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Dunblane, Kirk Street, Dunblane Cathedral

A Category A Listed Building in Dunblane, Stirling

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Latitude: 56.1894 / 56°11'21"N

Longitude: -3.965 / 3°57'53"W

OS Eastings: 278153

OS Northings: 701381

OS Grid: NN781013

Mapcode National: GBR 1B.G36R

Mapcode Global: WH4NT.2P6H

Entry Name: Dunblane, Kirk Street, Dunblane Cathedral

Listing Date: 5 October 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 362989

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB26361

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Dunblane

County: Stirling

Town: Dunblane

Electoral Ward: Dunblane and Bridge of Allan

Traditional County: Perthshire

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Mainly mid-late 13th century with mid 12th century and later tower; restored 1889 by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson. Cathedral church, largely of early Gothic (largely First Pointed) design (with some alterations); 8-bay aisled nave with square-plan Romanesque tower (later upper storeys Gothic) short octagonal spire to S; lower Lady Chapel (originally chapter house) projects to N of choir. Coursed dressed yellow sandstone (red sandstone to tower) with ashlar dressings. Moulded tiered base course; plain base course to tower. Cill band at lower level to choir, nave and aisles; bracketed eaves bands; parapet to choir. Bays divided externally by shallow buttresses; those to clerestorey of nave and N side of choir gableted at apex; those to S side of choir surmounted by plain tapered pinnacles. Windows largely gothic/pointed-arched with hoodmoulds and splayed reveals. Coped gables.

TOWER: 6-stage, projecting to right of centre of S aisle. Band course at base of each stage, parapet with angle bartisans at apex. Narrow round-arched window to centre of 1st stage of S and W elevations; narrow rectangular window to each of outer faces (S, W and E) to 2nd stage; slightly larger round-arched window (divided into 2 round-arched lights by central shaft with plain capital and base to each face above, upper 2 storeys added circa 1500. Y-traceried bipartite windows to each face to each of upper 2 storeys (except possibly to N side of lower storey); those to lower stage obscured by later clock faces. Coat-of-arms of Bishop James Chisholm to parapet .

NAVE: 8-bay; lean-to aisle roofs projecting length of nave to either side; generally with single round-arched mullioned quadripartite (with pointed plate tracery lights) to each bay of aisle and pair of smaller pointed-arched windows to clerestorey above, some with transitional plate/bar tracery. Large transitional plate/bar-traceried gabled window breaking eaves at E end of aisle on both sides (creating transept-like appearance); that to S more sophisticated with clustered shafts forming mullions. Large plain replacement mullioned segmental-headed tripartites to 2 bays to outer right of aisle to N elevation. 3rd and 4th bays from right to S side occupied by tower at aisle level. Entrances to penultimate bay from right to S elevation and to 3rd bay from right to N elevation; each with moulded gothic archways with flanking nook-shafts set diagonally and late 19th century 2-leaf boarded timber doors with strap hinges. Smaller pointed-arched entrance, surmounted (at aisle level) by small round-arched bipartite to penultimate bay from left to S side. Pointed-arched mullioned bipartite to right return of S aisle (N aisle adjoins Lady Chapel).

CHOIR: 6-bay. N ELEVATION: Lady Chapel projects 5 bays to right, as continuation of nave aisle; segmental-headed/pointed-arched mullioned tripartite to each bay (arch of those to outer flanking bays more steeply pitched); pair of small lancet windows above to 2 bays to outer left and penultimate bay to right. Slightly projecting stack breaking eaves, incorporating 2-tier gableted buttress between 2 bays to outer right; 3 octagonal upper storeys, panelled. Outer flanking buttresses wider; that to right (adjoining nave aisle) incorporating small lancet window. Round-arched mullioned tripartite to left return; irregular pointed-arched mullioned tripartite above. Pointed-arched mullioned tripartite set back at clerestorey level to each bay to main body of choir. Tall window with geometric bar tracery (15th century with late 19th century tracery) to outer left bay. S ELEVATION: tall window with geometric bar tracery (15th century with late 19th century tracery) to each bay; dividing buttresses surmounted by plain pinnacles (circa 1500 and bearing crest of Bishop Chisholm).

E END: large central window with geometric bar tracery and clustered shafts forming mullions (15th century with late 19th century tracery); narrow flanking lights. Projecting eaves-level buttresses to either side flanked by buttresses at right angles; surmounted by tall 15th century pinnacles with spire-like caps. Cross finial to gable.

W END: central pointed-arched entrance with deep splayed reveals; late 19th century 2-leaf boarded timber door with elaborate strap hinges. Flanking blind pointed arches, each with trefoiled head; both supported on carved shafts. Arcade of 3 tall pointed-arched windows above; each with transitional tracery. Vesica, reveal carved with foliage to gablehead (with cross finial). Flanking eaves-height buttresses to nave; that to left forming part of square-plan stair tower with pyramid roof;. End walls of aisles set back to either side; both with shallow gables.

