The Church in the Orkney Earldom

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This paper discusses the relationships between churches and secular power centres within the Earldom of Orkney from the eleventh to the thirteenth century. Parish churches and chapels in Orkney were closely linked to the estates of the earls and this paper uses landscape analysis to place the churches within their settlement contexts. Several of the best-evidenced churches are discussed using archaeological, onomastic and written evidence. Following this, the crux of the paper discusses the development of the parish churches and the impact of the Earls, the chief men of Orkney and the bishop on this dramatic change to the ecclesiastical and secular landscape of Orkney. Comparison is made between the development of the church in Orkney and Iceland as well as the broader European context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom Nature to Script
Subtitle of host publicationReykholt, Environment, Centre and Manuscript Making
EditorsHelgi Þorláksson, Þóra Björg Sigurðardóttir
Place of PublicationReykholt
PublisherReykholt: Snorrastofa Cultural and Medieval Centre
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)978-9979-9649-6-4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameSnorrastofa (Series)
PublisherReykholt: Snorrastofa Cultural and Medieval Centre


  • church history
  • Historical Archaeology
  • Orkney
  • Scandinavia
  • Medieval


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