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St Kentigern’s set to become accessible again as building works begin on iconic monument

The Development Trust's Douglas Ritchie has been keen to safeguard St Kentigern's for many years

For many years visitors to St Kentigern’s Church have been forced to peer through herris fencing to catch a glimpse of Scotland’s history, but remedial work is now underway that will make the site accessible once again.

Building works have commenced to halt the deterioration of the iconic local Scheduled Ancient Monument and the adjoining Grade B listed Mausoleum 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 four to six 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.

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.”

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.