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Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Trust gathers supporters

October 16 2010

Public support to keep Kirkcaldy's Old Kirk in the community once it closes as a place of worship is growing, if a meeting of concerned locals heald during the week is anything to go by. Supporters have formed the Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Trust group to preserve the church and its heritage. The Kirk Wynd church, which was consecrated in 1244, will cease to be used for worship from November 7 after congregational trustees decided it should close due to financial pressures, although its final fate remains unclear. Rosemary Potter, acting chairwoman of the new trust, said local people had demonstrated their strength of feeling at a meeting organised at St Peter's Church. She said, "Many people have approached me with the concern that this fine historic building will be left to deteriorate to rack and ruin, or could be sold for inappropriate development a prospect that fills them with horror. "Those of us who have formed the trust believe that the heritage of the Old Kirk in Christian worship and service to the community on this site from Christianity's earliest beginnings in the town should be maintained and we are keen to see it take up a sustainable role serving the community in the heart of the town. "It is right that the Church of Scotland, as present owners of the building, should realise that this building is at the heart of Kirkcaldy's identity and we are hoping that they will delay any decision to strip the building while the trust is undertaking its business plan. "This was a strong feeling at our meeting and we have heard that members of the St Bryce Kirk congregation are sympathetic to the trust's aims." Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Trust is being supported by the Fife Historic Buildings Trust and the Scottish Redundant Churches Trust and has also been helped by the Architectural Heritage Fund and Fife Council. "We are serious in our efforts to find the best combination of uses for the building," Mrs Potter said. "It has very good acoustics and makes a fine concert venue, as musicians supporting the trust tell us and Ann Watters (Kirkcaldy Civic Society) has suggested it could provide additional exhibition space for the museum's collections."If you want to support the trust, contact Mrs Potter on 01592 265499 or leave a comment below.


Delight as Meadowside St Paul’s Church spire project completed

May 25 2011

The congregation of a prominent church in Dundee city centre are celebrating the completion of a three-year, £400,000 restoration project at the B-listed building. Work to repair the spire of Meadowside St Paul's Church in Nethergate has involved replacing more than 200 stones all from the same area as the original building material when the church was built in 1852 as well as five carved stone finials. The need for restoration first became apparent when masonry fell from the 150-foot steeple. Emergency repairs were made in 2008, with further work in 2009. The General Trustees of the Church of Scotland, who also made a financial contribution to the project, recommended appointing a conservation architect to supervise the restoration to ensure the church would be fit for purpose for the next 150 years. The project also received £167,000 from Historic Scotland and £108,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The congregation pitched in with fund-raising ventures and money was also raised from several bodies, individuals and businesses, including the Baird Trust, the Ferguson Bequest Fund, the Scottish Churches Architectural Heritage Trust and the Dalrymple Donaldson Trust. Work on the spire began in August 2010, guided by Arc Architects, of Cupar, with Stone Engineering, Livingston, doing the main repairs. The project was due to be completed by Christmas but November's bad weather delayed completion until now. "In a church with no barrier to anyone, everyone was especially happy when the scaffolding came down," a spokesman said. "The two shops that are part of the church buildings now have tenants, creating an added liveliness. "With the final replacement stone in place and the scaffolding gone, Meadowside St Paul's is now able to continue in full its vibrant mission. To this end the kirk session and the minister, the Rev Maureen MacDougall, have begun a fresh programme of outreach and hospitality." The church is open very Wednesday at lunchtime for prayer and meditation and at 11 am each Sunday, he added.

Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


Community project helps uncover the medieval past of one of Fife’s oldest churches

February 26 2014

A community archaeology project is helping rewrite the history and architectural development of one of Fife’s oldest churches. Using ground-penetrating radar, geophysical surveys and forensic examination of the remains, the team has been able to reconstruct an image of how Markinch Parish Church looked when Edward I camped overnight at Markinch in 1296. The project, led by Markinch Heritage Group working with Dr Oliver O’Grady, heritage consultant and independent researcher from OJT Heritage, showed that by then it was already more than 100 years old. Edward’s chronicler suggested it was a monastery, but no traces of a monastic settlement have been discovered. However, there are indications St Drostan’s was already a religious centre in Macbeth’s time and even before. The group’s research has also identified the footprint of an ancient church under the existing church. Marks etched on the side of the tower show how high the building once stood. It has also been possible to trace how the building was gradually dismantled and eventually replaced by a succession of later buildings as religious practices changed. “It has been a challenge to find out so much about this building without even putting a spade into the ground”, said Bruce Manson of the heritage group. “The team is confident that, over the next couple of years, we will shed much more light on this once-spectacular building and the medieval village of Markinch that surrounded it.” The lost building was once attached to the 12th century tower that has also been the subject of close scrutiny, and a newly discovered Romanesque-style arch will be the subject of future work. The project continues for another two years, with plans to identify who built the church and when, what it might have looked like inside and more about the master builder and his team. It is hoped to open the lower part of the church’s tower to visitors at the end of the project. Funding is still being sought for conservation work on the church and the adjacent session house. The project is part of the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership (LLLP), which aims to encourage people to access, learn about and conserve the area’s rich heritage. The project is being financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Fife Council and the Hunter Archaeological Trust. The LLLP is an association of organisations in Fife and Perth and Kinross who have come together to deliver a landscape conservation programme through 2013-16. The partnership has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund alongside other funding bodies including Scottish Natural Heritage, Fife Council, Fife Environment Trust, Historic Scotland, Princes Countryside Fund and many others. To find out more, visit www.markinchheritage.org.uk.


