St Mary's Church, Burwick

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Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved. © Copyright and database right 2019.

General Details and Location

Name of Building
St Mary's Church
Other Name(s)
Planning Authority
Divisional Area
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
ND 44006 84259
Location Type
HS Reference No


Rectangular-plan, crowstep gabled church with simple crowstepped bellcote with bell at W gable. Harled rubble; timber-framed windows; mixture of Welsh and local slate to roof. Interior recast 1896; timber pews; panelled pulpit; memorial stones.

Ecclesiastical Building in use as such. Also historically known as the Lady Kirk. A good example of a late 18th Century Orcadian parish church. According to the Old Statistical Account this church was rebuilt in about 1790. It replaced an earlier church that is marked on Blaeu's Atlas of 1654. The church houses a rounded grey whin stone that is carved with 2 footprints and is believed to be a Pictish coronation stone. (Historic Environment Scotland List Entry)

Building Dates
Circa 1790

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
Field Visits
Development History
15 July 2013: Local planners nominate the building for the Register having made a site visit 22 March 2013. Desk-based assessment for inclusion on the Register made on the basis of information forwarded from Orkney Council. The church is thought to have last been used for regular worship around 1959, then used for occasional services until around 15-20 years ago. The building has lain vacant since. A lightening strike hit the church in February 2013 causing severe damage to the bell tower, roof and interior. Sections of the roof around the bell tower now have exposed sarking or holes on both elevations. The wallhead is also damaged. Debris from the roof has damaged some of the surrounding gravemarkers. The interior - panelling, pews and organ - has been badly damaged with birds and animals causing further, ongoing, damage. The building remains in its damaged condition and is not wind and watertight at this time. Added to the Register as At Risk.
11 September 2013: External inspection finds works are on site to repair the damaged slated roof to the West end of the building and potentially restore the bellcote. Other aspects of the build fabric remain in a poor condition. Moved to Restoration in Progress.
18 March 2014: Local planners advise the former church has been the subject of enforcement action with re-construction works to be completed by September.
15 July 2014: Listed Building Consent for the removal of the bellcote (in retrospect) is being sought ref: 14/263/LB.
15 July 2016: The Church of Scotland is marketing the property for sale, offers being invited. The sales particulars note Orkney Islands Council own the surrounding graveyard. The repairs previously noted have concluded, condition moved to Fair.
15 November 2016: The property is noted as now being under offer.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number
01856 873535


Current Availability
Not Available
Appointed Agents
Occupancy Type
Present/Former Uses
Name of Owners
Church of Scotland
Type of Ownership

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
Online Resources
Churches and Chapels
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit