Newtonmore Road, Kingussie, Inverness-shire, PH21 1HE

(01540) 661302

Elgin Cathedral, Elgin

Distance from hotel: 58 miles
Green Award: Gold
Perfect for: Everyone
Website: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/elgin-cathedral/

Elgin Cathedral, known as the ‘Lantern of the North’, is one of Scotland’s most beautiful medieval cathedrals.

The monumentally impressive building dominated the flat and fertile Laich of Moray from the time it was built. It continued to do so even after its demise at the Protestant Reformation of 1560.

Work began on the cathedral in the first half of the 1200s, but it is the product of three main building phases. Even as a ruin, the cathedral still boasts plenty of detail that tells of its development and embellishment.

The cathedral was once richly carved and adorned with stained glass and painted decoration. A fine collection of architectural fragments hints at the building’s lost beauty, while documentary evidence sheds light on religious life at Elgin.

The cathedral was the spiritual heart of the diocese of Moray. But the bishop’s ‘cathedra’ (seat) wasn’t always at Elgin. Before the time of Bishop Brice of Douglas (1203–22), it moved between Kinneddar, Birnie and Spynie.

Bishop Brice chose Spynie (2 miles north) as the permanent location for his cathedral, but it moved to Elgin around 1224. After the Reformation, it was used only sometimes for Catholic worship.

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