Tinker’s Heart declared national monument

A sacred wedding site for Scotland’s travelling community has been declared a site of historical significance after a campaign to save it from being lost to future generations.

Jess Smith led the campaign to save the monument. Picture: Contributed
Jess Smith led the campaign to save the monument. Picture: Contributed

The Tinker’s heart in Argyll, also known as the Gypsy Wedding Place, has seen couples marry and bless their babies for decades.

But concerns emerged it was falling into disrepair after the land it occupied was given over to cattle grazing prompting a high profile campaign which went all the way to Holyrood.

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Historic Scotland has now confirmed that the site will be declared a monument of national importance. The heritage body has now set out the vision for the preservation and maintenance of the site.

Jess Smith who led the campaign to save the monument with a petition at Holyrood welcomed the news.

“This is historical,” she said today.

“It’s the first time that a Government has ever recognised a Traveller’s monument and actually recognised it as having a cultural significance and national status. I’m honestly just over the moon.”

She is now confident that the site will be saved. Although it is now fenced off from cattle, campaigners want to see an “ornamental dyke” erected to reflect its sacred status.

The Heart is a pattern of quartz stones which was laid at an Argyll crossroads. It is thought to be around 250 years old and has been used by generations of Scottish Travellers as a wedding place and for children to be blessed.

Holyrood petitions committee convenor John Pentland said: “The Committee particularly welcomes the increased co-operation between Jess Smith, Historic Scotland and the landowner of the Tinkers’ Heart site, which has led to such a positive solution.

“We very much look forward to visiting the Tinkers’ Heart and celebrating its new status as part of our upcoming visit to Inveraray this September.”