Universalis

Monday, 8 November 2010

Orkney Islands - 5

Here is the impressive interior of St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall.



The first design of St Magnus Cathedral was influenced by Durham Cathedral and Dunfermline Abbey. This original design was of a cruciform church with apsed chapels at the eastern ends of the choir and both transepts.

The original design called for vaulted aisles in the choir and nave, and a tower over the crossing. The arcading of the aisles would consist of circular piers and arches that would support a triforium level, and above that a clerestory level.

By the 1150s the choir was completed, the transepts had been constructed to triforium level, and the crossing and nave were less than half complete. After the deaths of Earl Rognvald and Bishop William, work stopped until the late twelfth century.

When Bjarni Kolbeinsson became bishop in 1188 he introduced design changes. The choir would be doubled in size, the crossing rebuilt and a massive tower and steeple constructed. New square chaples would be built in the transepts and the nave would be extended and furnished.

When Bjarni died in 1223 the transepts, chapels, and crossing arches were complete. The nave was complete to triforium level up to the sixth bay and there was a gap to the three completed

By the episcopate of Bishop Henry the Cathedral was fully completed up to the sixth bay of the nave. The west end of the nave and the west fa├žade were not completed until the fifteenth or later sixteenth century.

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