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Dunblane Cathedral
Cathedral Church of St Blaan and St Laurence
Dunblane Cathedral 2017.jpg
Dunblane Cathedral in 2017
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Country United Kingdom
Denomination Church of Scotland
Previous denomination Roman Catholic
Status Parish church
Founded c. 7th century (site)
Founder(s) Saint Blane
Functional status Active
Architect(s) Robert Rowand Anderson (restoration)
Style Gothic (mostly)
Years built 11th to 15th century
1889 (restoration)
Number of towers 1
Tower height Six storeys
Presbytery Stirling

Dunblane Cathedral is the larger of the two Church of Scotland parish churches serving Dunblane, near the city of Stirling, in central Scotland.

The lower half of the tower is pre-Romanesque from the 11th century, and was originally free-standing, with an upper part added in the 15th century. Most of the rest of the building is Gothic, from the 13th century. The building was restored by Rowand Anderson from 1889–93.


The Cathedral was once the seat of the bishops of Dunblane (also sometimes called 'of Strathearn'), until the abolition of bishops after the Glorious Revolution in 1689. There are remains of the vaults of the episcopal palace to the south of the cathedral. Technically, it is no longer a cathedral, as there are no bishops in the Church of Scotland, which is a Presbyterian denomination. After the abolition of prelacy, the choir became the parish church but the nave fell out of use, and its roof had fallen in by about 1600.

It contains the graves of Margaret Drummond of Stobhall, a mistress of King James IV of Scotland and her two sisters, all said to have been poisoned.

Unusually, the building is owned by the Crown, and is looked after by Historic Scotland rather than the church governance; there is no entrance charge.

The building is largely 13th century in date, though it incorporates an originally freestanding bell-tower (like the example at Muthill) of 11th century date on its south side. This tower was increased in height in the 15th century, a change clearly visible in the colour of the stonework, and in the late Gothic style of the upper storey's windows.

The choir is unaisled, but has a long vaulted chamber which served as chapter house and sacristy on its north side. The choir contains the mural tomb of the Cathedral's founder, Bishop Clement. Many of the 15th century choir stalls, which have carved misericords (including one with an unusual depiction of a bat) are preserved within the choir. Further, more elaborate, canopied stalls are preserved at the west end of the nave. Dunblane has the largest surviving collection of medieval Scottish ecclesiastical woodwork after King's College Chapel, Aberdeen. Some detached fragments are displayed in the town's museum.

The cathedral was restored in the late 19th century under the control of Rev Alexander Ritchie DD, who commissioned architect Robert Rowand Anderson to oversee the works, with these works completed by Sir Robert Lorimer in 1912.


Preserved within the arcaded nave are two early Christian stones, a cross-slab and a possible architectural frieze, survivals from an early medieval church on the same site, founded by or dedicated to the 'Blane' whose name is commemorated in the name of the town.

Dunblane Cathedral churchyard contains two war graves, including that of William Stirling, a gunner in the Royal Marine Artillery during World War I.

Monuments of interest

  • Bishop Clement of Dunblane (d.1258)
  • Rev James Finlayson DD (1758-1808)
  • Sir David Russell (1809-1884)
  • James Stirling (mathematician) (1690-1770) and the Stirlings of Garden
  • John Stirling of Kippendavie (d.1812) by Peter Turnerelli
  • Jane Stirling (1804-1859) daughter of the above

Dunblane Commemoration

In the nave of the Cathedral is a standing stone by the monumental sculptor Richard Kindersley which commemorates the events of 13 March 1996 – the Dunblane Massacre. The quotations on the stone are by E. V. Rieu ("He called a little child to him..."), Richard Henry Stoddard ("...the spirit of a little child"), Bayard Taylor ("But still I dream that somewhere there must be The spirit of a child that waits for me") and W. H. Auden ("We are linked as children in a circle dancing").

Other churches in Dunblane

Dunblane Cathedral is one of at least seven churches in the town. The others are St Blane's (another Church of Scotland congregation, named after the town's founder), St Mary's (a Scottish Episcopal Church congregation), the Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the Holy Family, the Quaker Meeting House, the (independent Evangelical) Dunblane Christian Fellowship, and the Eastern Orthodox parish dedicated to Saint Nicholas; unusually, this Orthodox community is Old Calendarist and thus comes directly under the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate rather than the nearest Orthodox bishop.


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