Dornoch - Encyclopedia




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DORNOCH, a royal and police burgh and county town of Sutherlandshire, Scotland. Pop. (1901) 624. It lies on the north shore of Dornoch Firth, an arm of the North Sea, 74 m. S.S.E. of Mound station on the Highland railway by light railway. Its dry and bracing climate and fine golf course have brought it into great repute as a health and holiday resort. Before the Reformation it was the see of the bishopric of Caithness and Sutherland. The cathedral, built by Bishop Gilbert de Moravia (Moray) (d. 1245), the last Scot enrolled in the Calendar of Scottish saints, was damaged by fire in 1570, during the raid of the Master of Caithness and Mackay of Strathnaver, and afterwards neglected till 1837, when it was restored by the 2nd duke of Sutherland, and has since been used as the parish church. Noticeable for its high roof, low tower and dwarf spire, the church consists of an aisleless nave, chancel (adorned with Chantrey's statue of the 1st duke) and transepts. It is the burying-place of the Sutherland. family and contains the remains of sixteen earls. Of the ancient castle, which was also the bishop's palace, only the west tower exists, the rest of the structure having been destroyed in the outrage of 1570. The county buildings adjoin it. Dornoch became a royal burgh in 1628, and, as one of the Wick burghs, returns a member to parliament. It was the scene of the last execution for witchcraft in Scotland (1722). At Embo, 2 M. N.N.E., a sculptured stone commemorates the battle with the Danes in the 13th century, in which Richard de Moravia was killed. He was buried in the cathedral, where his effigy was found in the chancel. Skibo castle, about 4 m. W. of Dornoch, once a residence of the bishops of Caithness, was acquired in 1898 by Andrew Carnegie.

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