St. Machar’s Cathedral, Aberdeen

Cathedral Church of St. Machar, Old Aberdeen

This is a Church of Scotland church located in the former Burgh of Old Aberdeen. Technically it is no longer a cathedral but rather a ‘High Kirk’ as it has not been the seat of a bishop since 1690. The settlement of 1690 ended many years of strife between Episcopalians and Presbyterians in that it established the worship, discipline and government of the church in Scotland as Presbyterian.

The present building dates from around 1350-1520. Much of the beauty and character of the building was due to the work of a number of ‘Building Bishops’ amongst whom were Bishop Kininmund who built the fortified west towers and began the present nave. Bishop Lichtoun completed the nave and began construction of the central tower whilst Bishop Elphinstone completed the central tower and south transept. Bishop Dunbar raised the unique heraldic ceiling and also added the twin spires to the west front of the cathedral.

The chancel was demolished in 1560 during the reformation and the central tower and spire collapsed during a storm in 1688. This destroyed the choir and transepts. The west arch of the crossing was then filled in and worship continued in the nave only.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s