Dunblane Cathedral

Dunblane, United Kingdom

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 Dunblane, until the abolition of bishops after the Glorious Revolution in 1689. There are remains of the vaults of the episcopal palace to the south of the cathedral. Technically, it is no longer a cathedral, as there are no bishops in the Church of Scotland, which is a Presbyterian denomination. After the abolition of prelacy, the choir became the parish church but the nave fell out of use, and its roof had fallen in by about 1600.

It contains the graves of Margaret Drummond of Stobhall, a mistress of King James IV of Scotland and her two sisters, all said to have been poisoned.

The building is largely 13th century in date, though it incorporates an originally freestanding bell-tower (like the example at Muthill) of 11th century date on its south side. This tower was increased in height in the 15th century, a change clearly visible in the colour of the stonework, and in the late Gothic style of the upper storey's windows.

The choir is unaisled, but has a long vaulted chamber which served as chapter house and sacristy on its north side. The choir contains the mural tomb of the Cathedral's founder, Bishop Clement. Many of the 15th century choir stalls, which have carved misericords (including one with an unusual depiction of a bat) are preserved within the choir. Further, more elaborate, canopied stalls are preserved at the west end of the nave. Dunblane has the largest surviving collection of medieval Scottish ecclesiastical woodwork after King's College Chapel, Aberdeen. Some detached fragments are displayed in the town's museum.

The cathedral was restored in the late 19th century under the control of Rev Alexander Ritchie DD, who commissioned architect Robert Rowand Anderson to oversee the works, with these works completed by Sir Robert Lorimer in 1912.

Preserved within the arcaded nave are two early Christian stones, a cross-slab and a possible architectural frieze, survivals from an early medieval church on the same site, founded by or dedicated to the 'Blane' whose name is commemorated in the name of the town.

Dunblane Cathedral churchyard contains two war graves, including that of William Stirling, a gunner in the Royal Marine Artillery during World War I.

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Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mickey Deutsch (14 months ago)
Definitely enjoyed our visit to Dunblane Cathedral in April 2023. Bell tower is oldest part. The cathedral/church is actively used now by the Church of Scotland. Worth exploring inside and out. Very helpful guide on hand today to answer questions.
Mariana Miller (14 months ago)
Absolutely gorgeous cathedral with incredible wood and stonework!
John Rundell (17 months ago)
Beautiful cathedral. Free to visit. Has a interesting history that you find more about when you go inside. There is a quiz for kids to do. Help keeps them entertained as you walk round. The stair to the tower are closed. If you have walking issues you can use a wheelchair that is available. It closed between 12-30 and 13-30 for lunch.
Minnie Lee (2 years ago)
Beautiful cathedral. Very sad to see the memorial to the children and teacher killed in the massacre.
David Hunter (Moving Films) (2 years ago)
Really interesting cathedral parts of which are over 1000 years old. No charge to tour the interior although you can make a voluntary donation with a contactless card machine on the way out. We did as it was so good.
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