Dornoch Cathedral

Dornoch Cathedral

Dornoch Cathedral is a parish church in the Church of Scotland, serving the small Sutherland town of Dornoch, in the Scottish Highlands. It was built in the 13th century, in the reign of King Alexander II (1214–49) and the episcopate of Gilbert de Moravia (died 1245) (later Saint Gilbert of Dornoch) as the cathedral church of the diocese of Caithness (moved to Dornoch from Halkirk). As a congregation of the Church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian, the church is not technically a cathedral, in spite of its name.


In 1570 the Cathedral was burnt down during local feuding. Full 'repairs' (amounting to one of the most drastic over-restorations on any important Scottish medieval building) were not carried out until the early 19th century, by the Countess of Sutherland. Among the 'improvements' carried out, the ruined but still largely intact aisled medieval nave was demolished and a new narrow nave without pillars built on its site. The interior was reordered in the 1920s by Rev. Charles Donald Bentinck, with the removal of Victorian plasterwork to reveal the stonework (although the medieval church would have been plastered throughout). The site of the medieval high altar was raised and converted into a burial area for the Sutherland family, who introduced large marble memorials alien to the original appearance of the building.

The previous minister was the Very Rev Dr James Simpson, who was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1994. The current minister (since 1998) is the Rev Susan Brown, who officiated at the wedding of Madonna and Guy Ritchie at nearby Skibo Castle in December 2000.

The Cathedral's churchyard is adjoined by Dornoch Castle, the somewhat reconstructed remains of the medieval palace of the Bishops of Caithness.

In 2010 billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and actress Talulah Riley married at Dornoch Cathedral.[1]

Other burials


See also


  1. Alan Boyle (18 January 2012). "SpaceX's millionaire founder tweets about marital split". Retrieved 28 September 2013.

External links

Coordinates: 57°52′53″N 4°1′45″W / 57.88139°N 4.02917°W / 57.88139; -4.02917

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