Aberdeen Cathedral (St. Machar’s Cathedral) antique print. Aberdeen Cathedral (St Machar’s Cathedral) or, more formally, the Cathedral Church of St Machar is a Church of Scotland church in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is located to the north of the city centre, in the former burgh of Old Aberdeen. Technically, St Machar’s is no longer a cathedral but rather a high kirk, as it has not been the seat of a bishop since 1690. St Machar is said to have been a companion of St Columba on his journey to Iona. A fourteenth-century legend tells how God (or St Columba) told Machar to establish a church where a river bends into the shape of a bishop’s crosier before flowing into the sea. The River Don bends in this way just below where the Cathedral now stands. According to legend, St Machar founded a site of worship in Old Aberdeen in about 580. Machar’s church was superseded by a Norman cathedral in 1131, shortly after David I transferred the See from Mortlach to Aberdeen. Almost nothing of that original cathedral survives; a lozenge-decorated base for a capital supporting one of the architraves can be seen in the Charter Room in the present church. After the execution of William Wallace in 1305, his body was cut up and sent to different corners of the country to warn other dissenters. His left quarter ended up in Aberdeen and is buried in the walls of the cathedral. The Cathedral is a fine example of a fortified kirk, with twin towers built in the fashion of fourteenth-century tower houses. Their walls have the strength to hold spiral staircases to the upper floors and battlements. The spires which presently crown the towers were added in the 15th century. Bishops Gavin Dunbar and Alexander Galloway built the western towers and installed the heraldic ceiling, featuring 48 coats of arms in three rows of sixteen. The ceiling is set off by a frieze which starts at the north-west corner of the nave and lists the bishops of the see from Nechtan in 1131 to William Gordon at the Reformation in 1560. This is followed by the Scottish monarchs from Máel Coluim II to Mary, Queen of Scots. Notable figures buried in the cathedral cemetery include the author J.J. Bell, Robert Brough, Gavin Dunbar, Robert Laws, a missionary to Malawi and William Ogilvie of Pittensear—the ‘rebel professor’.