The browser you are using is out of date and is no longer supported. To view and use this site correctly, please update your browser to the latest version.

We're changing

We have created a new public body, Historic Environment Scotland. While we work on shaping our future we can reassure you that all services and products will continue as normal. Please follow our progress and find out more about our new organisation.


A year of great days out.

Become a member

Become a member

Explorer Pass

Save money, see the best!

Explorer Passes

Buy an explorer pass

Eynhallow Church

Ruined 12th-century monastic church

Eynhallow Church

The place name Eynhallow derives from the Old Norse Eyin-Helga, meaning ‘Holy Isle’. The island is now uninhabited, but in the 1300s it was probably the home of a monastery.

The Orkneyinga Saga relates how the foster-son of the great Kolbein Hruga of Wyre, the builder of Cubbie Row’s Castle, was kidnapped from Eynhallow in 1155. It is likely that the youth had been sent there to be educated by the monks.  

A hidden gem
The 12th-century monastic church on Eynhallow is a hidden gem. Its existence only came to light by chance in 1851, when the residents of four cottages on the island caught a fever and were evacuated. As the roofs were being dismantled to make the cottages uninhabitable, the structure of the ancient church was discovered.  

The church consisted of a porch at the west end, a rectangular nave, and a square-ended chancel at the east end. Much of what visitors see today belongs to a house built in the 1500s, but parts of the original Norse kirk are visible in the porch walls, the west and east gables of the nave and the lower section of the inner face of the chancel walls.

The west and north doorways into the porch are close to their original, narrow form. The entrance to the nave was through a rounded archway.  

  • The church’s location – on an uninhabited island, with just seals and seabirds for company.


Region – Orkney

Opening arrangements
Admission prices

Events at Eynhallow Church

<< May 2016 >>
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

6 May 2016

Weaving the Unicorn exhibition

Stirling Castle

Event information

David Roberts Exhibition

Duff House

Event information

Kaleidoscope II

Duff House

Event information