Elgin Cathedral is situated 38 miles
east of Inverness, in the Town of
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
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
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
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
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
Stewart escaped punishment for the
destruction of the Cathedral, as his brother
King Robert III led his case for
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
1637 - a Storm led to much of the Roof
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
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