Church where William Wallace was married to be restored
Work is underway to ensure the future of the iconic church - where the Scottish knight is believed to have worshipped - so it can be re-launched as a major tourist attraction.
Old St Kentigern’s Church where Wallace got married is the last building the Braveheart hero would have known from the 12th century.
But recently concerns have been expressed over the state of the church in Lanark, South Lanarkshire, as it has problems with cracks and water seepage The work is being carried out by contractors the Castle Group on behalf of South Lanarkshire Council, in a bid to revive the historical church.
The adjoining Grade B listed Lockhart of Lee Mausoleum will also be repaired in preparation to ‘re-launch’ them as major tourist attractions.
It is set to take four to six weeks to complete.
The project is being driven by Douglas Ritchie, a retired structural engineer and vice-chair of the Lanark Community Development Trust.
Douglas says he is delighted works have finally commenced.
He said: “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 four 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.”
In 2016 furious French historian Bertrand Humeau hit out at the crumbling state of the important church after visiting it.
He said he was appalled to see the church blocked off and disintegrating by the day Bertrand said that if Wallace was alive he would want his countrymen and women to rise up in protest against the sorry state of the building.
He said he was shocked at the rapid deterioration of Old St Kentigern’s since his last visit to the town in 2009.
But with the revamp now underway, the unsightly safety fencing which has surrounded the building will be removed and the public will be able to access the historical site.
Repair works to the Lockhart of Lee Mausoleum will include the replacement of some roof trusses, roof re-sarking and re-slating.
The Trust plans to make “historically sympathetic” improvements to the entrance avenue and the roadside and pavement signage indicating the entrance to the church.
A marketing strategy to increase local, national and international awareness of the church and its significant connections to William Wallace is also included in the plans.
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.
A statement of National Importance from Historic Environment Scotland stated: “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.”