Saints and Stones: St. Olaf's Kirk (Kirkwall)

Founded ca.1035, St. Olaf's Kirk was the earliest church built in Kirkwall.

According to the Orkneyjar website, "Little remains of the kirk these days, merely a stone archway of cut sandstone found up a lane in the heart of old Kirkwall, a short distance from the harbour. The church was built by Earl Rognvald Brusison who dedicated it to his foster-father, King Olaf Haraldson of Norway. King Olaf was a converted Christian who had died in 1030, at the battle of Sticklastadt. At this time, Kirkwall was nothing more than two irregular rows of houses. One row spreading from east to west along the shore, the other running southwards at right angles to the sea front and facing the Oyce - the area of water now known as the Peedie Sea. St. Olaf's Kirk was then the southernmost building in Kirkwall and attached to an area of consecrated ground that extended to the Papdale burn.When the remains of St. Magnus were moved from Christchurch in Birsay and brought to Kirkwall, it is likely that upon their arrival they were housed within St. Olaf's Kirk until the Cathedral, which was under construction, was ready to take them."

About St. Olaf's Kirk

Orkneyjar: St. Olaf's Kirk, Kirkwall
The Papar Project: Papdale, Kirkwall and St. Ola
Wikipedia: Olaf II of Norway (St. Olaf)

Journey to St. Olaf's Kirk

St. Olaf's Kirk is located on St. Olaf’s Wynd off Bridge Street, five minutes walk from St, Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall on the Orkney Mainland.

Ordnance Survey Map (HY4482110778)

Visitors Information

Visitors information and general tourism information for Orkney may be found on the Visit Orkney website.

Additional Photos of St. Olaf's Kirk

Sign at Site of St. Olaf's Kirk
Doorway, St. Olaf's Kirk

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