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

Greyfriars Kirk

Greyfriars traces its origin to the south-west parish of Edinburgh, founded in 1598. In the wake of the Scottish Reformation, the grounds of the abandoned Friary were repurposed as a cemetery, in which the current church was constructed between 1602 and 1620. In 1638, National Covenant was signed in the Kirk. The church was damaged during the Protectorate, when it was used as barracks by troops under Oliver Cromwell. In 1 ...
Founded: 1602 | Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

St Cuthbert's Church

The Parish Church of St Cuthbert was probably founded in the 7th century and it once covered an extensive parish around the burgh of Edinburgh. The church"s current building was designed by Hippolyte Blanc and completed in 1894. St Cuthbert"s is situated within a large churchyard that bounds Princes Street Gardens and Lothian Road. A church was probably founded on this site during or shortly after the life of C ...
Founded: 1894 | Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral is the oldest cathedral on mainland Scotland and is the oldest building in Glasgow. The history of the cathedral is linked with that of the city, and is allegedly located where the patron saint of Glasgow, Saint Mungo, built his church. The tomb of the saint is in the lower crypt. Walter Scott"s novel Rob Roy gives an account of the kirk. Built before the Reformation from the late 12th century ...
Founded: 1136 | Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom

Paisley Abbey

Paisley Abbey origins date from the 12th century, based on a former Cluniac monastery. Following the Reformation in the 16th century, it became a Church of Scotland parish kirk. It is believed that Saint Mirin (or Saint Mirren) founded a community on this site in 7th century. Some time after his death a shrine to the Saint was established, becoming a popular site of pilgrimage and veneration. In 1163, Walter fitz Alan, ...
Founded: 1163 | Location: Paisley, United Kingdom

St John the Baptist Church

St John the Baptist Church is a Grade I listed parish church, the only church dating to pre-Medieval times in Cardiff city centre. The church was built in 1180 as a chapel of ease for the larger St Mary"s Church, itself founded by Benedictine monks from Tewkesbury Abbey. Originally constructed of blue Lias, a Jurassic stone with layers of fossilised shells, it was sourced from Aberthaw. The walls were then originally ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Cardiff, 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 Michael's Parish Church

St. Michael's Parish Church is one of the largest burgh churches in the Church of Scotland. King David I of Scotland granted a charter for the establishment of the church in 1138. The church was built on the site of an older church and was consecrated in 1242. Following a fire in 1424, most of the present building dates from the mid-15th century, with extensive restorations in the 19th century. Parts of the Church of St M ...
Founded: 1242 | Location: Linlithgow, 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

St John's Kirk

St John"s Kirk is architecturally and historically one of the most significant buildings in Perth. The settlement of the original church dates back to the mid-12th century. During the middle of the 12th century, the church was allowed to fall into disrepair, when most of the revenues were used by David I to fund Dunfermline Abbey. The majority of the present church was constructed between 1440 and 1500. Though much ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Perth, United Kingdom

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey was founded in 1131 by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow. was the first Cistercian foundation in Wales, and only the second in Britain. The present-day remains of Tintern are a mixture of building works covering a 400-year period between 1131 and 1536. Very little of the first buildings still survives today; a few sections of walling are incorporated into later buildings and the two recessed cupboards for b ...
Founded: 1131 | Location: Chepstow, 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

St Davids Cathedral

The monastic community in St Davids was founded by Saint David, Abbot of Menevia, who died in 589. In 1115, with the area under Norman control, King Henry I of England appointed Bishop Bernard as Bishop of St Davids. He began to improve life within the community, and commenced construction of a new cathedral. The new cathedral was quickly constructed and Bishop Bernard consecrated it in 1131. Henry II of England's visit ...
Founded: 1131-1181 | Location: St Davids, United Kingdom

St Davids Bishops Palace

St Davids Bishops Palace is a ruined medieval palace located adjacent to St Davids Cathedral, one of the most important ecclesiastical sites in Wales. The site dates back to the 6th century, although the building that stands today dates largely from the late 13th and 14th centuries. The original monastery that stood on the site was established in the 6th century and, over the succeeding four centuries, was ransacked ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: St Davids, 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

St Mary's Cathedral

St Mary"s Cathedral was built in the late 19th century in the West End of Edinburgh"s New Town. The cathedral is the see of the Bishop of Edinburgh. Designed in a Gothic style by Sir George Gilbert Scott, the cathedral is now protected as a category A listed building and part of the Old Town and New Town of Edinburgh World Heritage Site. Reaching 90 metres, its spire makes the building the highest in the Edinbur ...
Founded: 1874 | Location: Edinburgh, 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

St James' Church

St. James" Church in Yarmouth is medieval but little remains. Rebuilding began in 1635. There is a monument to the seventeenth-century admiral Sir Robert Holmes who based his operations at Yarmouth. He obtained it in a raid on a French ship, when he seized an unfinished statue of Louis XIV of France and forced the sculptor to finish it with his own head rather than the king"s. However, in the opinion of the aut ...
Founded: 1635 | Location: Yarmouth, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.