Dryburgh Abbey: choir

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Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

The choir rested below the central tower. To the east was the high altar, and to the south the night stair to the dorter. The north-east pier remains in the remains of the north transpet. IMG_2645-Edit-Edit

Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

Cambuskenneth Abbey: guidebook

Cambuskenneth_AMHB

1950 (repr. 1973)

Cambuskenneth Abbey, near Stirling, was founded in 1147.

The remains of the abbey were placed in State Guardianship in 1908. Stewart Cruden prepared the first guidebook in 1950; a second edition appeared in 1978. It consists of two parts: history and description. A plan is placed on the centre pages.

Arbroath Abbey: guidebook

Arbroath_blue

1954 (4th impress. 1972)

Arbroath Abbey was founded by William the Lion in 1178 in memory of Thomas Becket of Canterbury. Tironensian monks from Kelso helped to establish the community. The abbey was the setting for the Declaration of Arbroath on 5 April 1320.

The official guide is divided into two sections: a history by R.L. Mackie; and a description by Stewart Cruden. A conjectural reconstruction is placed in the centre, and a fold-out plan inside the back cover.

 

Stirling Castle: guidebooks

Stirling_blue

Second edition 1948, 7th impression 1967

Stirling_blue_HMSO

2nd ed. 1948 (8th impress. 1972)

The first edition of the guide to Stirling Castle was published in 1936: the description by J.S. Richardson, and the history by Margaret E. Root. A second edition appeared in 1948, and it continued as a ‘blue guide’ into the 1970s (note the move from guide-book to guide).

A fold-out plan was placed inside the back cover.

The cover of the Richardson and Root guide is ‘a drawing of a portrait medallion representing James V, one of a set of wood panels originally in the ceiling of the King’s Presence Chamber’. The heads were the subject of a monograph published by the Royal Commission in 1960. A booklet was issued by the Royal Commission in 1975, with the text by John G. Dunbar.

Stirling_heads_RC

1975

The Historic Scotland guide by Richard Fawcett was published in 1999. This consisted of a guide tour followed by the story (not history) of the castle.

Stirling_HS

1999 (repr. 2002)

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.