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The ancient ruin of St Olaf's Kirk, Unst Shetland. SCO 7505

The ancient ruin of St Olaf's Kirk, Unst Shetland. SCO 7505 Stock Photo

Image details


David Gowans / Alamy Stock Photo

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File size:

65 MB (3.1 MB Compressed download)


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3887 x 5843 px | 32.9 x 49.5 cm | 13 x 19.5 inches | 300dpi

Date taken:

16 June 2011


St Olaf's Kirk, Unst, Shetland. Scotland. United Kingdom

More information:

The ruins of St Olaf's Church (HP566041) at Lunda Wick, represent the sole example of simple rectangular medieval churches of Unst. Surviving in recognizable form it occupies the classic situation on the shore overlooking the sheltered bay on the west coast of the island. The oldest parts remain in the east of the building which was rebuilt on the original foundations while the rest of the building dates back to the 12th century. It shows the typical small windows and a semi-circular arched doorway in the west gable. The building has an early Christian symbol of a fish carved on a lintel and there is also a leper's window. The church itself went out of use in the 18th century but the kirkyard is still in use as a burial ground. Work started in 2007 to extend the burial area and build stone perimeter walls. The church is presently fenced off and has 'dangerous building', 'do not enter' notices posted. On August 29th 2007 it was revealed work costing an estimated £500,000 may be necessary in an attempt to stabilise the structure, and hopefully prevent likely early collapse. The former importance of the church is well documented by two 16th century tombstones. Inscribed in Low German they commemorate Segelbad Detken (1573) and Hinrick Segelcken (1585), two hanseatic merchants from Bremen trading from their booths on Unst. Inside the ruin there are several graves - in an fenced enclosure inside are the graves of some of the Mouats of Garth, including Thomas Mouat (1748 - 1819) the builder of Belmont House.

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