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Publication Account

Date 1981

Event ID 1018472

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


The Palace was built by Earl Patrick in the opening years of the seventeenth century and is 'not only the finest secular building in Orkney', it is 'possibly the most mature and accomplished piece of Renaissance architecture left in Scotland' (RCAM, 1946, II, 142). It stands to the south of the Cathedral and is in close proximity to the Bishop's Palace. The history of the construction of the Earl's Palace is a bitter one, for it was built with forced labour and pillaged goods provided some of the ornamentation. Shortly after it was built (though it was never fully completed), the Earl handed over the structure to Bishop Law. At that time, the Palace was known as the 'Newark of the Yards' to distinguish it from the older episcopal residence known as the 'Palace of the Yards' (RCAM, 1946, II, 142). The last ecclesiastic who is said to have resided in it was Bishop MacKenzie 1677-88 (RCAM, 1946, II, 142). The building, with its fine oriel windows, fell into disrepair after the roof was sold by the Town Council in the eighteenth century.

Information from ‘Historic Kirkwall: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1977).

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