Elgin Cathedral, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on Elgin Cathedral which lies close to the northern coast of Scotland, about 40 miles east of Inverness.

This Cathedral was, in its prime, known as the ‘Lantern of the North’ because of its beauty and ranked in size second only to the Cathedral at St. Andrews.

Between the period 1270 and 1560 Elgin Cathedral was seat of the Bishop of Moray. However, in the late 14th century a local, N.E. magnate,  Alexander Stewart aka ‘Wolf of Badenoch’ was censured by the Bishop for abuse of power. In a fit of rage, during a temporary power vacuum in Scotland, Stewart and his army burned and damaged the Cathedral and its associated residences. For this act, Stewart was excommunicated by the Bishop ( a very severe sanction in medieval times) and was forced to pay the Bishop heavy reparations. The Cathedral was subsequently rebuilt in stages.

Elgin Cathedral, Scotland

The ruined state of the buildings today are due to a combination of vandalism and neglect following the Protestant Reformation in 1560.

Elgin Cathedral, Scotland

The east end of the Cathedral is the best preserved. Choir and Presbytery date from 1270 and feature high quality window tracery. The most complete element surviving is the 15th century stone-vaulted octagonal chapter house.

Elgin Cathedral, Scotland

Clearly, Elgin Cathedral is an important part of Scotland’s heritage and is deserving of a visit. The ruins are popular with photographers and artists.

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