‘A major voice in Scottish architecture’ tributes paid to Professor Charles McKean

December 2 2013

Dundee paid tribute to Professor Charles McKean this weekend, with a memorial service at St Mary’s Nethergate. Church bells rang out across the city centre as scores of friends, family and former colleagues attended the service for the late architecture professor. The Lord Provost was among prominent attendees at the memorial for Professor McKean, who passed away in September. The 67-year-old was the foremost authority on Scottish architectural history and his distinguished career saw him appointed architecture correspondent for The Times newspaper and chairman of the Unesco Edinburgh World Heritage Trust. In 1995, he was appointed head of the School of Architecture at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, part of Dundee University, before taking up his position as professorof Scottish architectural history in the university’s history department in 1997. A passionate advocate of preserving Dundee’s architectural history, the professor led hundreds of walking tours of the city over the past two decades. After his death, universityvice-principal ProfessorChristopher Whatley described him as “a dear colleague and friend and will be sadly missed by all”. “Charles McKean was a major voice in Scottish architecture and history and someone who made a tremendous impact in everything he did. Our thoughts are with his family,” he said.


£40,000 boost for St Athernase Church preservation project

June 16 2016

An ambitious project to restore a historic Fife church has received a major funding boost. A £40,000 grant has been awarded to St Athernase Church in Leuchars as part of a campaign to restore the building to its former glory. The money has been awarded from the National Churches Trust and comes as part of a wider community effort to preserve the iconic structure. Greeting the news, Reverend John Duncan, the minister at Leuchars St Athernase, said: “It is wonderful news that the National Churches Trust is to give Leuchars St Athernase such a generous grant and we are pleased that it also acknowledges the importance of St Athernase Church at a local and national level. “I am grateful to the trustees of the trust for enabling future generations to appreciate the historical jewel we have in St Athernase Parish Church.” Lauded as one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Scotland, St Arthernase Church dates back as far as 1150 and is visited by hundreds of people every year. Positioned at the heart of Leuchars, the church has remained an integral part of community life for almost 1,000 years and remains a focus for worship in the area. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvWbcAItOdA Last month, The Courier revealed plans to restore the Grade A listed building to its former splendour, with campaigners estimating that around £500,000 will be required. Repairs to the roofs, walls and drainage of the church’s nationally important Norman apse and chancel are required, while accessible information about the history and architecture of the church is also to be installed. Once the repair project is complete, the church will be able to hold a range of community activities including guild meetings, choirs, Sunday schools, and coffee mornings, which currently have to take place in another building adjacent to the church. Reverend Duncan added: “Until the funding is in place you are always waiting for the news, but now we have this grant the architects can now get going.”


