Description: Castle Street Dornoch Cathedral and Walled Grave Yard. (cathedral of St. Mary and St Gilbert. Church
Date Listed: 18 March 1971
Historic Scotland Building ID: 24632
OS Grid Coordinates: 279720, 889692
Latitude/Longitude: 57.8804, -4.0299
There is also a scheduled monument, Dornoch Cathedral, graveyard, at the same location as this building or very close to it. This may be related in some way or possibly a different name for the same structure.
13th century, cruciform with central tower and spire,
subsequently much rebuilt; complete restoration by William
Burn, 1835-37. All rubble with ashlar dressings.
Exterior; 4-bay nave (1835-37 on medieval plan incorporating
early west gable and window); 3-bay choir and 2-bay
transepts, all with lancet windows tripled in east and
transept gables and linked by continuous string course; angle buttresses. West door recessed under pointed arch with nook
shafts. Large intersecting medieval Y-tracery window above.
Small porch, similarly detailed as at west, in south transept
gable. Central tower supported on 13th century shafted piers
with early 17th century corbelled parapet and embryo angle
turrets; early 18th century broached, slated spire (restored
1835-37); evidence remains inside tower of corbelled
vaulting, probably to support roof that pre-dated spire. The
clustered columns of the crossing piers, of irregular height
with embryo waterleaf capitals are an important example of
transitional architecture in Scotland, The remains of
decorative arcading between the transept and choir windows
indicate an elaborate original treatment.
Interior: pilaster rib-vaulted choir and nave (1835-37)
rubble walls revealing some incorporated medieval masonry
lath and plaster of the Burn period removed in 1929). Choir
lancets linked by continuous hoodmoulds E window 3 lancets
with additional lancet in gable (inserted after original
building, but not replaced by Burn, W window follows design
of original but raised to allow for W door. Transepts raised,
bases of crossing piers still visible choir raised further
(Sutherland burial vault below) and approached by 4 steps;
recumbant effigy of Richard de Moravia and various mural
monuments including classical monument to 18th Earl and his
wife on s side of choir unusually fine collection of 19th and
20th century stained glass, including windows in memory of
Andrew Carnegie of Skibo (1835-1919) by Percy Bacon, and to
Rosemary Millicent, Viscountess Edam, daughter of 4th Duke of
Sutherland and her son by Morris and Co (1930) and to 4th
Duke in E windows by Christopher Whall.
Richly carved wooden Gothic octagonal pulpit, communion
table and choir seating date from 1911.
Graveyard; ground enclosed by simple coped rubble wall.
MacGibbon and Ross, ECCLESIASTICAL ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND
(1897) ii, p.3. and CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE
OF SCOTLAND (1887) ii, p.336. Rev C Bentinck, DORNOCH (1926)
p.377 (appendix by W D Simpson). IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF
SCOTLAND (circa 1858) p.362. Donald Murray (revised James
Simpson), DORNOCH CATHEDRAL (1981).
Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Founded by St Gilbert
Murray (de Moravia) in 1224. Damaged by fire in 1570.
Chancel, transept and tower restored in 1616 by Sir Robert
Gordon of Gordonstoun, Tutor of Sutherland (during minority
of his nephew, the Earl.) Spire commenced 1728, still
unfinished 1732. Rebuilding of nave and complete restoration,
1835-37, financed by Countness Elizabeth Dowager Duchess of
Sutherland. Further restoration, 1924, when 1835-37 interior
mural plastering stripped.
Large statue of first Duke of Sutherland by Sir Francis
L. Chantry, which stood at west end of church, removed to
Dunrobin in 1980.
Source: Historic Scotland
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.