Top Historic Sights in Inverness, United Kingdom

Explore the historic highlights of Inverness

Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle sits on a cliff overlooking the River Ness. The red sandstone structure evident today was built in 1836 by architect William Burn. It is built on the site of an 11th-century (c. 1057) defensive structure. Today, it houses Inverness Sheriff Court. The castle is said to have been built by Máel Coluim III of Scotland, after he had razed to the ground the castle in which Macbeth of Scotland according ...
Founded: 1836 | Location: Inverness, United Kingdom

Inverness Cathedral

Inverness Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, ordinary of the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness. The cathedral is the northernmost cathedral in mainland Britain and was the first new cathedral to be completed in Great Britain since the Reformation. Bishop Robert Eden decided that the Cathedral for the united Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness should be in Inverness. The foundation stone ...
Founded: 1866-1869 | Location: Inverness, United Kingdom

Clava Cairns

The Clava cairn is a type of Bronze Age circular chamber tomb cairn, named after the group of 3 cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, to the east of Inverness. There are about 50 cairns of this type in an area round about Inverness. At Balnuaran of Clava itself there is a group of three Bronze Age cairns which lie close together in a line running north east to south west. The tombs at either end are of the passage grave sub-type ...
Founded: 2000 BC | Location: Inverness, United Kingdom

Castle Stuart

Castle Stuart is a restored tower house on the banks of the Moray Firth. The land the castle was built on was granted to James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray by his half-sister, Mary, Queen of Scots, following her return to Scotland in 1561. The successive murders of Stewart and his son-in-law, James Stewart, 2nd Earl of Moray, meant that the castle was finally completed by his grandson, James Stuart, 3rd Earl of Moray, in 16 ...
Founded: 1619-1625 | Location: Inverness, United Kingdom

Moniack Castle

Moniack Castle is a tower house built in 1580 by members of the Clan Fraser. Today the castle grounds comprise a winery, which is still owned and operated by Frasers. The L-plan castle has been altered many times since its construction. The crenellated parapet was added in 1804 and the castle was extended in the 1830s. The interiors include a Roman Catholic chapel. In the grounds of the castle is the Balblair Stone, a Pic ...
Founded: 1580 | Location: Inverness, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).