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Residence spiritual and temporalKirkwall is the capital of Orkney. For centuries it was the capital of the Norse-held Nordreyjar – the Northern Isles. But that ended in 1469 when Christian I of Norway failed to pay the dowry promised to his son-in-law, James III of Scotland; James called in the debt by assuming sovereignty of Orkney and Shetland.
The Bishop’s PalaceThe Bishop’s Palace was built around the same time as St Magnus’s Cathedral, in the early 12th century. The builder may well have been Bishop William ‘the Old’ (d.1168), crusader and friend of Earl Rognvald, St Magnus’s nephew and patron of the new cathedral.
The Earl’s PalaceThe Earl’s Palace was built around 1606 by Patrick, Earl of Orkney. Known as ‘Black Patie’, the tyrannical Patrick ruled the Northern Isles with an iron fist from 1592 until his execution 23 years later. It was declared at his trial that he used slave labour to build his residences.