Orkney and Shetland Islands Sights

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St. Magnus Cathedral

St. Magnus Cathedral Review

Founded by the Norse earl Jarl Rognvald in 1137 and named for his uncle, this grand red and yellow sandstone cathedral was mostly finished by 1200, although more work was carried out during the following 300 years. The cathedral is still in use and contains some fine examples of Norman architecture, although traces of later styles are found here and there. The ornamentation on some of the tombstones in the church is particularly striking. At the far end to the left is the tomb of the tragically discredited Dr. John Rae, the Victorian-era Orcadian adventurer and unsung hero who discovered the final section of the Northwest Passage in Canada but was decried for his reporting that the British men of the Franklin expedition, overwhelmed by starvation, had resorted to cannabalism: an assertion that has since been proved true.

    Contact Information

  • Address: Broad St., Kirkwall, KW15 1NX | Map It
  • Phone: 01856/874894
  • Hours: Apr.–Sept., Mon.–Sat. 9–6, Sun. 2–6; Oct.–Mar. weekdays 9–1 and 2–5
  • Website:
  • Location: Kirkwall
Updated: 10-09-2013

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