Ancient Monuments

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St Olaf's Church, remains of church, Kirk Loch, North Yell

A Scheduled Monument in North Isles, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.7236 / 60°43'25"N

Longitude: -1.0266 / 1°1'35"W

OS Eastings: 453203

OS Northings: 1204896

OS Grid: HP532048

Mapcode National: GBR R0TD.G6R

Mapcode Global: XHF79.1QXG

Entry Name: St Olaf's Church, remains of church, Kirk Loch, North Yell

Scheduled Date: 15 December 1953

Last Amended: 16 October 1997

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2098

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Yell

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises the remains of the church of St Olaf, which served North Yell until about 1750. The church was probably built in the middle decades of the fourteenth century.

The church survives in the form of the much-reduced walls, showing an E-W orientation and a simple rectangular nave with an almost square chancel. The external dimensions are approximately 12.5m by 6.5m. The walls of the chancel are rather better preserved than the remainder of the structure. The only original architectural details now evident are two narrow splayed windows at the extreme E end of the chancel side walls and two recesses in the internal chancel wall faces, one beside each window. Continued use of the burial ground has built up soil levels so that the floor of the church is now at least 1.2m below the general ground level within the burial ground. As a result, a new access down into the floor of the church has been provided at some time after the church fell into disrepair.

The church was scheduled in 1953, but the map accompanying the scheduling did not match the verbal description, hence this rescheduling, which redefines (and reduces) the area to be protected to the remains of the church and an area around extending 1.25m out from the outer wall face all around, giving a rectangular area 15m E-W by 9m, aligned from just N of E to just S of W, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an example of a simple rural parish church of the fourteenth century, and has the potential to provide information about ecclesiastical architecture and parish organisation at the period when Norwegian Shetland was beginning to come under Scottish influence.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded in the RCAHMS as HP 50 SW 1.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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