The Bishop of Orkney was the ecclesiastical head of the Diocese of Orkney, one of thirteen medieval bishoprics of Scotland. It included both Orkney and Shetland. It was based for almost all of its history at St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall.
The bishopric appears to have been suffragan of the Archbishop of York (with intermittent control exercised by the Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen) until the creation of the Archbishopric of Trondheim ( Niðaros ) in 1152. Although Orkney itself did not unite with mainland Scotland until 1468, the Scottish kings and political community had been pushing for control of the islands for centuries. The see, however, remained under the nominal control of Trondheim until the creation of the Archbishopric of St Andrews in 1472, when it became for the first time an officially Scottish bishopric.
The Bishopric's links with Rome ceased to exist after the Scottish Reformation. The bishopric continued, saving temporary abolition between 1638 and 1661, under the episcopal Church of Scotland until the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Episcopacy in the established church in Scotland was permanently abolished in 1689, but a Scottish Episcopal Church bishopric encompassing Orkney was created in 1865, as the Bishopric of Aberdeen and Orkney. In 1878, the Catholic Church in Scotland re-established the bishopric system, and Orkney came under the resurrected and reformatted Diocese of Aberdeen.
|Bishops of Orkney|
|1035 (?)||?||Henry of Lund||Keeper of the treasury of King Cnut; probably the latter's appointee. Name unusual for an Englishman; may have been a German or a Frenchman.|
|fl. 1043–1072||Thorulf of Orkney||Sent as bishop by Archbishop Adalbert of Hamburg.|
|fl. 1043–1072||John (I)||Appointee of the Archbishop of Bremen. Perhaps the same as Johannes Scotus, bishop of Glasgow.|
|fl. 1043–1072||Adalbert||Sent as bishop to Iceland, Greenland and Orkney, by Adalbert, Archbishop of Hamburg.|
|1109||1114–1147||Radulf Novell||He was consecrated by Thomas, Archbishop of York. There is no evidence that Radulf ever took possession of his see, nor that he ever visited Orkney. Subordinate of the Archbishop of York. Served as the vicar of the Bishop of Durham.|
|c. 1112–1168||William the Old (I)|
|1188||1194–1223||Bjarni Kolbeinsson Skald|
|1223||1224–1246||Jofreyrr||Jofreyrr is Godfrey.|
|1384||1394||John(II)||The Roman bishop. He was elected by the cathedral chapter. His election was declared null and void by Pope Urban VI, but the latter provided him to the see in 1384. Pope Boniface IX translated him to the Bishopric of Garðar, Greenland.|
|1383||1391||Robert Sinclair||The Avignon bishop, in contrast to John, the candidate of the Roman Pope. The doubling of bishops was a product of the Western Schism. His election drew hesitancy from the Avignon Pope Clement VII, but had been confirmed by 27 January 1384. He was translated to the Bishopric of Dunkeld sometime before March 1391.|
|1394||Henry(II or III)||Second Roman bishop. Previously Bishop of Greenland, he exchanged bishoprics with Bishop John.|
|1396||1397–1418||John Pak||The third Roman bishop of the Western Schism. He had been a monk of Colchester. He appears as "Johannes Anglus, bishop of Orkney" in the Union Treaty of Kalmar.|
|1398||1407–1414||Alexander Vaus||Second Avignon bishop. Provided by Pope Benedict XIII, but was not consecrated within the canonical time. He was translated to the Bishopric of Caithness in 1414.|
|1415||1419||William Stephani||Third Avignon bishop, provided by Pope Benedict XIII. He was translated to the Bishopric of Dunblane in 1419.|
|1418||1461||Thomas Tulloch||Fourth Roman bishop. He was accepted by both sides after the recognition of the "Roman" Popes by the Scottish king.|
|1477||1503–1506||Andrew Pictoris||It is not known what Andrew's surname was. Scottish historians have assumed, wrongly, that he was a Scot called Painter. Andrew was German, and his illegitimate son was called Henry Phankouth.|
|1503–1506||1524–1525||Edward Stewart||Coadjutor since 1498–1500.|
|1541||1558||Robert Reid||O. Cist.|
|1559||1593||Adam Bothwell||He became a Protestant, and in 1568 exchanged the temporalities of the see (which went to Robert Stewart, 1st Earl of Orkney) for Holyrood Abbey. He died in 1593, still styling himself "Bischop of Orkney, Commendatair of Halyrudhous". He was an uncle of the mathematician John Napier.|
|1605||1615||James Law||Became Archbishop of Glasgow.|
|1615||1638||George Graham||Translated from Bishopric of Dunblane.|
|1638||1662||Between 1638 and the Restoration, Episcopacy in Scotland was temporarily abolished.|
|1662||1663||Thomas Sydserf||Translated from Bishopric of Galloway.|
|1664||1676||Andrew Honeyman or Honyman|
|1677||1688||Murdoch MacKenzie||Translated from the Bishopric of Moray.|
|1688||1688||Andrew Bruce||Episcopacy abolished in Scotland. Bruce died in 1700.|
Orkney, also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the island of Great Britain. Orkney is 10 miles (16 km) north of the coast of Caithness and has about 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited. The largest island, Mainland, is often referred to as "the Mainland", and has an area of 523 square kilometres (202 sq mi), making it the sixth-largest Scottish island and the tenth-largest island in the British Isles. Orkney’s largest settlement, and also its administrative centre, is Kirkwall.
Stronsay is an island in Orkney, Scotland. It is known as Orkney's 'Island of Bays', owing to an irregular shape with miles of coastline, with three large bays separated by two isthmuses: St Catherine's Bay to the west, the Bay of Holland to the south and Mill Bay to the east. Stronsay is 3,275 hectares in area, and 44 metres in altitude at its highest point. It has a usually resident population of 349. The main village is Whitehall, home to a heritage centre.
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