Cathedral
Interior Arches, St. Magnus Cathedral
Interior Arches, St. Magnus Cathedral
Blind Wall Arcading, Interior, St. Magnus Cathedral
Floor Tiles, St. Magnus Cathedral
Rose Window in South Transept, St. Magnus Cathedral
Plaque on Pillar Where St. Magnus Is Buried, St. Magnus Cathedral
Cross Marking Spot Where St. Magnus is Buried, St. Magnus Cathedral
Plaque on Pillar Where St. Rognvald Is Buried, St. Magnus Cathedral
Cross Marking Spot Where St. Rognvald Is Buried, St. Magnus Cathedral
Norse Connections: Statue of St. Olaf, St. Magnus Cathedral
Tombstone Inside St. Magnus Cathedral
Tombstone Inside St. Magnus Cathedral
Tombstone Inside St. Magnus Cathedral
Tombstone Inside St. Magnus Cathedral
Side Door, St. Magnus Cathedral
Close-Up of Rose Window Exterior, St. Magnus Cathedral
Side of St. Magnus Cathedral
Rear of St. Magnus Cathedral

Additional Photos of St. Magnus from 2017

Beginning of Ascent to the Upper levels of St. Magnus Cathedral, July 2017
Stored Artefacts on Upper Level of St. Magnus Cathedral
Fiat Lux Stained-Glass Window on Upper Level of St. Magnus Cathedral
Stained-Glass Window of St. Columba on Upper Level of St. Magnus Cathedral
Inside of the Rose Window on the South Side of St. Magnus Cathedral
Looking Down from the Upper Level on the North Transept of St. Magnus Cathedral
Looking Down from the Upper Level on the South Transept of St. Magnus Cathedral
Looking Down from the Upper Level on the Choir of St. Magnus Cathedral
Looking Down from the Upper Level on the Nave of St. Magnus Cathedral
The Bells of St. Magnus Cathedral
The Oldest Part of the Upper Level of St. Magnus Cathedral
Viewing Area Outside the Tower of St. Magnus Cathedral
View of Kirkwall Town Buildings from Tower of St. Magnus Cathedral
View of Church Graveyard from Tower of St. Magnus Cathedral
View of Bishop's Palace from Tower of St. Magnus Cathedral
View of Top of Earl's Palace from Tower of St. Magnus Cathedral
Ornament Near Top of St. Magnus Cathedral
Weathervane Ornament on Top of St. Magnus Cathedral
Gargoyle Protruding from Near Top of St. Magnus Cathedral
Visit to Top of St. Magnus Cathedral, July 2017


Top of Page