Earl’s Bu and Round Church, Orphir

Orkney, Scotland. Day 25, 23rd July.

Orphir is the site of two Viking-era ruins, the Earl’s Bu or Hall, known for many violent drinking sessions, and the Round Church of Orphir. There are also traces of many buildings in the immediate neighbourhood, thought to be the remains of the Palace of Earl Paul Haakonsson (Earl 1123 to 1136). It was a major settlement area, along with Birsay until the focus shifted to Kirkwall. You can see a picture of what it may have looked like here. (I cannot show you this directly because of copyright issues and because I do not know how to contact the site.)

 

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After Earl Haakon Paulsson murdered Earl Magnus Erlendsson in 1116 (see previous post), his conscience was troubled and he may have thought his passage to Heaven threatened. Consequently, he went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When he came back he built the round church of Orphir which is thought to be based on the Holy Sepulchure in Jerusalem. The church was in use until 1705, when a replacement was built nearby. It was then used as a storage shed until 1756 when much of it was dismantled for stone to repair the new church. Another church was built around it in the nineteenth century. Neither of the later two churches survive.

 

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Orphir is mentioned several times in the Orkneyingen Saga, which is well worth reading.

It is related as the site of the bizarre accidental murder of Earl Harold Haakonsson in 1130. One morning he came upon his mother Helga and Aunt Frakokk making a magnificent white garment. Ignoring their entreaties, he put it on and died. It had been intended for his co-Earl brother Paul. Both Harold and Paul were sons of Haakon who had killed Magnus Erlendsson (and who later became St Magnus).

 

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The Earl’s Bu was the site of another murder outlined in the Orkneyingen Saga. The remains of the Bu suggest one long building 15 x 6 metres, or two conjoined buildings with several internal divisions. The walls and roof would have been covered in turf and there would have been no windows. We see the remains above. The entrance was said to be “a few steps from the church”. We can see what may be the entrance up against the wall which must date from the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. The wall is more than two or three steps from the church so perhaps the building continued beyond it. No excavation is possible beyond the wall because the graveyard is still active.

In Christmas 1136, Svein Breast-Rope and Svein Alseifarson were amongst the people drinking around the table in the hall. Svein Breast-Rope repeatedly complained that he was in various ways receiving more alcohol than the other Svein (it was evidently something of a drinking competition). Then he was heard muttering under his breath “Svein will kill Svein” which was taken as a threat. Consequently Svein Asleifarson hid behind the door and hit him with an axe. Svein Breast-Rope did not initially fall but after staggering he struck back – killing not Svein A but his relative Jon.

 

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In 1156 there was conflict between the then three Earls of Orkney. The three were Rognvald Kali Kolsson (who vanquished Paul Haakonsson and built St Magnus’ Cathedral), Harald Maddadsson (grandson of Haakon Paulsson who had killed Magnus Erlendson or St Magnus) and Erlend Haraldsson (son of Harold Haakonsson, who had died accidentally by donning the poisoned clothing). Erlend launched a surprise attack on Orphir, and Rognvald and Harald escaped only narrowly and fled to the Scottish mainland. A few months later, Rognvald and Harald succeeded in killing Erlend in another surprise attack, this time at the Island of Damsay on the other side of Mainland in Orkney.

 

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Just across the road, these are some abandoned farm houses of much more recent vintage than Viking times.

 

St Magnus’ Cathedral

Orkney, Scotland. Day 25 , 23rd July.

 

St Magnus’ Cathedral is a very remarkable building with a very remarkable history.

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St Magnus

How much is legend and how much is fact is not known but the story goes like this:  In 1098 there were two twin brothers who were Earls of Orkney, Erlend and Paul Torfinnson, who had sons Magnus and Haakon respectively.  The Norwegian King Magnus Barelegs turned up, deposed the two Earls, shipped them back to Norway and installed his illegitimate son Sigurd Magnusson instead.  King Magnus then took the Earls’ sons raiding.  When they got to the Island of Anglesey, Magnus Erlendsson refused to join in because he thought it was an unjustified exercise in barbarism and instead stayed on deck and prayed.  Unsurprisingly this did not endear him to King Magnus and Magnus had to flee, spending several years in the Court of the King of Scotland.

