Working in Elgin again today so I thought I’d finish the day, under the threat of snow again, at the Lantern of the North
Parts of the Cathedral date back to early 13th Century, although a much smaller church stood on the spot even earlier.
The ‘Wolf of Badenoch’ burnt the Cathedral, and much of Elgin, in 1390 as an act of revenge after the Bishop of Moray – Bishop Alexander Bur (1362-97) excommunicated him for ‘marital infidelity’.
He knew that the Bishop was rather found of his Cathedral as the Bishop has been quoted as saying it was; ‘the ornament of the realm, the glory of the Kingdom’.
A number of sections were subsequently rebuilt, often being enlarged and altered, and as such some parts do not quite appear to line up.
The Cathedral was then sacked during the Reformation in 1560 with the congregation moving to St Giles in the centre of the town.
The lead roof and the bells disappeared, and then the choir roof blew down in a gale in 1637. Much of the Cathedral was subsequently robbed out, with wood being highly valued as winter fuel in the cold north.
The central tower collapsed in 1711, but the Chapterhouse has been maintained in some sort of order because it was routinely used by trades-folk as a meeting place.
In 1807, local cobbler John Shanks was appointed as ‘keeper’ of the cathedral and his efforts, often single handed, have saved a lot of the cathedral for us to see today.
The two towers at what is sometimes referred to as the library end, were part of the last building phase, and can be accessed today (should you wish to pay Historic Scotland’s £5 admission fee).
Although the final few steps at the top are not for the faint hearted!
There are a number of very interesting graves, memorials, and crypts, many with fine carvings and enwrapped in majestic ironwork. Although I’m not sure if some of the spiked gates and fences are for keeping people out or the incumbents in!
More about the Cathedral, including entry fees and times, can be found at:
And there is plenty of information about the Cathedral, Elgin, and in fact Scotland at:
Please note that you can easily see the Cathedral by walking around the exterior of the fencing without paying for access, although you’ll miss being able to see the vaulting, statures, and inner details, as well as climbing up that infamous staircase.
All images Copyright of Janet Duperre, 2013. All rights reserved.
All images shot on a Canon 50D with a Canon 17-85 EF-S lens.