Conservation of Dundee city centre ‘very important’ during regeneration

December 28 2013

The body which cares for Dundee’s architectural heritage has said the latest review of the city centre conservation area is of vital importance for the future. Dr Nutan Subedi, chairman of Dundee Civic Trust, said that with the redevelopment on the waterfront, it is important the shaping of the central area exercise is properly approached. “We have a duty to take care of the city centre and to protect and preserve all that is good in it,” he said. “The conservation of the city centre is very important and the trust will certainly be taking time to scrutinise the proposals.” The appraisal of what is essentially the area within the inner ring road has been approved by Historic Scotland and is now open for public examination. Local authorities have powers to designate zones recognised for their architectural or historic interest and worthy of preservation or enhancement. Dundee has 17, with the city centre its most prominent. The designation allows the council to ensure new development will not have a negative impact on the appearance of the area. Conservation area status does not rule out new developments but can help produce high design quality to make sure the special character of the area can be preserved. Dundee’s central conservation area features various buildings of historic or architectural importance, including the McManus, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tay Hotel, Custom House and the City Churches. It is characterised by its shopping thoroughfares and largely pedestrianised streetscape and boasts examples of Medieval, Gothic, Victorian, Edwardian, arts and crafts, art deco, neo-classical and contemporary architecture. There are also 13 buildings which are classified as being at risk. They are vacant with no identified new use, suffering from neglect or structural problems, unsecured and open to the elements or threatened with demolition. Those in the poorest condition include St David’s Halls, at the rear of 84-90 Nethergate, the Pearl Assurance Buildings in Meadowside and the King’s Theatre in Cowgate. Of the changes, it is proposed the boundary around the Overgate be re-drawn to include St David’s Halls and the ground behind it. Other proposals concern small boundary realignments to the rear of the buildings on the corner of Seagate and Commercial Street and the site of the former Podium Block to protect the character of Caird Hall. It is intended the zone should be extended outside the inner ring road to include Custom House and its precincts the site of a proposed hotel to protect the building’s setting. Another change is to include areas east and north of Dundee House, taking in Lindsay Street Mill, Strathmore Lodge, Sheriff Court and the view up North Lindsay Street and the Abertay University buildings to retain the educational character of the area and the view up Constitution Road. Also included is St Andrew’s Church and hall, the buildings opposite in King Street, Magnum House and the Sea Captain’s House. The public can study the proposed changes at Dundee House up to the end of January.

Perth & Kinross

The “Outlander effect” helps save one of Scotland’s most important parish churches

April 29 2017

The “Outlander Effect” has helped save one of Scotland’s most important churches for future generations. Hundreds of fans have made a pilgrimage to Perthshire since Tibbermore Church featured in one of the hit television show’s most iconic scenes. Their donations – together with money from the company behind the show– has enabled the Scottish Redundant Churches Trust to undertake £70,000 of roof repairs and preserve its structure. As well as its modern resonance with television viewers, the parish church has significant historical importance. It dates from 1632 and many of its features remain unique. The church’s raked stone flooring and simple wooden pews are distinctive and unusual survivors, while the declaration around its pulpitis is of a style long missing from most places of worship of Tibbermore’s age. The stained glass windows, from 1920, designed by Oscar Paterson commemorate the women who served their country during the First World War. Victoria Collison-Owen, executive director of the Scottish Redundant Churches Trust, said: “The Tibbermore Charitable Trust bought the church when it was closed by the Church of Scotland. “Its members did a fantastic job keeping the building alive and part of the community but it was a huge challenge for them. “There was a realisation that it was too much responsibility for a small community trust and the sums of money involved were much bigger than they could ever have expected. “Time and age were catching up with the building – as they do with so many churches – and for that reason they approached us to take it on.” Money was secured from the Listed Places of Worship roof repair fund and the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, as well as money and support flowing in since Outlander filmed in Perthshire. Tibbermore was the location for one of the hit show’s most memorable scenes in which central characters Claire and Geillis are put on trial as witches. Victoria said: “We have invested much of the funds that followed the filming of Outlander at the church. “The film crew were great to work with and really respectful of the building – consulting with us on everything – and we must thank them for their support. “The filming and the money we received really were a big catalyst for the repairs. “In addition to that, we now receive a huge number of visitors from all four corners of the globe. “The show’s reach really is extraordinary, with lots of visitors from the US, Germany, France and Belgium in particular. “We have found the fans to be a really enthusiastic bunch with a great interest in Scottish history and heritage in general.” Community uses remain limited as the church has “no heat, no light, no power and no running water” though the trust has pledged to “be creative”. Victoria said one of “loveliest things” to happen since repairs were undertaken was the first wedding to be held since the church closed. As works continue, visitor numbers are expected to increase further with the release of a new interactive Outlander locations map by VisitScotland.

