The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme


Breckness House, Stromness

Breckness House was built in 1633 by Bishop George Graham. The land on which it stands had belonged to the Orkney Earldom, broken up and distributed following the trial and execution of Earl Patrick Stewart. Graham built up the estate for his son John, the first Laird of Breckness.

The house was once a two-storey L-shaped structure with various attendant buildings, including a chapel and burial ground. The carved door lintel, featuring the Graham coat of arms topped with a bishop's mitre, now adorns the entrance to Skaill House. It bears the date 1633 and the initials GG.
A slight rise in a neighbouring field is the only clue to the site of the nearby chapel. Human remains were found in 1929, when the chapel was removed and the burial ground cultivated. Further remains possibly related to the site were discovered in the 1980s due to sea erosion and cliff collapse, and now form part of the Orkney Museum collection. 
The ruins of Breckness House give an impression of grandeur and scale, with carved stones and impressive fireplaces still visible. The Breckness Estate, now owned by Bishop Graham's descendants, includes Skaill House in Sandwick, and Skara Brae Neolithic village. 
Copyright 2011 Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme