Religious sites in United Kingdom

St Giles' Cathedral

A parish church was established in Edinburgh as early as 854. This first church, a modest affair, was probably in use for several centuries before a new one was founded in the 1120s. The 12th-century church was part of an effort of the Scottish royal family, especially David I (1124-1153), to spread Catholic worship throughout the Scottish lowlands. This church was probably quite small, Norman (Romanesque) in style, like ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

St Mary's Tower & Church

The oldest building in the Dundee is St Mary"s Tower, which dates from the late 15th century. This forms part of the City Churches, which consist of St Clement"s Church, dating to 1787–88 and built by Samuel Bell, Old St Paul"s and St David"s Church, built in 1841–42 by William Burn, and St Mary"s Church, rebuilt in 1843–44, also by Burn, following a fire.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Dundee, United Kingdom

St Andrews Cathedral

The Cathedral of St Andrew was built in 1158 and became the centre of the Medieval Catholic Church in Scotland as the seat of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and the Bishops and Archbishops of St Andrews. It fell into disuse and ruin after Catholic mass was outlawed during the 16th-century Scottish Reformation. It is currently a monument in the custody of Historic Environment Scotland. The ruins indicate that the building w ...
Founded: 1158 | Location: St Andrews, United Kingdom

Holyrood Abbey Ruins

Holyrood Abbey was founded in 1128 by King David I. The original abbey church of Holyrood was largely reconstructed between 1195 and 1230. The completed building consisted of a six-bay aisled choir, three-bay transepts with a central tower above, and an eight-bay aisled nave with twin towers at its west front. During the 15th century, the abbey guesthouse was developed into a royal residence, and after the Scottish Reform ...
Founded: 1128 | Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Church of the Holy Rude

The Church of the Holy Rude is the medieval parish church of Stirling. The church was founded in 1129 during the reign of David I, but earliest part of the present church dates from the 15th century. Construction on the new nave was underway by 1414, and based on the evidence of carved heraldry the vault of the nave was completed between 1440 and 1480. Work on the chancel did not commence until 1507 and completed around 1 ...
Founded: 1414-1480 | Location: Stirling, United Kingdom

St. Anne's Cathedral

St Anne"s Cathedral is unusual in serving two separate dioceses (Connor and Down and Dromore).  The foundation stone being laid in 1899 by the Countess of Shaftesbury. The old parish church of St Anne by Francis Hiorne of 1776 had continued in use, up until 31 December 1903, while the new cathedral was constructed around it; the old church was then demolished. The Good Samaritan window, to be seen in the ...
Founded: 1899 | Location: Belfast, United Kingdom

Dunfermline Abbey

Dunfermline Abbey is one of the best examples of Scoto-Norman monastic architecture. The Abbey, built between 1128 and 1150 under David I, was a reconstruction of the Benedictine chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity, founded by his mother, Queen Margaret. Despite much of the monastic buildings being destroyed by the troops of Edward I in 1303, there are substantial remains, with the lower stories of the dormitory and latr ...
Founded: 1128-1150 | Location: Dunfermline, United Kingdom

St. Magnus Cathedral

St. Magnus Cathedral was founded as a final resting place for the relics of St. Magnus. Work on its construction started in 1137. The Cathedral"s founder was Earl Rognvald who supervised the earliest stages of the building during the bishopric of William the Old of Orkney (1102-1168). Between 1154 and 1472, Orkney was ecclesiastically under the Norwegian archbishop of Nidaros (Trondheim) and after that it became par ...
Founded: 1137 | Location: Kirkwall, United Kingdom

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel was founded on a small hill above Roslin Glen in the mid-15th century. The chapel was founded by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness of the Scoto-Norman Sinclair family. After the Scottish Reformation (1560), Roman Catholic worship in the chapel was brought to an end, although the Sinclair family continued to be Roman Catholics until the early 18th century. From that time the chapel was closed to ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Roslin, United Kingdom

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

Holy Trinity Church

The Category A listed Holy Trinity is the most historic church in St Andrews. The church was initially built on land, close to the south-east gable of the Cathedral, around 1144, and was dedicated in 1234 by Bishop David de Bernham. It then moved to a new site on the north side of South Street between 1410–1412 by bishop Warlock. Much of the architecture feature of the church was lost in the re-building by Robert Balfou ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: St Andrews, United Kingdom

St. German's Cathedral Ruins

The ruins located within the walls of Peel Castle are those of the former Cathedral of St German. Like the structures throughout the castle grounds, the cathedral's roof is completely missing. Robert Anderson examined the ruins to determine what repairs were required to restore the cathedral, and he reported to the island's Lieutenant Governor in 1877. However, none of the suggested repairs were carried out. There is ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Peel, United Kingdom

Cathedral of St. Mary the Crowned

The original building of the current cathedral in Gibraltar was built during the Spanish period. Just after the reconquest of the city to the Moors, the main mosque was decreed to be stripped of its Islamic past and consecrated as the parish church. However, under the rule of the Catholic Monarchs, the old building was demolished and a new church was erected, in Gothic style. The cathedral"s small courtyard is the re ...
Founded: 1810 | Location: Gibraltar, United Kingdom

Dunblane Cathedral

Dunblane Cathedral is the larger of the two Church of Scotland parish churches serving Dunblane. The lower half of the tower is pre-Romanesque from the 11th century, and was originally free-standing, with an upper part added in the 15th century. Most of the rest of the building is Gothic, from the 13th century. The building was restored by Rowand Anderson from 1889–93. The Cathedral was once the seat of the bishops of ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Dunblane, 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

Dornoch Cathedral

Dornoch Cathedral was built in the 13th century, in the reign of King Alexander II (1214–49) and the episcopate of Gilbert de Moravia (later Saint Gilbert of Dornoch) as the cathedral church of the diocese of Caithness. In 1570 the Cathedral was burnt down during local feuding. Full restoration was not carried out until the early 19th century, by the Countess of Sutherland. Among the "improvements" carrie ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dornoch, United Kingdom

Iona Abbey

Iona Abbey is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba, when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata. In 563, Columba came to Iona from Ireland with twelve companions, and founded a monastery. It developed as an influential centre for the ...
Founded: 563 AD | Location: Isle of Iona, United Kingdom

Town Church

Originally known as Sancti Petri de Portu, many regard the Town Church as the Cathedral Church and the finest in the Channel Islands. The first mention of the church in official documents was in 1048 when it is thought to have been given to the Abbot of Marmoutier by William of Normandy. It is likely that the original building was made of wood. The current building was built over a 200 year period with the chancel complet ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Guernsey, United Kingdom

Duddingston Church

Duddingston Kirk is a Parish Church, located adjacent to Holyrood Park. The church was built in or around 1124 by Dodin, a Norman knight, on land granted to Kelso Abbey by King David I of Scotland. As originally built, the church consisted of the chancel, nave and square tower. The traditional pattern of an east-west axis was adopted. The original entrance on the south wall includes a particularly fine example of Scoto-No ...
Founded: c. 1124 | Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

St Machar's Cathedral

St. Machar is said to have been a companion of St. Columba on his journey to Iona. A fourteenth-century legend tells how God told Machar to establish a church where a river bends into the shape of a bishop"s crosier before flowing into the sea. The River Don bends in this way just below where the Cathedral now stands. According to legend, St Machar founded a site of worship in Old Aberdeen in about 580. Macha ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.