Religious sites in United Kingdom

St Mary's Priory, Old Malton

The only remaining Gilbertine church still in regular use. The Gilbertines were the only English Monastic order, founded by Gilbert of Sempringham about 1131. Gilbert, born a cripple, died aged 106 in 1190, and was declared a saint within twelve of years of his death by Pope Alexander III. The Book of Gilbert, detailing the evidence by which he was made a saint still survives. Unlike almost every other monastic order, the ...
Founded: 12th Century | Location: Old Malton, United Kingdom

Lunna Church

Lunna Kirk (church) probably dates back at least in part to the 1100s and is by far the oldest building in use for Christian worship in Shetland. The church has an unusual structure, with both of the side walls supported by a series of massive buttresses. An unusual feature on the east side of the church, which is likely to date back to a major rebuild of the structure in the 1300s or 1400s, is a lepers" squint, desi ...
Founded: 1100s | Location: Shetland, United Kingdom

Rona Church

Rona, a remote Scottish island, is said to have been the residence of Saint Ronan, Abbot of Kingarth in Bute (died 737). A tiny early Christian oratory which may be as early as this date, built of unmortared stone, survives virtually complete on the island. The site of one of the most complete Early Celtic religious complexes in Scotland. North Rona was abandoned after the Viking raids, but resettled by a secular communit ...
Founded: 8th century | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Chapel of St. Mary and St. Nathalan

The Chapel of St. Mary and St. Nathalan is a ruined chapel overlooking the North Sea immediately north of Stonehaven. The founding of this Christian place of worship is associated with St. Nathalan, who lived circa 650 AD. It was dedicated in 1276 by William Wishart, Bishop of St Andrews, and probably stands on the same site as St Nathalan’s early church. The chapel was never a parish church but was include ...
Founded: 1276 | Location: Stonehaven, United Kingdom

Keills Chapel

Keills Chapel is a simple, rectangular chapel dedicated to St Cormac. It is one of few churches from the 1100s and 1200s surviving in Argyll. The chapel served as the parish church of Knapdale until the parish was split into two in 1734. The church site contains almost 40 carved stones, ranging in date from the 8th to the 16th century. Pre-eminent among them is the 8th-century Keills Cross. This free-standing, ring-heade ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Holywood Priory

Holywood Priory was founded by St. Laiseran before 640 on the site of the present ruins of the medieval Old Priory. The present ruins are 12th century Anglo-Norman Augustinian Abbey built by Thomas Whyte and much of these ruins remain. After the Black death (1348-1350) Niall O’Neill refurbished the church for the Franciscan Order. The Priory was dissolved on New Years Day, 1541, by Henry VIII with its lands passing ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Holywood, United Kingdom

St Mary's Kirk

St Mary"s Kirk at Auchindoir, between Rhynie and Lumsden, is one of the Scotland"s finest surviving medieval parish churches. The main doorway is early Romanesque, and there is a well-preserved early 16th-century sacrament house. St Mary"s is rare for a Scottish church in that it has survived into the modern era without any major alterations. Although surviving medieval churches are reasonably commo ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Auchindoir, United Kingdom

Armoy Church and Tower

There are the remains of an Irish round tower on the edge of the Armoy village. An early monastery was founded about AD 460 by Saint Olcán, a disciple of Saint Patrick. The only trace of an early monastery is the stump of the round tower, which stands in the grounds of St Patrick"s Parish Church. The tower is about 11 m high and has three storeys. At one time, Armoy was the main religious settlement in the Ir ...
Founded: 460 AD | Location: Armoy, United Kingdom

St. Saviour's Church

St. Saviour"s is the largest of the Guernsey country churches and stands at the top of a valley overlooking the reservoir. Part of this impressive church was built in the 12th century but most of it dates to the 14th and 15th centuries. It took five months to construct and was dedicated and consecrated on 30 May 1154. However, the first mention of St Saviour"s Church is in a charter from about 1030. On Sunday ...
Founded: 1154 | Location: Guernsey, United Kingdom

Drumbo Round Tower

Drumbo Round Tower lies within the grounds of the local Presbyterian church. Historically the tower was attached to a medieval parish church and monastery, the foundations of which can be seen in the modern day graveyard on the site. The tower dates from around the early medieval period and is a scheduled historic monument. The original structure was severely damaged when the site was plundered by Connor, son of A ...
Founded: 5th century AD | Location: Lisburn, United Kingdom