Haakon Paulsson became Earl 1n 1104, having previously been Regent for Sigurd Magnusson.  In 1106, with the support of new King Eystein I, Magnus Paulsson became joint Earl.  After nine years, there was building tension between the two Earls and their followers, which came to head at an Althing (local Parliament).  The two Earls agreed to reconcile and meet on an Island, to which each was to turn up with two ships.  Magnus turned up with his two but then Haakon turned up with eight, obviously intending trouble.  Magnus refused to flee and accepted execution.  He was initially buried where he fell and later reburied in Birsay.  There said to be many miracles around his grave and in 1135 he was canonised.

 

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Building of the Cathedral

Rögnvald Kali Kolsson, nephew of Magnus Erlendsson, was declared Earl of Orkney in 1129 by King Sigurd I of Norway.  This was also confirmed by the next King, Harald Gille but neither offered military support against Earl Haakon Paulsson so Rognvald did little for some years.  To help generate support, he declared that he would build a church dedicated to Magnus.  It is likely that the canonisation of Magnus was in support of his candidacy.  He landed successfully in 1136 and became co-Earl by agreement with Haakon.  Then he had Haakon kidnapped and nothing was heard of him again.

Construction of the Cathedral commenced in 1137, under the direction of Rögnvald’s father Kol.  The remains of St Magnus were transferred first to a church in Kirkwall and later to the Cathedral.  Rögnvald was killed by a rebellious Scottish Chieftain in 1158 and he also was canonised in 1192.  It took around three hundred years to complete the Cathedral and it is in such good shape due to a major reconstruction programme in the early 20th century.

 

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The carved figure of the founder Earl Rögnvald, holding a model of the original cathedral.

 

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Kol, the father of Earl Rögnvald, who was a driving force behind the construction of the cathedral.

 

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William the Old, first Bishop of the Cathedral.

Inside the walls of the cathedral, through the arches, is a remarkable series of memorial plaques.  I hope the formatting works for you.  They were originally on the floor of the Cathedral, which may account for why some are quite worn.

The spacing of the text and the images below is relative.  All I can do is to get it to work on my PC.  I hope it makes sense on your screen.  If you’re an email subscriber and the formatting is tangled, try it in your browser.

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Here lyes ane honest man

Thomas Taylor Merchant

Burgess in Kirkwell

Spouse to Jennet Potenger

who departed the 1 of March 1666

 

Corps rest in peace into this wormie clay

Till Christ shall raise thee to a glorious day

 

Virtue triumphs o’er the grave

 

Remember death

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Here rests the corps

of a virtuous and honest man

David Monroe

Dyer and Burgess in Kirkwell

who left surviving

Jean Richen his spous

and John and Elizabeth Monroes their children

They were married 21 Dec 1675

died 21 Sept 1684 aged 34

Live die world

Remember death

 

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This one is much harder to read …

 

RI  BW

 

… in the hope of blessed resurrection

ane pious and worthy gentleman

Robert …

… was married with Barbara Williamson

the 10 of June 1528 (?) and left with …

Margaret and Mary Irvings

their children …

 

 

 

 

 

If there were words on this one, they have eroded away.

All I can see is two coats of arms, one with the letters A and B on each side, a skull and bones and the word mort or death.

Since it is so worn, it may be older than the others.

 

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This one is mainly abbreviated Latin, making little sense to me…

 

Hic tesitup = here lies???

Tomas Reid

CVI (=106) ELOS IVVENTVI

IS SPEM PRO…M

FEREN MORTE … OBIT

VR

TR

4 May 1603

 

Below is part of an earlier plaque, including hic iacet (here lies) and a year – 1564.

