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Record details

ID:MHG11837
Type of record:Building
Name:Dornoch Cathedral
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Photo  © Please contact Highland Council for detailsPhoto  © Please contact Highland Council for detailsListed Building Record - photograph  © Please contact Highland Council for detailsOld Council listed building record (for up to date description see link to Historic Scotland's website)  © Highland Council© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for detailsPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilPhotographed 06/06/07 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland Council© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details(photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland Council(photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilDornoch Cathedral (photo by Nicki MacRae via Flickr)  © Nicki MacRaeDornoch Cathedral (photo by Nicki MacRae via Flickr)  © Nicki MacRaeDornoch Cathedral (photo by Nicki MacRae via Flickr)  © Nicki MacRaeDornoch Cathedral (photo by Nicki MacRae via Flickr)  © Nicki MacRaeDornoch Cathedral (photo by Andrew Taylor)  © Andrew TaylorDornoch Cathedral (photo by Andrew Taylor)  © Andrew Taylor
Grid Reference:NH 7971 8969
Map Sheet:NH78NE
Civil Parish:DORNOCH
Geographical Area:SUTHERLAND

Monument Types

  • CATHEDRAL (Built, Norse - 1224 AD to 1299 AD (between))
  • CATHEDRAL (restored, 19th Century - 1835 AD to 1837 AD (between))
  • CATHEDRAL (Fire damage, 16th Century - 1570 AD to 1570 AD)
  • CATHEDRAL (restored, 17th Century - 1616 AD to 1616 AD)
  • CATHEDRAL (restored, 20th Century - 1924 AD to 1924 AD)
Protected Status:Listed Building (A) 24632: Castle Street Dornoch Cathedral and Walled Grave yard. (Cathedral of St. Mary and St Gilbert. Church of Scotland Parish Church)

Other References/Statuses

  • Historic Environment Record: MHG11837
  • NMRS NUMLINK Reference: 14637
  • NMRS Record Details: NH78NE5 DORNOCH, HIGH STREET, DORNOCH CATHEDRAL OF ST MARY AND ST GILBERT
  • Old SMR Reference Number: NH78NE0005

Full description

See also:
NH78NE0034 Dornoch Cathedral, burial ground
Jhooper, 20/09/2001

(NH 7971 8969) Cath. (NAT) OS 6" map, (1959)

Dornoch Cathedral, dedicated to Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary but locally known as St. Gilbert's Church, after Gilbert, Bishop of Caithness, its founder, succeeded Halkirk as Church of See of Caithness.
Cathedral, now used as parish church, was founded c1223, but its date of completion is not known. Burnt by MacKays in 1570 and lay in ruins until partially restored for use as parish church in early 17th century. Further re-building and renovation in 19th century left little of early work exposed & involved destruction of remains of the arcades of the nave, it being rebuilt without aisles. During this century an attempt has been made to uncover much of early work hidden by 19th century renovations.
The sanctuary of the Cathedral as defined by Pope Pius II between 1458 and 1464 extended 'for three miles on every side around the said cathedral church and marked with the sign of the holy cross'. (For earlier ecclesiastical community here - see NH78NE 14).
Orig Paroch Scot 1855; W D Simpson 1924; C D Bentinck 1926.

Dornoch Cathedral as described, in use. Visited by OS (AA) 31 March 1971.

Dornoch Church: Category A listed HBD No. 1.

ARCHITECT: William Burn 1835 Restoration for Countess of Sutherland

REFERENCE: Scottish Record Office
225/37 Burn's plans for Dornoch ch.
226/9 Dempster to Loch. Plans of seating of ch.
226/11 Dss. To Loch. Seating of ch.
228/16-17 Dss. Of Loch. 'We are agreeing with Leslie who with Cooper
has fixed upon a plan and elevations for the cathedral in
good taste for about ?3,500. It will be well to pay off
Burns and have done with him entirely'. 30 July 1835.
228/24-5 Dss.to Loch. 'Alterations to Dornoch cath.to plans by Cooper;
'the whole must as formerly be harled in the manner of this
house, and as the cathedral always was, instead of being
cased with stone after Burns plan, wh.wd.cost ?5000 or more
as we have no proper stone for such a work'. 15 July 1835.
229/4-7,10-11 Alterations to Dornoch cath.
GD 268
George Dempster, Heritor, Sutherland

NATIONAL LIBRARY: Uncatalogued M.S.S. of General Hutton No 169 Vol 1- plan by James Shand, Tain 1815

Nicki MacRae submitted photographs of the cathdral via the Highland HER Flickr group. <1>


Taylor, A, 02/2010, A Collection of Highland Buildings and Monuments (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG25366.


OPS, 1855, Origines parochiales Scotiae: the antiquities ecclesiastical and territorial of the parishes of Scotland, 608 (Text/Publication/Monograph). SHG342.


Campbell, H F, 1892, 'Notes on the Cathedral of Caithness, at Dornoch', Trans Aberdeen Ecclesiological Soc Vol. 2 1892, p.31-42, 31-42 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1215.


Simpson, W D, 1924, 'Dornoch Cathedral: the High Church of Caithness', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 58 1923-4, p.227-38, 227-38 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG642.


Bentinck, C D, 1926, Dornoch: cathedral and parish, 377-412; plan, illusts (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG1974.


Close-Brooks, J, 1986, Exploring Scotland's Heritage: The Highlands, 115, No. 53 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2053.


<1> MacRae, N, 2009-2011, Photographs of various HER sites by Nicki MacRae, via Flickr (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG25329.

Related Monument/Building records

MHG16949Parent of: Dornoch Cathedral Cemetery (Monument)

Related Investigations - none

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