Vale Church

Vale Church is one of Guernsey"s most ancient churches and a former priory. Somewhere around A.D. 968, monks, from the Benedictine monastery of Mont Saint-Michel, came to Guernsey to establish a community in the North of the Island. This area of Guernsey would form a separate island at high tide, and continued to do so until 1806. The last remaining stonework is a piece of buttressed wall to the South of the church, by th ...
Founded: c. 968 AD | Location: Guernsey, United Kingdom

Teampull na Trionaid

Teampull na Trionaid ('trinity church') is a ruined 13th-century church and seminary at Carinish. Amie mac Ruari is said to have rebuilt the church in the 14th century after her divorce from John of Islay, Lord of the Isles. The ruins are protected as a scheduled monument. The Battle of Cairinish was fought near the church in 1601.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

St. Pierre du Bois Church

The oldest part of the existing St. Pierre du Bois Church was probably built around 1375. The rest of the church dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. The church sits in beautiful surroundings on a hillside. Its floor makes this all the more apparent as it slopes one and a half metres from east to west. When refurbished in the Victorian era, men and women sat separately and even entered through different doors. The chur ...
Founded: 1375 | Location: Guernsey, United Kingdom

St. Magnus Church

The roofless remains of St. Magnus Church stand on the western side of Egilsay – dominating the island on which St Magnus was executed early in the 12th century. Built towards the end of the 12th century, the church is made up of a rectangular nave and a square chancel, with a tall round tower on the western end. Despite the lack of a roof, the remains are still in good condition. The structure lost its roof somet ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Lady Kirk

The Lady Kirk at Pierowall is one of two ruined churches on the island of Westray. It was built in 1674, on the foundations of the 13th-century church. The church is mostly complete with the exception of the roof. Many of the walls stand to a high height, but some of it is 17th century built on the foundations of an earlier church. The south wall of the nave is largely from the original church. The nave altogether is rec ...
Founded: 1674 | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Fearn Abbey

Fearn Abbey has its origins in one of Scotland"s oldest pre-Reformation church buildings. The original Fearn Abbey was established in either 1221 or 1227 by Premonstratensian canons from Whithorn Priory. Originally founded at 'Old Fearn' near Edderton, it was moved by 1238 to 'New Fearn' further east, perhaps to take advantage of better agricultural lands. The Abbey was rebuilt between 1338 and 13 ...
Founded: 1238 | Location: Fearn, United Kingdom

St. Sampson's Church

St. Sampson"s Church is dedicated to Samson of Dol, who brought Christianity to Guernsey in about 550 AD. Claimed to be the oldest Parish Church in the Island, the church stands on or near the site where St Sampson first landed as a pioneer missionary from Dol, in Brittany, about the year 550 AD, and has been a Christian site for worship ever since. The present church dates from the 12th century, at which time it co ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Guernsey, United Kingdom

Tingwall Church

Tingwall Church dates back to the 12th century, though not in its present form. Originally it was St Magnus Church, one of three steeple churches in Shetland. This building survived five to six hundred years, and part of this building may be seen in the burial crypt adjacent to the church. In charge of the Church, and indeed of all Christianity in Shetland, was the Archdeacon of Tingwall, an office that dates from 1215 AD ...
Founded: 1790 | Location: Shetland, United Kingdom

Movilla Abbey

Movilla Abbey is believed to have been one of Ulster"s and Ireland"s most important monasteries. It was founded in 540 by St. Finnian (d. 579) under the patronage of the king of the Dál Fiatach. It survived as a place of Christian witness for over a thousand years, until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1542. The name Movilla is an Anglicized form of the Irish magh bile, which means “the plain ...
Founded: 540 AD | Location: Newtownards, United Kingdom

Grouville Church

It has been suggested that Grouville Church was consecrated in 1322, but the first written record of the church dates from 1149. It comprises a nave and chancel with two transepts, or rather aisles and a central tower, surmounted by a quadrilateral broach spire. The west end of the nave, which is undoubtedly the oldest portion of the church, probably dates from the 12th century, and still contains many water-worn stones, ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens

Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).

It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.

After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.

UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.

Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.