AN ancient archway which once stood at the entrance to the historic site of the coronation of Scotland’s kings has been restored to its former glory after being reduced to rubble by a lorry in a freak accident.
Skilled stonemasons have completed the ‘’world’s largest jigsaw puzzle’’ after piecing together the fragments of the historic archway in the grounds of Scone Palace in Perthshire.
The archway is believed to have once been the entrance to the Augustinian abbey where a succession of Scottish monarchs were crowned, and may have stood since 1114, when the abbey was founded by King Alexander I.
But centuries of Scottish history were wiped out in September 2010, when a delivery lorry smashed into the structure in freak accident while collecting a marquee from the palace following the Perth Hunt Ball
The accident destroyed the two historically important carved armorial panels, which were above the arch, and sent pieces of masonry scattering up to 15 metres across the grounds of the palace, now home to the Earls of Mansfield.
The carefully reconstructed archway was unveiled today by William Murray, the Master of Stormont and 24-year-old grandson of the 8th Earl of Mansfield, following the completion of the two year restoration scheme, estimated to have cost £160,000.
Mr Murray said: “I am absolutely delighted that such an important piece of Scottish history has now been successfully restored to its former glory.
‘’It was imperative to us that the archway matched the original and the techniques used to rebuild it were therefore the same as those used back in the 16th century. Two years of painstaking and intricate work have been required, but my family and I are thrilled with the results. We would like to extend our grateful thanks to the entire restoration team for bringing their unique skills and expertise to the project and helping to ensure that Scone’s historic archway stands proud for many more centuries.”