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“If Aven Opened” is presumably “If Heaven Opened”

 

DCNT (?)

 

In hope of a blessed resurrection

Heer rests Nicola Trail

Spouse to Dave Covngtrie

Erd (?) and burgess of Kirkwall

Died 23 July 1688

Aged 33

And of some of her children.

 

 

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IB (heart) SH

 

Heer is interred

James Bakie of Burnes

Late Baily of Kirkwall

Died 22 May 1679

And Hew John Tho Arthur Margaret Bakies his children

Procret betwixt him and Sibilla Halcro his spouse

Daughter to Hew Halcro of that ilk

And aged 50

Down below is a fetching cartoon: Ad Hoc/ Ab Hoc/ Per Hoc:

From this (corporeal body) by this (death) to this (heaven).

 

 

This is the burial place of Captain Peter Winchester where lye interred the bodies of his vertuous wife Jane Bakie, daughter to James Bakie of Tankerness and of their 3 children Alex Peter and Arthur

 

Here torn from her husband and surrounded by her three children lies a great glory of the female sex.  She is dead but her virtue is still fragrant after death.  (Then something like:) Jane was right dear on earth, leaves a bright … in heaven 1674

 

Death is the end of all things

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This one is easy to read:

 

August 1750

 

Here was interred

the corps of Mary Young

Spouse to John Riddoch

Then one of the Magistrates of Kirkwall

And afterwards Provost of said Burgh.

 

She lived regarded and died regretted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In hope of a blessed resurrection

Heir lye interred before this monument

The bodies of Elizabeth Cuthbert

Spous to James Wallace

Minister of Kirkwall

And of some of their children

 

(James Wallace was minister of the Cathedral).

 

Bishop’s Palace, Kirkwall

Orkney, Scotland. Days 23 and 25 , 21st and 23rd July.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Bishop's Palace Kirkwall, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel
This is the Bishop’s Palace in Kirkwall, as seen from the ground of the Earl’s Palace.  Earl Rognvald Kolsson constructed the Bishop’s Palace for Bishop William the Old in 1137 or shortly after, at about the same time he started building the St Magnus Cathedral.  Originally, the Palace had a Great Hall for meetings and a tower for the Bishop’s quarters and possibly a chapel.  The remains of the original building are still visible in the lower walls of the surviving Palace.

 

In 1163, King Haakon of Norway came here after the inconclusive Battle of Largs which nonetheless lead to the loss of Norwegian sovereignty over the Western Isles.  The illustration at the right shows what the Palace looked like at the time and depicts the arrival of King Haakon.  He fell sick and died here, in the Bishop’s Palace.

 

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Archaeology, Architecture, Bishop's Palace Kirkwall, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, TravelBy 1320, the Palace had largely fallen into ruin through neglect.  Then in 1541 Bishop Robert Reid began an extensive programme of restoration and reconstruction. A noticeboard at the site is confused about this.  It says “By that date, the mediæval palace had fallen into a sorry state, but it was imperative that Bishop Reid be able to defend himself and his property, particularly from his neighbour, the infamous Earl of Orkney”.  Yet there was no Earl of Orkney in 1541, Robert Stewart was only eight, he didn’t visit Orkney until 1567 and he didn’t become Earl until 1581.

The main addition Bishop Reid made was to build the round tower, known as the Moosie Toor.  You can see that in the picture above and the diagram to the right.

 

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This image shows a section of the Moosie Toor including holes for firing from, probably with longbows, arquebuses or muskets.

