Elgin Cathedral

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Elgin Cathedral is situated 38 miles east of Inverness, in the Town of Elgin.

The Cathedral can be visited 1 Apr to 30 Sept, 9.30am to 5.30pm. 1 Oct to 31 Mar, 10am to 4pm, with an entrance fee. Postcode: IV30 1HU

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See also a large Click On Map for Top Attractions in the area.

The image top is of the south side of Elgin Cathedral, built from 1224, showing just how large the building is at 280 feet long, second largest Cathedral in Scotland, after St Andrews Cathedral at 391 feet in length.



The second image is of the Towers on the west side, where you can climb to the top for amazing views all around. The Towers have a number of Stone Carvings, and contain an Effigy of Bishop Archibald.

Many of the Carved Stones on display in the Towers are of Strange Faces, Flora and Fauna, and Animal Heads from Lions to Lizards. These types of Carvings can be found on many old Religious Buildings and Castles around Scotland.

Around the Cathedral are larger than life Bishops Statues that look like Giant Chess Pieces, a Pictish Cross Slab from around the 900s, and a 16 foot / 5m high Gravestone set against the South Choir Aisle. This is the tallest Gravestone in Scotland, erected for the Anderson family.

Elgin Cathedral History

1100s - the Bishops of Moray were based at a small Cathedral at Spynie, 3 miles north of Elgin, dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

1224 - Elgin Cathedral was founded by King Alexander II, by the River Lossie, to replace the Cathedral at Spyney. The Bishops of Elgin Cathedral continued to live at Spynie, with that building being enlarged over the years to serve as their Palace.

1270 - the original Elgin Cathedral was damaged by fire, leading to Bishop Archibald having it rebuilt, much larger.

1296 and 1303 - Edward I of England stayed at Elgin Castle when his forces were in control of the area, during the First War of Scottish Independence. For some reason, the English left Elgin Cathedral intact. Unusual, as they had damaged most of the large Abbeys in Southern Scotland.

1390 - Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, known as the Wolf of Badenoch, brother of King Robert III, raised a small army to attack the area around Elgin. They ended their attacks by setting Elgin Cathedral on fire. One reason given for the destruction was, Stewart had been excommunicated by the Bishop of Moray for mistreating his Wife and taking on a Mistress.

Stewart escaped punishment for the destruction of the Cathedral, as his brother King Robert III led his case for forgiveness.

1390 to 1501 - the sections of Elgin Cathedral damaged by the fire were rebuilt.

1506 - the Central Tower collapsed, leading to it being rebuilt to a height of 189ft. The two West Towers have flat tops, with the higher Central Tower having been pointed.

1560 - the Scottish Reformation made Catholic worship illegal, leading to the Cathedral being abandoned with Elgin's Muckle Church, in the Town centre, becoming the main Church in the area for Protestant worship.

1567 - lead was taken from the roof of Elgin Cathedral, leading to the building becoming unstable.

1637 - a Storm led to much of the Roof collapsing.

1711 - the large Central Tower collapsed, taking much of the central buildings with it. Local people then began taking Stone from the Cathedral for buildings in Elgin.

1689 - the Crown took ownership of the Cathedral remains.

1824 - the Elgin shoemaker John Shanks began the conservation of the Cathedral by clearing rubbish and rubble.

1841 - John Shanks died aged 82.

Notable Burials at the Cathedral are: Andrew de Moravia, Bishop . David de Moravia, Bishop . William de Spynie, Bishop . Andrew Stewart, Bishop . Columba de Dunbar, Bishop . Alexander Gordon, 1st Earl of Huntly . George Gordon, 1st Duke of Gordon and his wife Lady Elizabeth Howard . John Shanks, Shoemaker .

Today - Elgin Cathedral is maintained by Historic Environment Scotland to serve as a Tourist Attraction.

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Elgin Cathedral Photos