St Magnus, Birsay

St Magnus, Birsay

Denomination: Non-denominational
Address:  Palace, Birsay , KW17 2LX
Local Authority: Orkney
Listing: B


Church Overview

The original church was built by Earl Thorfinn c.1060 and has been altered and restored several times, most recently in 1986. Seventeenth-century belfry.

The stained glass window in the east gable was designed by Loveday McPherson and made in 1904 by Alex Strachan showing scenes from the life of St Magnus. New stained glass window in the vestibule was commissioned by the Trust in 2013 and made by Shona McInnes with images reflecting the church’s place in the community. Small picture gallery. 

Inside the church are two 16th- and 17th-century tombstones. The Mons Bellus stone is probably from the nearby Bishop’s Palace. The church is now maintained by the St Magnus Church Birsay Trust.


Occasional services, details locally

Opening Arrangements

Summer 9am – 6pm, Autumn 10am – 4pm. When church is not open, key available at Palace Stores

Guide book available no toilets, wheelchair access by arrangement

Image Gallery

Click image to open gallery.

St Magnus, Birsay


The information about churches in Scotland’s Churches Scheme has been provided by the congregations or taken from the Historic Scotland list and published sources, in particular, the Buildings of Scotland volumes and the RIAS Illustrated Architectural Guides. To contact this specific church please complete the Contact this Church form above. The information is not authoritative; please contact Scotland’s Churches Trust to let us know of any errors or omissions.