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- Category: A
- Date Added: 08/12/1971
- Supplementary Information Updated: 04/10/2006
- Local Authority: Orkney Islands
- Planning Authority: Orkney Islands
- Parish: South Ronaldsay
National Grid Reference
- NGR: ND 47067 90842
- Coordinates: 347067, 990842
Dated 1642, renovated and re-roofed 1801. 4-bay, rectangular-plan gabled church with 4 arched windows and off-centre round-arched doorway to SE elevation. Date stones of 1642 and 1801 over door. Arched window and small bellcote with bell to SW gable. 19th century lean-to porch / vestry to NE gable. Roughcast harl with ashlar skews. Timber sash and case windows with gothick-arched glazing pattern to tympanum. Graded Orkney slate roof with stone ridge. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
Statement of Special Interest
Ecclesiastical building in use as such. The early 19th century interior is a rare survival and is remarkably complete. The communion tables running lengthwise down the centre of the church and the central box pew for the church elders are particularly worthy of note, and very few examples of either of these features now survive in Scottish churches. Communion pews are also to be found in the parish churches at Ceres (Fife), Glenbuchat (Aberdeenshire), and Croick (Sutherland).
The exterior of the church is typical of the simple rectangular churches that are found across Orkney and is a relatively early example to survive intact. The Gothick glazing pattern adds significantly to the character of the church and was fashionable at the turn of the 19th century. Similar glazing is found at several other small churches in Orkney including St Columba's at Flotta, Skail Church, and St Magnus, Birsay. The church is believed to have been built in 1642, probably on the site of an earlier church. By 1795 the church was standing roofless and it was renovated in 1801. The Bellcote may date from this period, but its simple form could be indicative of a 17th or early 18th century date. A Pictish symbol stone that was found forming one of the window cills is now in National Museum of Scotland.
Upgraded from category B to A on 4 October 2006.
Marked on Blaeu's Atlas of Scotland (1654) and most subsequent 17th and 18th century maps.. Statistical Account (1795) Vol XV, p307. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches (1957), p267. John Gifford, Buildings of Scotland: Highlands and Islands (1992) p310.
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