We have already seen an outline of the later history of the Bishop’s Palace, in the previous post for the Earl’s Palace.  Robert Stewart gained control of it in 1568 (he was not yet an Earl).  His son Earl Patrick Stewart was commanded to give it up in 1607 along with the Earl’s Palace he had just built and was forced to actually do so in 1610.  Patrick’s son Robert briefly seized it during a rebellion in 1614.  The Bishops retained control until 1638.  In that year the Covenanters gained religious and political power in Scotland after militarily defeating Charles I.  They abolished Episcopy and Bishops along with that, so there were no Bishops to occupy the Palace.  In 1653, the Bishop’s Palace was used to house Cromwellian troops.  After the Restoration, Charles II restored Episcopy and therefore the Bishops.  A Bishop returned in 1671 but 1688 saw the final abolition of Episcopy and the gradual falling into ruin of the Bishop’s Palace.
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This is the entry chamber, with entry from the street at the left.  The modern concrete at the top is part of an adjoining house.  You can see the holes for the beams where an original floor would have been.  The feature in the middle looks like a bricked-in fireplace for which the chimney no longer exists.

 

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This is the Great Hall of the Bishop’s Palace.   There would have been a wooden floor (now missing) over a lower level.  There appears to be holes for beams along much of the wall so there was presumably another floor up there.  We are looking towards the end where the Bishop’s table would have been.  The original tower with accommodation for the Bishop was to the right at the end, though that tower no longer exists.  The remains of the Moosie Toor is at the end to the left, where there would have been extra accommodation.  The spire of the St Magnus Cathedral is in the background.

 

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Archaeology, Architecture, Bishop's Palace Kirkwall, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel

This is the view looking in the opposite direction, towards the public entrance.

The drawing shows this view at the time of Bishop Reid and there is a wooden partition before the end of the hall.  After Earl Robert Stewart too over the Palace, he partitioned the Great Hall into multiple rooms for ancillary accommodation.

 

 

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This is a room inside the Moosie Toor at first floor level.

 

Earl’s Palace, Kirkwall

Orkney, Scotland. Days 23 and 25 , 21st and 23rd July.

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This is the Earls Palace in Kirkwall, the main town of Orkney.  I briefly stopped here on my way to my accommodation on the day I arrived in Orkney, for a few images from the outside.  Two days later I returned when it was open and photographed the inside.

 

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This is what it looked like after it was built.  The long building in the front right is the Bishop’s Palace (next post) and the L-shaped building behind it is the Earl’s Palace.  The inset for floor plans is for the Earl’s Palace (from an information board at the site).

 

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Two posts ago we saw the Earl’s Palace at Birsay, built by Earl Robert Stewart, illegitimate son of James V and half brother of Mary Queen of Scots.  He acquired the Bishop’s Palace at Kirkwell in 1570 from Bishop Adam Bothwell (who visited Orkney twice only).  The Earl’s Palace was built by his son, Patrick Stewart between 1601 and 1607.

The Stewart Earls had invidious reputations, especially Patrick.  He was known for cruel and arbitrary justice and building his palace with unpaid forced labour.  He conducted armed raids and seized houses of his rivals.  Notwithstanding inheriting an earldom already in debt, be undertook an ambitious building program including both the Palace here and a castle at Scalloway in Shetland (which we shall see in due course).

 

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In 1603 the King restored the Bishopric of Orkney and reinstituted the church estates.  This caused a great loss in revenue for Patrick who resorted to increased taxation on other landowners and thus caused intensified opposition.  In 1607 he was required to hand over his newly constructed palace to the Church.  He still occupied it in 1610 but by then he had lost the king’s support and was arrested and sent to prison for five years.

From prison he encouraged his son Robert to rebel.  In 1614 Robert seized both the Kirkwall Palace and the Kirkwall Castle (which no longer exists).  However, he was defeated by the combined forces of the Bishop of Orkney and the Earl of Caithness.  Both Stewarts were executed in 1615.

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Ground floor corridor

While Patrick Stewart had a reputation as a tyrant, that was mainly for the effect he had on other landowners.  Probably all earls were vicious suppressors of their poorer subjects.  The fall of the Stewart Earls, though, led to a change in the legal system.  The previous system or Udal Law, derived from the Vikings, gave freehold ownership to small farmers without the need to hold title deeds.  Scottish Feudal Law largely replaced this after Patrick.  I’m not sure how this played out but on the mainland all ownership was concentrated in the Lairds until very recently and still largely is.

