Old St Peter's Church is a ruined parish church in Thurso. It dates to at least 1125, and at one time was the principal church for the county, administered by the Bishops of Caithness.
Early in the 16th century, the vicarage of Thorso was held by Sir John Mathesoun chancellor of Caithness, on whose demission or otherwise Queen Mary in 1547 presented Master John Craig to the benefice. Master Walter Innes, who appears in record in 1554, was vicar of Thurso in 1560, and continued to hold the vicarage between 1561 and 1566. About 1567, John Rag was minister, and in 1574, Alexander Urquhart was minister of Olrik and Thurso, and John Davidsoun was reader at Thurso. In 1641, Alexander Monro, minister at Durnoch had from King Charles I, a grant of 800 marks Scots or of eight chalders victual in augmentation of his stipend from the rents of the bishopric in the parish of Thurso and elsewhere.
Old St Peter's, still standing, was disused since 1832 when a replacement church was built for the parish. That church, St Andrew's and St Peter's, is of Gothic style and was built to a design by William Burn.References:
Situated in the basement of Metropol Parasol, Antiquarium is a modern, well-presented archaeological museum with sections of ruins visible through glass partitions, and underfoot along walkways.
These Roman and Moorish remains, dating from the first century BC to the 12th century AD, were discovered when the area was being excavated to build a car park in 2003. It was decided to incorporate them into the new Metropol Parasol development, with huge mushroom-shaped shades covering a market, restaurants and concert space.
There are 11 areas of remains: seven houses with mosaic floors, columns and wells; fish salting vats; and various streets. The best is Casa de la Columna (5th century AD), a large house with pillared patio featuring marble pedestals, surrounded by a wonderful mosaic floor – look out for the laurel wreath (used by emperors to symbolise military victory and glory) and diadem (similar meaning, used by athletes), both popular designs in the latter part of the Roman Empire. You can make out where the triclinium (dining room) was, and its smaller, second patio, the Patio de Oceano.
The symbol of the Antiquarium, the kissing birds, can be seen at the centre of a large mosaic which has been reconstructed on the wall of the museum. The other major mosaic is of Medusa, the god with hair of snakes, laid out on the floor. Look out for the elaborate drinking vessel at the corners of the mosaic floor of Casa de Baco (Bacchus’ house, god of wine).