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, designed to allow lepers to hear the service and see the altar without physically coming into contact with the congregation.

In 1701 the church was declared redundant following a reorganisation of parishes in Shetland and it was thereafter used as a burial place for the Hunter family, lairds of the area. It resumed duty as a parish church from 1753 and the interior and many of the details date back to what seems at least to have been a major renovation, if not a partial rebuilt, then.

The interior of Lunna Kirk is superb. A pulpit stands against the south east side wall, almost on a level with the gallery that extends around the other three sides of the church. At ground floor level wooden stalls are arranged so all eyes are on the preacher.

Access to the gallery is via an exterior stair on the south west end wall. The gallery itself fits within the sloping ceiling of the kirk.

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Founded: 1100s
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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Margaret Stevens (3 years ago)
Great service, such great staff. I will certainly return on my next holiday to Shetland. :) xx
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