 

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Cellar

In 1614, the Church took possession of both the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces but they did not hold them for many decades.  In 1638, when the Covenanters defeated Charles I in the first phase of the Civil War, they abolished Episcopy.  In other words, they abolished hierarchy in the Church and there were no Bishops.

In 1643, Charles granted the Earldom to William Douglas, Earl of Morton but the Earl’s authority did not survive the Civil War.  In 1653, the Palaces were used as accommodation for Oliver Cromwell’s troops.  Episcopy was restored with the Restoration and a Bishop moved back in in 1671 but this did not last long either because the Glorious Revolution in 1688 saw Episcopy abolished again, this time for good.  The Palaces were already severely deteriorated by this time and they fell into ruin during the eighteenth century.

 

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the Between Room

DSCF5172-EditThis is the Between Room and probably the room of the Steward, the person who oversaw the running of the Palace and controlled security.  It’s on the first floor and facing one of the corner turrets.

There’s an irony here.  From the 12th century to 1371 the High Stewards of Scotland were stewards to the Scottish King, for most of that period the House of Dunkeld.  This was an hereditary office and the family who held it were therefore called the Stewarts.  From 1371 the Stewards became Kings (and eventually gave rise to the current Elizabeth Saxe Coburg Gotha, alias Windsor).

So this is the room of the Steward to the Stewart who in turn was son of the bastard son of a Stewart who was King and whose family had for centuries been Stewards to the King.

 

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DSCF5184

 

This is the Great Hall, the principal public room in the Palace, where Earl Patrick dispensed his own peculiar brand of justice.

 

 

 

 

 

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DSCF5185-2

This is the Dining Room.  Its appearance is quite different without the elaborate wooden panelling and tapestry hangings it would once have featured.

As a stone building it would have been cold in winter and one wonders what it would take to keep that huge fireplace fed, especially in a land of very little wood.

 

 

 

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These are the stairs from the first floor to the second.  The wall seems to have been patched up with some incongruously new-looking mortar.

 

Archaeology, Architecture, Birsay, Earl's Palace Kirkwall, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel DSCF5186

 

This is the Bed Chamber.  Not just a bedroom but also a place where Patrick would have entertained visitors, friends and family.

 

 

 

 

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Here we are at a turret in the Bed Chamber,  looking past a turret in the Main Hall, to the corner of the L-shaped Palace where the entrance is.

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We can see the turret the previous picture came from.  This is from the end of the second story, now open to the sky.

 

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The Outer Chamber, originally a guest room.

 

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The Inner Chamber, also originally a guest room.  Both Inner and Outer Chambers had their own fireplace, latrine closet and access.  This one was also the quarters of Major Ponsford when he billeted here in 1653 with his Cromwellian troops.

 

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DSCF5203

 

This is the fireplace of a small room half-way up the stairs and above the kitchen.  It may be the one described as the Doctor’s Chambers in the inventory of 1653.  It is uncertain who this Doctor was, perhaps one accompanying the Cromwellian troops at that time.

Broch of Gurness

Orkney, Scotland. Day 25 , 23nd July.

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Early in the morning, as determined by opening hours, I visited the Broch of Gurness, not far from where I was staying.  The image is level, the broch is just built on sloping ground.

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This is what it would have looked like two thousand years ago, from the information board at the site.  Brochs are always circular stone towers.  This differs from most others, especially those on the mainland, in that it was surrounded by a fortified village.

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Here we can see the remaining lower part of the external wall.  In 1929, before excavation, there was just a large grass-covered mound here though there was rumoured to be a broch underneath.

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The sea was the highway of ancient times.  The broch is on the edge of Eynhallow Sound, between Mainland and Rousay.  I think the land in the distance on the left must be the small island of Eynhallow.

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Coming in a bit closer, we can start to see the remains of the village that surrounded the broch.

