St Machar's Cathedral



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Machar was a follower of St Columba, who established a church hereabouts in AD 580. The Normans later built a cathedral on the site, which was rebuilt in the 13th century as a fortified church, and extended over the following centuries. During the Reformation it lost its cathedral status, and technically it is a cathedral today only in name – properly the Cathedral Church of St Machar. Note the signs of fortification, which include battlemented towers, narrow windows and a porch that has the feel of a gatehouse. Inside, look up to admire the heraldic devices on the wooden ceiling of the nave, which date back to the 16th century. Modern engraved wooden panels by Roland Fraser recall the life of John Barbour (d.1395), archdeacon of Aberdeen, whose poem The Brus, written in Scottish dialect, has given him the title ‘father of Scots literature’.

St Machar's Cathedral
18 The Chanonry, ABERDEEN, AB24 1RQ


  • Parking nearby
  • Facilities: Induction loop, wheelchair, disabled car parking spaces at front of cathedral
Opening times
  • Open all year
  • Opening Times: Open all year, daily; Apr–Oct 9.30-4.30; Nov–Mar 10–4

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