This old church has a rich history related to Orkney's Viking sagas.

Magnus is a name very much at the heart of Orkney's Norse heritage, and the St Magnus Church in Birsay, in the West Mainland, is at the centre of the story.

The current church stands on the site of a much older version, one that was in existence long before St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall. According to the Birsay Heritage Trust, the St Magnus Church was built on the site of the original Christchurch constructed by Earl Thorfinn in the early 1000s.

After the murder of Magnus in Egilsay in 1117, his body was brought to Christchurch for burial. Soon there were stories of visions and miracles surrounding his grave. He was officially declared a saint before his remains were eventually moved to St Magnus Cathedral, built in his honour in Kirkwall.

The current church was restored in the 1980s and the beautiful east window honours the life of St Magnus. You can visit for free most days, particularly during the summer months, between 9am and 5pm, with the doors usually open and access available.