St Magnus the Martyr
The church is dedicated to St Magnus the Martyr, earl of Orkney, who died on 16 April 1118. He was executed on the island of Egilsay having been captured during a power struggle with his cousin, a political rival. Magnus had a reputation for piety and gentleness and was canonised in 1135. The interior was made to look more European by the removal of the old box pews and the installation of new pews with cut-down ends. Two new columns were inserted in the nave to make the lines regular. The organ case, which remains in its original state, is looked upon as one of the finest existing examples of the Grinling Gibbons's school of wood carving. Magnus had a reputation for piety and gentleness and was canonised in 1135. St. Ronald, the son of Magnus's sister Gunhild Erlendsdotter, became Earl of Orkney in 1136 and in 1137 initiated the construction of St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.