Spynie Palace, Elgin

Distance from hotel: 60 miles
Green Award: Gold
Perfect for: Everyone
Website: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/spynie-palace/

Spynie Palace was for 500 years the seat of the bishops of Moray. During that time, the palace stood on the edge of Spynie Loch, a sea loch with safe anchorage for fishing boats and merchant vessels. A thriving settlement developed nearby.

Today, nothing remains of either sea loch or medieval settlement. But the impressive ruin of Spynie Palace is the largest surviving medieval bishop’s house in Scotland.

A long-lasting episcopal residence

The bishops of Moray may have established their residence at Spynie in the late 1100s. Around 1207, Bishop Brice chose the church of Spynie as his cathedral. His successor, Bishop Andrew, built a new cathedral in Elgin, but the bishops still lived at Spynie.

The oldest surviving buildings, dating from the 1300s, include a first-floor hall and perhaps a chapel, with an entrance gateway below. There was another hall range with tall windows against the west wall. A large, circular tower may have held the palace’s main accommodation (only its basement remains).

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