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Cubbie Row's Castle And St Mary's Chapel

Probably one of the earliest stone castles to survive in Scotland

Cubbie Row's Castle And St Mary's Chapel

Cubbie Row's Castle
The castle is probably one of the earliest stone castles to survive in Scotland, built in about 1145 by the Norseman Kolbein Hruga. It is a small rectangular tower enclosed in a circular ditch.

St Mary's Chapel
This small church was built in the later 1100s by the lord of Cubbie Row’s Castle. The great Kolbein Hruga (colloquially known as Cubbie Row or Roo) built the castle before 1150. It may well have been his son, Bjarni, who erected the church and dedicated it to St Mary the Virgin. Bjarni was to become bishop of Orkney.

The church comprises a rectangular nave and a square-ended chancel, with an arch between the two. Two lintelled windows also survive, as does some of the plaster on the walls. The building was in ruins by the late 1700s.

  • The church’s appearance – a simple Romanesque structure in a tranquil island setting.


Region – Orkney

On the island of Wyre 0.5m from pier. Reached using Orkney Ferries Ltd from Kirkwall, tel: 01856 872044.

Grid reference - HY 442 264.


Tel: 01856 841815 (Skara Brae)