Posted Monday September 24, 2018 by Melissa Reilly

Douglas Ritchie at St Kentigern’s Church

Remedial building works have commenced at St Kentigern’s Church in Lanark to halt the deterioration of this 11/12th Century iconic local Scheduled Ancient Monument and the adjoining Grade B listed Mausoleum.

The current works to both buildings is being carried out by the Castle Group on behalf of South Lanarkshire Council.

The works to make the Scheduled Ancient Monument structurally secure are expected to last around 4-6 weeks and upon their completion, the Herris fencing will be removed and the historic site will be accessible to the public once again. Repair works to the Lockhart of Lee Mausoleum will include the replacement of some roof trusses, roof re-sarking and re- slating.

The project has been driven forward by Douglas Ritchie, retired Structural Engineer and Vice Chair of the Lanark Community Development Trust.

This doorway is an important example of 11th/12th century transitional architecture

Douglas is delighted works have finally commenced “After many years of hard work progressing this project with South Lanarkshire Council and Historic Environment Scotland, it’s fantastic to finally see it come to fruition.”

“I first became involved in the project around 4 years ago because the Church, and Mausoleum, were at severe risk of collapse and I wanted action to secure the future for both structures thus preventing any further deterioration of these extremely important ‘hidden gems’ of Lanark’s heritage.”

Douglas and the Development Trust have plans to develop St Kentigern’s Church and Mausoleum as an asset to promote tourism to the local area, based on the results of a recent feasibility study conducted by The Moffat Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University. These plans include historically sympathetic aesthetic improvements to the entrance avenue and improvements to roadside and pavement signage indicating the entrance to the church. Plans also include the development of a marketing strategy, to increase local, national and international awareness of the church and their significant connections to William Wallace – as well as an interpretation strategy to provide engaging information at the historic site.

St Kentigern’s Church is one of around 8,000 Scheduled Monuments in Scotland. These are recognised by Historic Environment Scotland as being nationally important monuments and sites. National importance takes account of a wide range of factors, including artistic, archaeological, architectural, historic, traditional, aesthetic, scientific and social. The aim of scheduling is to preserve sites and monuments as far as possible in the form in which they have come down to us today.

The current entrance to St Kentigern’s Church off Hyndford Road

Statement of National Importance from Historic Environment Scotland – “The monument (St Kentigern’s Church) is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding of medieval and post-reformation ecclesiastical foundations, architecture and religious practices. It is an example of a multi-period ecclesiastical site with good potential for the preservation of buried features and deposits, including architectural remains and burials. The standing remains contain fine architectural detailing typical of Scottish 11/13th century ecclesiastical architecture. The scale and quality of the architecture reflect the significance of Lanark as a Royal Burgh. The monument can help us understand much about ecclesiastical architecture and the role of the church in medieval and post-reformation society. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of changing belief and religious practice and the development of places of worship over an extended time period. The loss or damage of the monument would diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the origins and development of places of worship in Scotland and the role of the church in wider medieval and post-reformation life.”

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