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There was a small fortified settlement here in 400BC, but the main period for the broch was between 200BC and 0AD.  From 200AD to 600AD, the community had gone and there was just a single family farmhouse on the site.  Perhaps the threat of attack and the need for fortification had diminished.  A Viking grave from around 850AD was discovered near here but by that time the site was deserted.

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This is the “Shamrock House”, a later Pictish dwelling with small radiating rooms.  Originally one of the dwellings adjoining the broch, it was painstakingly moved to near the Visitors’ Centre to allow excavating structures underneath.

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And this is what it may have looked like when in use, including a low thatched roof.

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The remains of a dwelling adjoining the broch, though I am unable to describe what we are seeing with any precision.  Perhaps the light brown stone square is a hearth.  Perhaps the recessed box beside it is a well, though the guidebook does not mention it.  There is a well within the broch, with steps down to water, but this is not usually open to the public.

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The path into the broch.

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This is what it may once have looked like.

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Past the houses to the door to the broch itself.

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Because it is surrounded by a fortified village, the door to the broch is taller than doors to brochs that stand alone.  They usually require that a person stoops as they enter.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Broch of Gurness, Brochs, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel

This is the interior of the broch.  Much of what we see dates from a later period.  There originally would have been a wooden ceiling above here for an upper floor, and a thatched roof above that.  The wall would have extended much higher.

The rectangular corner on the very front left is part of the hearth.  I would presume the trees were long gone and they had to burn peat or turf, maybe cattle dung as in India today.  The rectangular hole in the ground behind it is the well.  There are steps going down but access is closed.

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A trough for cattle and sheep, perhaps?

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Elegant stonework on the interior of the broch wall.

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Birsay

Orkney, Scotland. Day 24 , 22nd July.

From the Brough of Deerness I headed to the Brough of Birsay on the other side of the island.

The Brough of Birsay is a tidal island that you access via a concrete causeway provided the tide is not too high.  It includes a remarkable array of ruins, often with one era building on top of the other.  There are traces of a Pictish settlement from the 7th and 8th centuries, remains of a Viking age settlement and the remains of a church and monastery from the twelfth century.

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This is the remains of Viking houses and barns of the ninth or tenth centuries.   The walls would originally have risen to around two metres, with wooden roof and supports, covered in turf and with no windows.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Birsay, Brough of Birsay, Earl's Palace Birsay, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel

The structure in the left distance was a twelfth-century Romanesque church and the round part is the Apse.  It was influenced by international styles in design notwithstanding its remoteness and antiquity.  In the foreground are the remains of later Norse houses, mainly of the tenth century though built on top of earlier houses.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Birsay, Brough of Birsay, Earl's Palace Birsay, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel

This is thought to be the remains of a Sauna and is a small stone building from the eleventh century.  The upright slabs inside the wall supported seats along the walls.  Stones may have been heated in a brazier, then doused with water to produce the steam.  Perhaps they timed its use with high tide so they could then plunge into the sea.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Birsay, Brough of Birsay, Earl's Palace Birsay, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel

Looking east at Mainland and the coast, past later Norse dwellings.  This may be the dwelling from the eleventh century with ducts for underground heating.

In the distance on the right, behind the Scottish flag, on Mainland, is the Village of Birsay.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Birsay, Earl's Palace Birsay, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel

Here are the remains of the Earl’s Palace from the sixteenth century, at the Village of Birsay.

The Orkeyinga Saga, written around 1200, tells of Earl Thorfinn having his permanent residence at Birsay.  This is more likely to be on Mainland near the village than on the Brough of Birsay.  Excavations near the Palace at the mouth of a burn have uncovered a tenth-century Norse hall, which may have been the home of the Norse Earls of Orkney.  Orkney was effectively an independent state at the time of Thorfinn and the language was the Viking tongue Norn, also spoken in Shetland.  It was widely spoken until the eighteenth century and survives today in many words in the local dialect.

