St. Egidien is considered a significant contribution to the baroque church architecture of Middle Franconia.
The first church building was probably built in the years 1120/1130 on the site of the second, northern Nuremberg royal court. The royal courts administered royal possessions, agriculture and forestry. Thus, it had the status of a royal church.
Around the year 1140 Emperor Conrad III and his wife Gertrud raised the foundation to the rank of a benedictine abbey and endowed it generously. They made Carus, Abbot of the Scots Monastery, Regensburg, their royal chaplain and the first Abbot of St Egidien. The monastery was rich immediately and subordinate in secular terms only to the Holy Roman Emperor. The first monks came from the Scots Monastery, Regensburg and St. James's Abbey, Würzburg.
In 1418, the monastery was impoverished and in debt. The altar vessels were mortgaged, and the Scots Monastery, Regensburg no longer guaranteed the debt. The abbey was taken over by German Benedictines from Reichenbach After the take-over the monastery was partially rebuilt, and the church and chapels were renovated. The Irish monks had to come to terms with the new regime or leave the abbey.
At the Reformation in 1525 the monastery was dissolved, and the monastic estates transferred to the city authorities. After the Peace of Augsburg there were two unsuccessful attempts to recover the former monastic estates for the Benedictine order, firstly in 1578 by the Scottish Bishop John Lesley on behalf of Mary, Queen of Scots, and from 1629 to 1631 by a Commission for the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg to implement a Roman Catholic Restitution Edict. On 6 and 7 July 1696 a fire destroyed the monastery and church.
The church was rebuilt in the baroque style. The foundation stone was laid on 14 October 1711. The architects were Johann Trost and Gottlieb Trost. It was the largest construction project in Nuremberg in the 18th century. The stucco decorations were done by Donato Polli. The frescos were painted by Daniel Preisler and Johann Martin Schuster.
The church was badly damaged during the Second World War in an air raid on 2 January 1945. The roof on the nave, crossing, transepts and choir collapsed and the outer walls were badly damaged. It was rebuilt between 1946 and 1959 by the Nuremberg architect Rudolf Gröschel in an economic interpretative way, as the costs to reconstruct the baroque interior with its ornate detail was unaffordable at the time.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.