St Nicholas's Church, Orphir (Orkney)

Grid reference

HY 334 044 (accurate position)

Six-figure easting & northing

333400 100440







Nearby places

Orphir, parish (Orkney) (0 miles)

Petertown, Mainland ORK (1.87 miles)

Stenness, parish (Orkney) (5.18 miles)

St Colm's Chapel, Hoy & Graemsay ORK (5.6 miles)

Firth, parish ORK (5.95 miles)

Object Classification



Is linear feature?



NMRS records: 'The remains of a Romanesque Church, dedicated to St Nicholas, which has been circular on plan with an eastern apse, stands at the E end of the now demolished parish church. It is unique in Scotland as having been built after the model of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, through Scandinavian prototypes, and it can be dated between AD 1090 and 1160.' See NMRS for further discussion of the building, its influences, and later medieval grave-slab. It is worth recalling that knowledge of, and reflection on, the round Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem had been promoted in Britain in the seventh century by Adomnán of Iona who describes the building in detail in his book De Locis Sanctis - a book which enjoyed a wide circulation, and was given extra impetus by Bede, who published an abridged version of the work. The identity of Blaeu's 'S. Nicolas' with this church is possible: the engraver shows the name on Hoy, on the other side of Bring Deeps from St Nicholas's Church in Orphir. This may simply be an error of displacement.

Relationships with other parishes

Within Orphir, parish (Orkney)

Within Orphir, parish (Orkney)