St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

Henry F Kerr, ARIBA, FIAS, FSA Scot, Edinburgh

Henry F. Kerr draws attention to Orkney’s Norse heritage in the circular church at Orphir and the two-chambered barrel-vaulted church at Egilsay.  The Cathedral of St Olaf at Kirkwall was erected at the behest of Earl Rognvald to commemorate his saintly kinsman, Earl Magnus, who was murdered at Egilsay.  The church is described in considerable detail, comparisons being made with other Scottish churches in respect of dimensions.  The size of St Magnus Cathedral is arresting.   Durham and Dunfermline have been regarded as prototypes. It was, of course, an outpost of the Kingdom of Norway.  The history of its building - and of the Earl Rognvald who saw to its construction – is interestingly recounted, and its distinctive features are described.  The author concludes with an expression of regret at intended “improvements” at the Reformation and
 in more recent times, principally involving the removal of much interior woodwork of note.

Volume 09 1936-37, p17
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