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Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

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Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

Kirkwall is the biggest town and capital of the Orkney Islands, off the coast of northern mainland Scotland. The town is first mentioned in Orkneyinga saga in the year 1046 when it is recorded as the residence of Rögnvald Brusason the Earl of Orkney, who was killed by his uncle Thorfinn the Mighty. In 1486, King James III of Scotland elevated Kirkwall to the status of a royal burgh; modern roadsigns still indicate "The City and Royal Burgh of Kirkwall".
Post townKirkwall
Administrative CountyOrkney Islands
Traditional CountyOrkney
OS GridHY4510
OS Settlement ClassificationTown
Police AuthorityNorthern Scotland
Fire and Rescue AuthorityHighlands and Islands
Fire and Rescue AuthorityHighlands and Islands
Ambulance AuthorityScottish
Dialling code01856

Other names by which Kirkwall, Orkney Islands has been known in the past

Kirkjuvagr ~ Kirkwale ~ Kirkwall and St Ola

Kirkwall, Orkney Islands in John Bartholomew's "Gazetteer of the British Isles" (1887)

Kirkwall, parl. and royal burgh, seaport, and co. town of Orkney, Kirkwall and St Ola par., Mainland, at head of Kirkwall Bay, 51 miles N. of Wick, which is 742½ miles NW. of London by rail--parl. burgh, pop. 3923; royal burgh, pop. 2613; town, pop. 3947; P.O., T.O., 4 Banks, 4 newspapers. The cathedral of Kirkwall (1137), dedicated to St Magnus, the patron saint of Orkney, is one of the three old cathedrals of Scotland that remain in nearly perfect condition. The choir is used as the parish church. Adjoining the cathedral are the remains of the bishop's palace, where Haco King of Norway died in 1263, and the ruins of the earl's palace (about 1600), the hall of which figures in Scott's Pirate. The last remains of the old royal Castle of Kirkwall, a fortress of great strength and antiquity, were removed in 1865. To the E. of the harbour are the remains of a fort erected by Cromwell. Kirkwall has steam communication with Lerwick, and with Leith, by Wick and Aberdeen. The harbour, which has been much improved, is secure and commodious, and the trade, foreign and coasting, is considerable. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) Kirkwall was made a royal burgh by James III. in 1486. It is one of the Wick District of Parliamentary Burghs, which returns 1 member.

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