Scheduled Monument

Earl's Palace, KirkwallSM90194

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


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 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.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

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

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


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Printed: 02/03/2024 04:15