Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Shetland Islands
Planning Authority
Shetland Islands
HU 55511 65489
455511, 1165489


1733, with remodelling of 1867. Symmetrical T-plan kirk comprising 4 x 1-bay galleried hall with 2-storey wing containing aisle and laird?s loft centred to N (rear). Harl-pointed rubble walls with stugged and droved sandstone ashlar dressings. Projecting cills to windows.

S ELEVATION: symmetrical, tall principal windows with high cills in bays flanking centre, smaller windows with lower cills flanking in outer bays.

W (ENTRANCE) GABLE: round-arched door centred at ground with modern timber door and plate glass fanlight in arch-head; window centred in gablehead surmounted by (19th century) plain polished ashlar pointed-arched bellcote.

N (REAR) ELEVATION: gabled aisle and lairds loft advanced at centre with loft stair and window adjacent to right re-entrant angle and matching window to left fronted by memorial enclosure to Alexander Shand in re-entrant angle. 2-leaf wide-boarded and studded door to segmental-arched opening centred in N gable of aisle; small window at 1st floor adjacent to re-entrant angle of E side; harl-pointed rubble forestair with sandstone cope and steps rising to vertically-boarded timber door adjacent to re-entrant angle of W side with small window to left.

E GABLE: cement-rendered infill (dated 1968) to central segmental-arched former doorway; window centred in gablehead above with cill dated 1767.

Timber sash and case windows, predominantly 12-pane, with 18-pane glazing flanking centre of S elevation and 8-pane glazing to aisle. Modern grey tile roof, piended to S end of aisle, with stugged sandstone ashlar skew-copes. Rubble gablehead stack with stone cope to aisle.

INTERIOR: mid 19th century timber fittings surviving including vertically-boarded wainscoting, horizontally-boarded pews, loft, gallery, and canted and panelled pulpit with sounding board centring E wall accessed by stair on N side.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERS: harl-pointed rubble wall enclosing kirkyard, extended to W and N by (well-built) modern wall with semicircular concrete cope. Rubble-infilled opening to S wall, centred opposite S elevation of kirk; crude cement-rendered and lined square entrance gatepiers to W, with pyramidal caps and wrought-iron gate with medallions.

Statement of Special Interest

In ecclesiastical use. Presiding over the North Ness, this kirk occupies the site of an earlier church, and appears to be similar in layout to Old Olnafirth Kirk at Voe, Delting (now ruinous). Prior to the 19th century reorganisation, Whalsay Kirk seems to have conformed to the standard Shetland layout of a simple gabled rectangle with arched doors in the gables, and galleried interior with the pulpit probably sited between the central windows of the S elevation. The N wing contains at tunnel-vaulted burial place at ground floor with vestry above.



John Gifford HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS (1992) p516. Mike Finnie SHETLAND (1990) p81.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 08/07/2020 05:52