Grey slate roofs. Fixed leaded light windows, most of larger ones with stained glass. Cast-iron down pipes and hoppers probably dating from late 19th century restoration.

INTERIOR: retains some early fixtures and monuments and much fine stained glass and woodwork of late 19th/early 20th century date. Vaulted timber roofs to aisle and choir (both originally timber-roofed); that to nave (1893 during restoration of cathedral) decorated with bosses representing coats-of-arms of feudal patrons of cathedral. Stone vaulting (series of 5 groin vaults) to Lady Chapel; bosses carved with foliage. Stone pointed ribbed barrel vault at base of tower.

CHOIR: timber choir screen by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, 1889-93. Organ case adapted to accommodate 1989 Flentrop organ. Communion table incorporating ogee-headed panels by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson. Some 15th century choir stalls commissioned by Bishop Ochiltree (1429-47) flanking communion table with carved misericords including bat, dragon, green man and thistle motifs. Aumbry to S wall; moulded pointed-arched recess with nook shafts to N wall incorporating tomb with effigy of Bishop, thought to be Clement (builder of cathedral and bishop from 1233-58). S windows by Louis Davis E window depicting life of Christ and 4 Old Testament prophets by Charles E Kempe.

LADY CHAPEL (formerly Chapter House): converted to war memorial circa 1918. Timber panelling. Stained glass windows by Douglas Strachan and Gordon Webster. NAVE: bays divided by piers comprising clustered shafts with bell capitals supporting pointed arches with finely moulded reveals. Clerestorey forming unbroken arcade; windows of similar design to external ones with transitional plate/bar tracery but also with clustered piers to vertical shafts. Octagonal pulpit and sounding board by Rowand Anderson,1889-93. Large brass pulpit on octagonal base with lions at base; probably later 19th century. Pews by Sir Robert Lorimer. Canopied choir stalls of circa 1500 (commissioned by Bishop James Chisholm) flanking W entrance. Carved stone font bearing date 1879 (in SW corner) by Rowand Anderson. Great Bell (founded 1612, recast 1660 and 1809) and Lesser Bell (founded 1687, recast 1723) situated in N aisle. West window depicting Tree of Jesse, 1906, by Clayton and Bell of London. E window of N aisle, Compassion of Christ, 1968 by Gordon Webster. W window of S aisle, Baptism of Christ, 1926, by Douglas Strachan; adjacent window, St George and Hope, 1915, by Louis Davis; 2 windows to left, Departure and Arrival (based on 'Nunc Dimittis'), 1917 by Louis Davis. 2 windows at E end of S aisle by Charles E Kempe, other depicting saints, orChrist/as Good Shepherd. Wrought-iron pendant light fittings, 1935.

CLEMENT CHAPEL: small chamber with quadripartite rib vault at W end of S aisle; dedicated as chapel 1964; small stained glass window, Bishop Clement by Gordon Webster, 1964; brass bas relief, Christ in Majesty by Maxwell Allan, 1964.

Grey slate roofs. Fixed leaded glass windows, larger ones with stained glass. Rainwater goods appear to largely date from late 19th century restoration (one of hoppers dated 1890).

CHURCHYARD AND BOUNDARY WALL: low rubble boundary wall with rounded and ridged coping, largely late 19th century; some taller sections with slab coping. Pointed-arched gateway, Riccarton's Stile, to E side; 1814 by William Stirling. Churchyard contains several interesting 18th century gravestones, including to Lennox family carved with skull and crossbones and cherub. Various 19th century cast-iron gravestones. 2 lantern standards flanking E end and one by S gateway; all comprising ashlar shafts surmounted by cast/wrought-iron posts with lanterns at apex; that to S more elaborate with cast-iron post, possibly by Lorimer (early 20th century).

Statement of Interest

A very fine and largely intact early gothic cathedral. John Ruskin wrote of it in 1853 "I know not anything so perfect in its simplicity and so beautiful, as far as it reaches, in all the Gothic with which I am acquainted". The W end has been particularly admired ("one of the finest parts of the cathedral" according to McGibbon and Ross). The cathedral is also notable for its retention of a number of carved timber choir stalls of 15th century date; and also for its fine late 19th and early 20th century stained glass and various interior fittings by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson and Sir Robert Lorimer. The tracery in the choir was removed by James Gillespie Graham in 1817-19 and was subsequently replaced during the restoration of the cathedral in the late 19th century. Following the Reformation of the Church of Scotland in 1560 the choir became the parish church and the nave fell out of use, its roof falling in by about 1600. Some minor restoration work was carried out on the choir in 1872 and between 1889 and 1893 a major restoration of the whole church was carried out by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson.

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