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' carried out, the ruined but still largely intact aisled medieval nave was demolished and a new narrow nave without pillars built on its site. The interior was reordered in the 1920s by Rev. Charles Donald Bentinck, with the removal of Victorian plasterwork to reveal the stonework (although the medieval church would have been plastered throughout). The site of the medieval high altar was raised and converted into a burial area for the Sutherland family, who introduced large marble memorials alien to the original appearance of the building.

The Cathedral's churchyard is adjoined by Dornoch Castle, the somewhat reconstructed remains of the medieval palace of the Bishops of Caithness.



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Windows Vista (2 years ago)
It's well worth a visit
Adrian Sedgwick (2 years ago)
Lovely cathedral with stunning stained glass windows. Lots of old buildings and streets full of atmosphere nearby. Well worth a visit.
Roddy Robertson (3 years ago)
Beautiful and ancient cathedral steeped in history. Madonna had one of her kids christened here many years ago. Amazing ambience and atmosphere when quiet and empty where your footsteps echo through the passages of time or when full of worshipers with the stirring sounds of the pipe organ. A must visit while in Dornoch.
Andrew Minkowski (3 years ago)
Enjoyed this place good stories about its past and present and our tour guide had his own personal story to tell us on our tour
Pauline McCreadie (3 years ago)
A beautiful building with a lovely sense of peace. So well kept. Wonderful stained glass. A place to soothe your soul and recharge your batteries
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