On the 17th October 1866, the foundation stone of the Cathedral was laid by the Archbishop of Canterbury. This was to mark the beginning of the building of the Cathedral, only the second one to be built after the reformation. The plans for this new building had taken three years to get to the laying of the foundation stone. The architect, Alexander Ross who is renowned for this building and many other church buildings and much of the Victorian buildings in Inverness along with Bishop Eden had the vision and the dream to make this a reality.
The building continues to be central to the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness as the Mother Church as well as to the City of Inverness due to its prominent position on the banks of the River Ness.
The doors of the Cathedral are open 365 days of the year and welcome many people from our congregations and visitors from around the world to both services, to find some space to reflect and to pray or to light a candle but also a place to enjoy the vision of the both Bishop and Architect.
We aim to offer a warm welcome, to create a place for creative and high quality worship which honours the traditions of the church which has been handed to us over the millenia and tells of the glory and wonder of God. 2019 marks the 150th Anniversary of the first worship at the Cathedral on 1st September 1869, details of the services on that day can be read about here and is the year when we celebrate much to be thankful for, from those who have been before us but is also an opportunity to look towards the future of the life and work of the Cathedral and how we look to be a vibrant worshipping community offering a truly Highland welcome to all.
Inverness Cathedral is open 365 days of the year to welcome visitors both local and from around the world. Entry to the Cathedral is free, with the opportunity to make a donation at one of the donation points in the building. We have a contactless donation facility as well as for cash of all denominations. Your donation is much appreciated as this enables us to continue to keep the building open.
The Cathedral is open from 0730 – 2100 throughout the summer months and in the Spring, Autumn and Winter the Cathedral closes at 5pm or after the final service of the day.
The Cathedral is accessible by all, with an all access toilet facility available and a loop system for those who require this facility during services.
Within the grounds of the Cathedral is our Café & Shop, which is open Monday to Friday 0930 – 1600 and Saturday 1000 – 1500 from April to October and then from November to March, Monday to Friday 0930 – 1530. A range of coffee, cakes, home baking, homemade soups, sandwiches and toasted sandwiches and more are available. Our shop stocks a wide variety of gifts including Cathedral gifts, our own tartan scarves, shortbread, cards, jewellery and other gifts. Be sure to make this part of your visit to the Cathedral.
You may think that the Cathedral looks ‘new’ compared with the ancient Cathedrals in England and Europe- this is because, like most Scottish Episcopal Churches, it was built in the nineteenth century.
However the Scottish Episcopal Church dares back to the Roman occupation of Britain. The few medieval Scottish Cathedrals which escaped destruction are now used by the established Presbyterian Church, such as Dornoch Cathedral or Dunblane Cathedral for example. The Scottish Episcopal Church lost its legal recognition for supporting the Jacobite cause in the seventeenth century and in the eighteen century penal restrictions were imposed on its clergy and worship by a government who feared its adherence to the Jacobite succession.
This persecution had ended by the nineteenth century, but what was left was an impoverished church, with few members and none of its ancient buildings. Inverness Cathedral was built as a result of a ‘second spring’ in the Scottish Church in the middle of the nineteenth century.
This was the time of the revival of the Victorian Gothic revival in architecture, when something of the solid Victorian character was added to the lightness and grace of earlier centuries.
The Cathedral, and impressive example of this style of architecture, stands in a fine situation on the west bank of the River Ness nearly opposite the Castle.
The Building of the Cathedral
It was Bishop Eden who, in 1853, proposed that there should be a Cathedral of the Highlands in Inverness.
Dr Eden was elected Bishop of Moray and Ross in 1851 (the see of Caithness was added to his jurisdiction in 1864). During the 35 years he was Bishop there was a big upsurge in church membership and m any former congregations were re-established.
The foundation stone was laid by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 1866, and the Cathedral was opened for services in 1869. At the time a debt of £8,000 remained on the building and it was not until it was paid off in the middle of 1874 that the Cathedral could be finally consecrated.
The architect, Alexander Ross, practiced in Inverness for over seventy years and was Provost of the Burgh from 1889-1895. He was also architect of several other churches in the Diocese and of many secular buildings, including Skibo Castle in Sutherland. This was the first Cathedral to be completely built and consecrated in Great Britain since the reformation.
In 1971, the building was included in the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest.
We work closely with the following organisations:
Scottish Episcopal Church – https://www.scotland.anglican.org/ The Provincial Website of the denomination to which the Cathedral is a part of.
Diocese of Moray, Ross & Caithness – https://morayepiscopalchurch.scot/ The Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness- more details about the Diocese and other churches within the Diocese can be found here.
Anglican Communion – https://www.anglicancommunion.org/ The Scottish Episcopal Church is part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion- their website has more information about the Anglican Communion and news from around the world.