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.

Dornoch Cathedral, excluding scheduled monument SM10828, Castle Street, DornochLB24632

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NH 79720 89692
279720, 889692


13th century, cruciform with central tower and spire, subsequently much rebuilt; complete restoration by William Burn, 1835-37.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following is excluded from the listing: scheduled monument SM10828

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 east window 3 lancets with additional lancet in gable (inserted after original building, but not replaced by Burn, west window follows design of original but raised to allow for west 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 east windows by Christopher Whall. Richly carved wooden Gothic octagonal pulpit, communion table and choir seating date from 1911.

Statement of Special Interest

Place of worship 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 Countess 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.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following is excluded from the listing: scheduled monument SM10828.

Listed building record and statutory address updated in 2017. Previously listed as 'Castle Street Dornoch Cathedral and Walled Grave Yard. (Cathedral of St. Mary and St Gilbert. Church of Scotland Parish Church).'



Canmore: CANMORE ID 14637

Bentinck, Rev C. (1926) Dornoch Cathedral and Parish. Inverness: Northern Counties Newspaper and Printing and Publishing Company Limited. p.377.

Imperial Gazetteer Of Scotland (circa 1858) p.362.

MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1897) Ecclesiastical Architecture Of Scotland. Edinburgh: D.Douglas. Vol 2, p.3.

MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T.(1887) Castellated And Domestic Architecture Of Scotland. Edinburgh: D. Douglas. Vol 2. p.336.

Murray, D. (1981) Dornoch Cathedral

Ordnance Survey ( Surveyed 1874, Published 1879) Sutherland Sheet CXIII.6. 25 Inches to the Mile Map. 1st Edition. London: Ordnance Survey.

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.

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Printed: 17/06/2019 00:43