Perth & Kinross

£2m bid finally tabled for St Paul’s Church transformation

April 6 2018

Long-awaited plans have been lodged to transform a landmark Perth city centre church into a major arts venue. After a wait of nearly four decades, council bosses have unveiled detailed designs for derelict St Paul's Church. The ambitious £2 million project will see the 210-year-old building made into an open civic space, suitable for markets and performances. The clock tower and spire will be retained. The project is part of a wider council-led plan to increase cultural offering in the Fair City and bring in thousands more visitors. The public will now get the chance to have its say on the scheme before a final decision is made on planning consent later this year. Papers lodged with local authority planners show that there has already been interest from potential operators. It has also emerged that lighting architectural firm Lite, which was involved in illuminations at Blackpool and Edinburgh Castle, is working on a plan to light-up the building. Council boss Murray Lyle said: "I think it’s fantastic to see further progress being made on the project to bring this building back into use. "When we took over ownership of the building in January last year it was with a vision in mind and I am pleased that we are making good progress." A spokesman for RDA Architects said the planned courtyard area would offer space for events, while public art and lighting would help "animate" it during the day and evening. "The proposed design approach would both conserve and protect the main elements of the building and allow for its full re-use at lowest cost and risk," he said. The conversion will "help stimulate market interest and improve value", the firm said. St Paul's was built by the city council around 1800 "to provide both additional ecclesiastical accommodation for the expanding burgh and an architectural ornament to encourage further development". The building, also once used as a regimental church by The Black Watch, has stood empty since 1988. Various attempts to re-use the site, including ambitious plans for an Indian restaurant and interest from pub giant JD Wetherspoon, failed to get off the ground. The local authority bought the building in February, last year. An offer – understood to be less than £50,000 – was accepted by the previous owner. Contractors were drafted in to clear out the property, removing nearly 50 tonnes of pigeon mess as well as carrying out a cull of nesting birds. The refurbishment also involved removing asbestos, stripping lagging from heating pipes, and taking away loose slates, masonry and other debris. Workers have also removed timber pews from inside the church. St Paul's timeline St Paul’s Church – a timeline of demise and decay 1807 – St Paul’s Church built to a design by architect John Paterson. Jan 1973 – Church roof required replacing. Feb 1974 – Church threatened with closure. 1986 – Church closes. October 1988 – Masonry falls from building. October 1989 – Church bought by Cleddon Estates Investments Ltd. July 1991 – Cleddon plan to 
turn church into a universarium and science centre but never 
materialises. November 1994 – Church for sale. June 1995 – Scottish Urban Archaeological Trust propose to use church for Perth Octagon Heritage Centre. July 1997 – Heritage centre plan abandoned. May 2003 – St Paul’s Church Preservation Society float 
suggestion of turning the 
building into community halls. Dec 2003 – St Paul’s Church Preservation Society wound up. February 2008 – JD Wetherspoon submit plan to convert church into licensed premises but proposal falls by the wayside. March 2009 – Edinburgh-based curry chain Khushi’s state 
interest. January 2012 – Planning consent granted to Khushi’s for change of use from church to restaurant. November 2013 – Listed-building consent granted to Khushi’s. April 2015 – Sale of St Paul’s Church to James Boyd, of Simple Marketing Global. April 2016 – Urgent repairs notice served on owners. Aug 2016 – Council makes 
building safe and don’t rule out compulsory purchase.


Burntisland’s 13th Century church ruin reopened to visitors

March 26 2018

A nationally significant church ruin and its graveyard has reopened to the public for the first time in decades. Completion of work to protect Kirkton Old Church, Burntisland’s oldest building, was celebrated with a special event on Sunday. The church has its origins in the 13th Century, dedicated to St Serf on May 19, 1243 by Bishop de Bernham. A community project to make it safe for the future was led by Burntisland Heritage Trust, in partnership with Fife Council. It received cash backing from several sources, including its major funder the Heritage Lottery Fund. Trust secretary John Burnett said: “This support has made it possible to save this important heritage and to allow us to tell the story of the church and the graveyard to local residents and visitors.” Kirkton was the parish church until around 1592, when the present Burntisland Parish Church was built. The roofless ruin, which was in a precarious condition, was rescued from a stranglehold of ivy after a steering group was established in 2014 to spearhead its repair. Yesterday’s annual Palm Sunday walk organised by Burntisland Churches Together began at Kirkton, where local clergy conducted a short reopening service. Fiona Fisher, built heritage officer at Fife Council, who helped develop and manage the project, said: “This seems a fitting way to bring the church and community back together and to open up the site once more as quiet green space. “This community-led project will bring one of Fife’s most important historic sites back into community use, and put it on Scotland’s cultural and tourist map. “When I think of how neglected and dangerous the church and graveyard were, and the transformation that has taken place, allowing public use again, it makes me very proud to have been part of this project.” Architecture and graveyard consultants and contractors were enlisted to direct and undertake stonemasonry and other specialist repairs to standards required by Historic Environment Scotland. Two benches were provided by local firm Archway Metals. Trust members researched the history of the church and gravestones and interpretation material has been provided on boards at the church, in a leaflet available online at www.kirktonoldchurch.org.uk. Local people, businesses and community groups were involved, and Burntisland Primary School took part in green graveyard activities with Floral Action Burntisland. Educational resources have been developed for the school and an exhibition is being prepared for Burntisland Heritage Centre.