The Disqualified Round Towers of Ireland
 

Egilsay (Orkney Islands) – visited 24 July


The ruined church of St. Magnus on this small island to the east of Roussay has a circular tower still standing on its west end. The royal commission on ancient monuments gives its height as 14.88m, its walls as 1,07m thick and internal diameter 3.05m at the base narrowing to a bottleneck of 1,90m at the top. At ground level a round-headed doorway leads to the nave and there are two similar round-headed openings straight above it, the first just below the line of the nave roof, the second just above it, with a narrow slit window directly above that and the base of another window at the very top. There are a number of other windows around the tower and regular rows of holes, possibly for putlocks, over church and tower alike. the whole building is undoubtedly a single structure and is dated to the twelfth century. A drawing by reverent Low in 1775 shows a cap like an inverted pudding bowl above a pronounced cornice. by 1832, when drawn by Mrs Hibbert, it was much as it is today. (B.)

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