Dunblane Cathedral

Dunblane Cathedral is the larger of the two Church of Scotland parish churches serving Dunblane, near the city of Stirling, in central Scotland.

Dunblane Cathedral
Cathedral Church of St Blaan and St Laurence
Dunblane Cathedral in 2017
Dunblane Cathedral
CountryUnited Kingdom
DenominationChurch of Scotland
Previous denominationRoman Catholic
StatusParish church
Foundedc. 7th century (site)
Founder(s)Saint Blane
Functional statusActive
Architect(s)Robert Rowand Anderson (restoration)
StyleGothic (mostly)
Years built11th to 15th century
1889 (restoration)
Number of towers1
Tower heightSix storeys[1]
Minister(s)The Rev. Colin C. Renwick[2]
Director of musicKevin Duggan[2]
Listed Building – Category A
Official name: Cathedral Square, Dunblane Cathedral (Cathedral Church of St Blaan and St Laurence including churchyard, boundary wall and Riccarton's site)
Designated5 October 1971
Reference no.LB26361
Official name: Dunblane Cathedral
Designated30 November 1981
Reference no.SM90109

The lower half of the tower is pre-Romanesque from the 11th century, and was originally free-standing, with an upper part added in the 15th century. Most of the rest of the building is Gothic, from the 13th century. The building was restored by Rowand Anderson from 1889–93.[3]


The Cathedral was once the seat of the bishops of Dunblane (also sometimes called 'of Strathearn'), until the abolition of bishops after the Scottish Reformation. There are remains of the vaults of the episcopal palace to the south of the cathedral. Technically, it is no longer a cathedral, as there are no bishops in the Church of Scotland, which is a Presbyterian denomination. William Chisholm, the last Catholic bishop of Dunblane, later became bishop of Vaison in France. After the Reformation, the choir became the parish church but the nave fell out of use, and its roof had fallen in by about 1600.

It contains the graves of Margaret Drummond of Stobhall, a mistress of King James IV of Scotland and her two sisters, all said to have been poisoned.

Unusually, the building is owned by the Crown, and is looked after by Historic Scotland rather than the church governance; there is no entrance charge.

The building is largely 13th century in date, though it incorporates an originally freestanding bell-tower (like the example at Muthill) of 11th century date on its south side. This tower was increased in height in the 15th century, a change clearly visible in the colour of the stonework, and in the late Gothic style of the upper storey's windows.

The choir is unaisled, but has a long vaulted chamber which served as chapter house and sacristy on its north side. The choir contains the mural tomb of the Cathedral's founder, Bishop Clement. Many of the 15th century choir stalls, which have carved misericords (including one with an unusual depiction of a bat) are preserved within the choir. Further, more elaborate, canopied stalls are preserved at the west end of the nave. Dunblane has the largest surviving collection of medieval Scottish ecclesiastical woodwork after King's College Chapel, Aberdeen. Some detached fragments are displayed in the town's museum.

The cathedral was restored in the late 19th century under the control of Rev Alexander Ritchie DD, who commissioned architect Robert Rowand Anderson to oversee the works, with these works completed by Sir Robert Lorimer in 1912.[4]


Preserved within the arcaded nave are two early Christian stones, a cross-slab and a possible architectural frieze, survivals from an early medieval church on the same site, founded by or dedicated to the 'Blane' whose name is commemorated in the name of the town.

Dunblane Cathedral churchyard contains two war graves, including that of William Stirling, a gunner in the Royal Marine Artillery during World War I.[5]

Monuments of interest

Dunblane Commemoration

In the nave of the Cathedral is a standing stone by the monumental sculptor Richard Kindersley which commemorates the events of 13 March 1996 – the Dunblane Massacre. The quotations on the stone are by E. V. Rieu ("He called a little child to him..."), Richard Henry Stoddard ("...the spirit of a little child"), Bayard Taylor ("But still I dream that somewhere there must be The spirit of a child that waits for me") and W. H. Auden ("We are linked as children in a circle dancing").

Other churches in Dunblane

Dunblane Cathedral is one of at least seven churches in the town. The others are St Blane's (another Church of Scotland congregation, named after the town's founder), St Mary's (a Scottish Episcopal Church congregation), the Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the Holy Family, the Quaker Meeting House, the (independent Evangelical) Dunblane Christian Fellowship, and the Eastern Orthodox parish dedicated to Saint Nicholas; unusually, this Orthodox community is Old Calendarist and thus comes directly under the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate rather than the nearest Orthodox bishop.[6]

Notable people and events

Ministers and clergy
  • In April 2015, tennis player and Dunblane native Andy Murray returned to his hometown to marry his long-term partner Kim Sears in a private service at the Cathedral.[7]

See also


  1. "The Tower". Dunblanecathedral.org.uk.
  2. "Important Church Contacts". Dunblanecathedral.org.uk.
  3. "Dunblane Cathedral – Overview". Edinburgh: Historic Scotland. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  4. Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Robert Lorimer
  5. "Gunner STIRLING, WILLIAM". Cwgc.org. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  6. "Orthodox Community, Dunblane". Orthodoxchurchdunblane.org.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  7. "Andy Murray marries girlfriend Kim Sears in Dunblane". BBC. 11 April 2015.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.