Hoy Kirk

The Hoy Kirk as it stands today was built in 1891-2.

‘The old church was built in 1780. Having become delapidated a new one was built and opened in February, 1892. A manse was built in 1798, and in 1841 was said to be in good condition’.

J. Smith  Annals of the Church of Scotland in Orkney 1913

The pulpit boasts an unusual provenance, the panels are reputed to have come from a Spanish Armada wreck, although the carved date is later. The  date 1624 and initials H.M.S  are said to belong to the minister of the time.

‘There is, by the way, said to be a very fine oak pulpit in Hoy Church, which, according to tradition, is composed of oak obtained from the wreck of a Spanish man-of-war’.

John R Tudor The Orkneys and Shetland 1883

The cross above the pulpit is carved from wood which came from the wreck of HMS Vanguard.  In 1917, over 800 lives were tragically lost when HMS Vanguard suffered an internal explosion while she was anchored off Flotta. The cross was made by the late Harry Berry, local artist and Custom and Excise Officer. Harry Berry also made the grave for Betty Corrigall.


The pulpit is now at the back of the kirk and the building is used by the community for a variety of purposes – dancing, concerts, wedding receptions, meetings and soon a heritage centre. The building is managed by the Friends of Hoy Kirk.

You can hire Hoy Kirk for your event, contact us here

‘Here the scenery is more Highland in character than anywhere else in Orkney, and may well be termed awe-inspiring and grand. Over all towers the mighty mass of the Ward Hill of Hoy, 1,565 feet in height. It is the highest hill in Orkney, and rises so abruptly that its eastern face seems one immense scree that threatens to overwhelm the little crofts and houses nestling at its foot’.

Dr Hugh Marwick Orkney, The County Book Series 1951

1 thought on “Hoy Kirk

  1. Susan Griffiths

    I am trying to trace Donald Johnston Mackinnon who attended Cardiff university about 45 years ago. I understand that a Donald Mackinnon is /was part of your organization. If this is the right Donald, could you please give him my email. We are very old friends. thank you.


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