Top Historic Sights in Elgin, United Kingdom

Explore the historic highlights of Elgin

Elgin Cathedral

Elgin Cathedral is a historic ruin in Elgin, north-east Scotland. The cathedral, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was established in 1224 on land granted by King Alexander II. It replaced the cathedral at Spynie, 3 kilometres to the north. The new and bigger cathedral was staffed with 18 canons in 1226 and then increased to 23 by 1242. After a damaging fire in 1270, a rebuilding programme greatly enlarged the building. It w ...
Founded: 1224 | Location: Elgin, United Kingdom

Duffus Castle

Duffus Castle, near Elgin, was a motte-and-bailey castle and was in use from c.1140 to 1705. During its occupation it underwent many alterations. Freskin (died before 1171) was a Flemish nobleman who settled in Scotland during the reign of King David I, becoming the progenitor of the Murray and Sutherland families, and possibly others. He built the great earthwork and timber motte-and-bailey castle in c. 1140 on boggy gr ...
Founded: c. 1140 | Location: Elgin, United Kingdom

Duke of Gordon's Monument

The Duke of Gordon"s Monument is a commemorative monument on Lady Hill. Built in honour of George Gordon, the 5th Duke of Gordon, the monument takes the form of a Tuscan column, 24 m high. The column is hollow, with a spiral staircase leading up the shaft which gives access to the top. It was erected in 1839, and a statue of Gordon, sculpted by Thomas Goodwillie, was installed on the top in 1855.
Founded: 1839 | Location: Elgin, United Kingdom

Spynie Castle

Spynie Castle was the fortified seat of the Bishops of Moray for about 500. The founding of the palace dates back to the late 12th Century. It is situated about 500m from the location of the first officially settled Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Moray, in present-day Spynie Churchyard. The first castle was a wooden structure built in the late 12th century. The excavated evidence suggests that the buildings were surr ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Elgin, United Kingdom

Pluscarden Abbey

Pluscarden Abbey is a Roman Catholic Benedictine monastery in the glen of the Black Burn, 6 miles south-west of Elgin. It was founded in 1230 by Alexander II for the Valliscaulian Order. In 1454, following a merger with the priory of Urquhart, Pluscarden Priory became a Benedictine House. The Scottish Reformation saw the decline of the priory, and by 1680 it was in a ruinous condition. Some work to arrest decay to ...
Founded: 1230 | Location: Elgin, United Kingdom

Birnie Kirk

Birnie Kirk was built c. 1140 and became the first cathedral of the Bishop of Moray. It remained the cathedral church until 1184 when Bishop Simon de Tosny died. His successor Richard de Lincoln moved the seat to the church of Kinnedar. The church is one of the oldest in Scotland to have been in continuous use. The nave was shortened by a few feet in 1734 but the remainder is the original 12th-century structure. The bu ...
Founded: 1140 | Location: Elgin, United Kingdom

St. Peter's Kirk & Parish Cross

St. Peter"s Kirk & Parish Cross is first mentioned in a charter from 1190 The church was probably built by Freskin de Moray, who also constructed the mighty Duffus Castle nearby. The church was badly damaged in the early 1300s during the Wars of Independence. It is situated in an situated in an idyllic location among mature trees. A rare medieval ‘mercat’ cross survives among the grave stones.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Elgin, United Kingdom

Coxton Tower

Coxton Tower is a late sixteenth-century tower house in Moray. Heavily fortified, it was built around 1590, with substantive repairs in 1635 and 1645, but its design is reminiscent of much older buildings. It has not been occupied since around 1867 except to house Canadian soldiers during the Second World War, but was renovated in 2001 to help protect the fabric of the structure, which is designated a Category A listed bu ...
Founded: c. 1590 | Location: Elgin, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Easter Aquhorthies Stone Circle

Easter Aquhorthies stone circle, located near Inverurie, is one of the best-preserved examples of a recumbent stone circle, and one of the few that still have their full complement of stones. It consists of a ring of nine stones, eight of which are grey granite and one red jasper. Two more grey granite stones flank a recumbent of red granite flecked with crystals and lines of quartz. The circle is particularly notable for its builders' use of polychromy in the stones, with the reddish ones situated on the SSW side and the grey ones opposite.

The placename Aquhorthies derives from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning 'field of prayer', and may indicate a 'long continuity of sanctity' between the Stone or Bronze Age circle builders and their much later Gaelic successors millennia later. The circle's surroundings were landscaped in the late 19th century, and it sits within a small fenced and walled enclosure. A stone dyke, known as a roundel, was built around the circle some time between 1847 and 1866–7.