Man in court following St Magnus Cathedral vandalism

St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall dates from the 12th century. Picture: Wikicommons
St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall dates from the 12th century. Picture: Wikicommons
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An historic cathedral was forced to hold its annual Remembrance Sunday service with boarded-up windows after being damaged during a break-in.

St Magnus Cathedral, which dominates the skyline of Kirkwall in Orkney, was vandalised during the early hours of Saturday morning.

A 19-year-old man appeared from custody at Kirkwall Sheriff Court on Monday in connection with the incident. Anton Rodwell, who appeared in private, is alleged to have committed various acts of vandalism and attempted break-ins in Kirkwall, as well as the break-in at the cathedral, the Orcadian reported.

The cathedral dates back to 1137, long before Orkney became part of the Kingdom of Scotland.

Due to a historical quirk, it is owned by the burgh of Kirkwall and not the church as a result of an act by James III of Scotland following Orkney’s annexation by the Scottish crown in 1468.

The break-in has shocked residents in the Orkney town.

“The talk at the service was all about the happenings within the cathedral, when we should be remembering those who died in the war,” councillor John Ross told the Press & Journal.

He added: “It’s a complete disgrace anyone should do this. People have told me there have also been incidents of vandalism elsewhere in the town on that night and this has to be the end.

“This is the jewel of the community and, when something like this happens, it’s a disgrace. It’s an assault on Orkney and an assault on what we stand for.”