The Earl’s Palace was therefore probably built here as a continuation of a tradition dating back to Viking times.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Birsay, Earl's Palace Birsay, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel

The Earl’s Palace of Birsay was built by Robert Stewart, Earl of Orkney, between 1569 and 1574.  Robert was an illegitimate son of James V and half brother of Mary Queen of Scots.  Mary had created a Dukedom of Orkney for her later husband Bothwell in 1567 but they were overthrown later the same year.  Her son James VI (later James I of England) recreated the Earldom and granted it to Robert in 1581.  Robert developed a reputation for brutality that was surpassed only by his son Patrick and died in 1593.  His son built his own Palace in Kirkwall and the Palace in Birsay fell into disrepair after 1700.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Birsay, Earl's Palace Birsay, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel

The palace was built around three sides of a courtyard, with a wall enclosing the north side.  There were towers on three or perhaps four of the corners and we are looking at one of those.  It was as much a fortress as a residence, with large windows only on the upper levels and small openings and gun holes on the ground level floors.  The grandeur of the Palace was a direct cause of the Earl’s unpopularity because to build it he raised taxes, confiscated land and manipulated the legal system to his own advantage.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Birsay, Earl's Palace Birsay, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel .

Archaeology, Architecture, Birsay, Earl's Palace Birsay, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel

From a noticeboard at the site, this is a representation of the West Gallery, a sparsely furnished long room that was a meeting place.  It became fashionable to hang paintings in such rooms, which is where our current term “gallery” derives from.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Birsay, Earl's Palace Birsay, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel

This is the West Gallery as it appears today.

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A short distance south of Birsay, at Marwick Head, is a memorial to Lord Kitchener, he of the famous handlebar moustache on the First World War recruiting poster, also known as Kitchener of Khartoum after winning the Battle of Omdurman and retaking the Sudan in 1898.  He was Secretary of State for War in 1916, enroute to a diplomatic mission in Russia, when his ship went down nearby here after it hit a mine.  Almost all on board drowned, including Kitchener.

Deerness

Orkney, Scotland. Day 24 , 22nd July.

I flew in to Orkney on the 21st and en route to my accommodation, stopped by in the main town Kirkwall to briefly view the Earl’s Palace and the Bishop’s Palace.  I toured them in more detail later so I’ll include the images I took on arrival in a later post or posts.

Next day I was due to fly to the northern islands of Westray and Papa Westray.  This was to include the world’s shortest commercial air route between Westray and Papa Westray, early neolithic ruins on Papa Westray, massive bird cliffs and mediæval ruins on Westray.  I thought I could save time by flying there rather than taking the ferry but I didn’t count on the fog.  After more than half a day gone and with no plane in prospect, I abandoned that plan and arranged for a further night on Mainland (the main island of Orkney).

Next I had to decide where to go for the rest of the day, so I decided to visit the Brough of Deerness, which was near the airport.  I was caught out here as well, because I thought there might be a broch here, but no, it’s a different word.  A broch is a round stone tower from 500BC to 500AD and a brough is a headland or peninsula.  But having got to the Broough of Deerness I went for a walk.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Deerness, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel

This is the Gloup.  It is a Geo, a deep cleft in the cliffs.  It was once a sea cave but has mostly collapsed.  The sunlight on the water at the top is through a tunnel to the sea.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Deerness, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel

A view from the cliffs on the way to the Brough.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Deerness, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel

Sea cliffs and fog, near the brough.  The brough itself is almost an island and is off to the right from here.  There is a climb down the cliff and then a path up the cliff on the other side.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Deerness, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel

On top of the Brough is the remains of this ancient chapel.  It appears to have been a wooden structure before the arrival of the Vikings in the tenth century and was rebuilt in stone in the 11th or 12th century after the Vikings converted to Christianity.  We can see a stone altar against the back wall.  The chapel began to fall into disrepair from the 16th century but was a focus of devotion until the mid 19th century.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Deerness, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel

Nearby was a farm with hay bales all rolled up for the winter.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Deerness, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel

They have been making hay while the sun shines.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Deerness, History, Landscape, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel .