Elgin Cathedral, Moray

Ink and wash on paper, 1826
William Clark

RCAHMS: RIAS Collection

Although now only a shattered ruin of its former splendor, Elgin remains one of the most impressive of Scottish medieval cathedrals. The earliest parts of the present building date from the thirteenth century, following the establishment of Elgin as the centre of the diocese of Moray. Ironically, the best known episode in its history is its burning by Alexander Stewart, the Wolf of Badenoch, in 1390, following a dispute with the bishop.

The cathedral fell into decay after the Reformation, and its central tower collapsed in 1711, demolishing much of the central portion of the building. However, this decay was checked by the growth of romantic antiquarian sensitivity. In the foreground the first custodian of the ruins, John Shanks, who cleared the site of rubble and rubbish, points out features of interest to a visitor. The cathedral is now in the care of Historic Scotland.