Dirleton Castle: guidebooks

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Dirleton Castle © David Gill

J.S. Richardson prepared the first guidebook for Dirleton Castle 1934. A second edition appeared in 1950, and this continued as a blue guide into the 1970s. This consisted of a histroy: Lands of the Barony; the De Vaux Family; the castle during the Wars of Independence; the Halyburtons; the Ruthvens; the raid of Ruthven; the Gowrie Conspiracy; Ruthven building; furnishings and gardens; the Dirleton witches; Cromwell and the Moss-troopers. This was followed by a description. A foldout plan and sections were placed inside the back cover.

Dirleton_blue

1934 (2nd ed. 1950; 7th impress. 1973)

Chris Tabraham revised Richardson’s guidebook in 1982. A new guidebook, by Tabraham, was published in 1995. This consists of two main sections: Guided Tour and History.

Dirleton_HS

1995 (rev. ed. 2007)

Sweetheart Abbey: guidebook

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Sweetheart Abbey © David Gill

The Cistercian abbey of Sweetheart was established in 1273. The remains were placed in State Guardianship in 1928. James S. Richardson prepared the first guidebook in 1934. A second edition was issued in 1951. It follows the standard format of History and Description, with a fold-out plan inside the back cover.

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Second edition 1951, 4th impression 1958

The Historic Scotland Official Souvenir Guide is Richardson’s guide, revised by Chris Tabraham. This has a guided tour followed by the history. The text differs from the one prepared by Richardson.

Sweetheart_HS

Rev. ed. 2007

Should St Peter’s Cardross ruin be added to the national portfolio of heritage properties in care?

BBC News article

Following the collapse of the project to turn the ruins of St Peter’s Seminary at Cardross into an arts and cultural centre by arts organisation NVA, the future for the site has been looking very uncertain.  The site is still owned and managed (i.e. secured for health and safety) by the Archdiocese of Glasgow, who starkly admitted at the weekend to BBC News that the site is an ‘albatross around our neck’.

The site comes with significant conservation challenges, and it is a great shame that the development plans which had reached an advanced point were unable to proceed.  Love the building or loathe it, it is arguably an iconic site, arguable moreso in its ruined state with so many possible human responses to it. Ruins and their treatment have been back in the spotlight of late – whether via urbex (highlighted by Bradley Garrett); academic consideration such as De Silvey’s ‘Curated Decay‘; or the British Library’s recent consideration of literary responses to ruins.  Much has been written about the Cardross site itself, including a dedicated volume published by Historic Environment Scotland during the time of the most recent rejuvenation proposals.

If ever there was time for serious consideration about the site being an addition to the national portfolio of monuments held in care for the nation either via Guardianship or direct ownership of Scottish Ministers, then this is it.  The state via its national heritage agencies still (I would argue) has a moral duty to act as owner of last resort for important sites such as St Peter’s.   It is understood from the BBC News article that the Scottish Government (I assume via Historic Environment Scotland) is currently considering the site’s potential future. What better and fitting addition to the Historic Scotland catalogue of sites, which includes so many other religious buildings such as the great Border abbeys, than a 20th century building which can currently find no further use than as a ruin but which plays an ongoing role in the public psyche.  Just as English Heritage has been reinventing its approach to the national heritage estate in England, the opportunity in Cardross for Historic Environment Scotland to do something original at a ‘similar but different’ kind of site is intriguing – I hope that we may yet see the site as a new ‘property in care’ for Scotland.

Glenluce Abbey: book cupboard

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Glenluce Abbey © David Gill

Within the cloister at Glenluce is a recessed book cupboard marked by a Ministry sign.

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Glenluce Abbey © David Gill

For other books cupboards:

Cardoness Castle: notice signs

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Cardoness Castle © David Gill

The top of Cardoness Castle provides views over the estuary. Visitors are discouraged from trying to get on top of the walls. One points out the danger, the other expressly forbids it.

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Cardoness Castle © David Gill

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Cardoness Castle © David Gill

The second reproduces the word ‘Notice’: surely redundant on a sign? And the clear indication that ‘visitors are not allowed on wall top’ is ‘by order’; underneath is an erased  line, ‘Ministry of Works’.

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Cardoness Castle © David Gill

Elgin cathedral: guidebook

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1938 (2nd ed. 1950, 8th impress. 1973)

The first See of Moray was created in 1107. However the present location (juxta Elgyn) was only consecrated in July 1224 when it became the cathedral church of the diocese.  The constitution of the cathedral was based on Lincoln. After the reformation the building fell into risrepair and the roof was removed in 1567.

The guidebook, subtitled, The Cathedral Kirk of Moray, was written by J.S. Richardson (description) and H.B. Mackintosh (history). A fold-out plan is placed inside the back cover.

St Andrews cathedral: guidebooks

StAndrews_cathedral_MPBW

1950 (8th impress. 1966)

The remains of the cathedral at St Andrews were placed in State Guardisanship in 1946. Stewart Cruden prepared the first guidebook for The Cathedral of St. Andrews and St. Regulus Church (1950) (although the cover only shows the shorter form).

It starts with an extensive glossary, The guide is divided into two sections, each divided into history and description: first on St Regulus church, second on the cathedral.  A plan of the cathedral is placed in the centre pages, and a fold-put plan of the precinct appears inside the back cover.

StAndrews_Cathedral_HS

1993 (revised 2003; repr. 2007)

The Historic Scotland official souvenir guide was prepared by Richard Fawcett, and was subsequently revised by Sally Foster and Chris Tabraham. This has a guided tour followed by the story of the cathedral.