Scheduled Monument

Earl's Palace, KirkwallSM90194

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Last Date Amended
Secular: domestic buildings; garden; palace
Local Authority
Orkney Islands
Kirkwall And St Ola
HY 44971 10774
344971, 1010774


The monument consists of the remains of the Earl's Palace, built by Patrick Stewart, earl of Orkney, between c.1601 and 1607.

Earl Patrick had been granted the former bishop's palace, or Palace of the Yards, in Kirkwall, together with the bishopric lands, by James VI in May 1600. The Earl's Palace represents the new residence that he built for himself. It comprised a first-floor hall, with an outer and an inner chamber, along with various other guest chambers, set above a service basement including a kitchen. The new work was inserted into the south-eastern corner of the former bishop's palace, some remains of which, including a masonry-lined well, were incorporated into its lower structure. Excavations on the east side of palace have also revealed the existence of a late medieval ditch running parallel to its east wall.

The area to be scheduled includes the standing remains of the Earl's Palace, a surrounding area in which below-ground archaeological remains associated with it and with the earlier bishop's palace are likely to survive and all boundary walls and gates, excluding the walls of the Sheriff Court and Police Station, the above-ground structure of the bowling club pavilion, the uppermost 25cm of soil covering the bowling green itself, and the upper 20cm of the tarmac surface immediately north of the Sheriff Court; overall this represents an area measuring some 72m ESE-WNW by 88m NNE-SSW, as indicated in red on the accompanying map.



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Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Earl's Palace, Kirkwall

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About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.

Scheduling is the way that a monument or archaeological site of national importance is recognised by law through the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments of national importance using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The additional information in the scheduled monument record gives an indication of the national importance of the monument(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the monument(s). The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief and some information will not have been recorded. Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

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Printed: 19/03/2019 09:47