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MSP backs Kinloss Abbey renovation

By Garry McCartney

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Richard Lochhead MSP, Kirsteen Mitcalfe, Masonry & Lime managing director Hnas Norling, Sir James Dunbar-Nasmith and Tom Duff at the Abbey.
Richard Lochhead MSP, Kirsteen Mitcalfe, Masonry & Lime managing director Hnas Norling, Sir James Dunbar-Nasmith and Tom Duff at the Abbey.

MORAY'S MSP is backing a local renovation project of historical national importance.

Richard Lochhead was shown around the Abbot's House in Kinloss by the Kinloss Abbey Trust (KAT) before pledging his ongoing support for their work.

He said: "Sometimes we take for granted, the amazing buildings and places on our own doorstep that have been a feature of local life for centuries. It’s important to do more to celebrate and learn the story that lies behind them, especially given that we have some of the most important sites in Scotland that need cared for.

"KAT have done a marvellous job raising cash to carry out repairs to the Bishop’s House and I have pledged my support to help them secure funding for future phases. It would be superb if we could secure investment to make the repairs that would allow Kinloss to once again become a major centre of learning."

KAT spent most of last year identifying the most vulnerable part of the building - the arches - surveying and getting permissions from Historic Environment Scotland and Moray Council to start work. Masonry and Lime commenced in December and have installed limecrete pads to support the wooden beams. The works are necessary because, without intervention, the ruins have been predicted to fall within the next five to 10 years.

It involves ivy clearance and timber shoring to the incomplete remains of the two stone vaults that support a first floor masonry stack. The temporary shoring will allow the upper portions of the ruins to be safely inspected with a view to further, more permanent consolidation work later.

KTS have been supported by a grant from EBScotland and the Architectural Heritage Fund but need to continue to pursue funding as there is still an enormous amount of work required.

KTS trustee Kirsteen Mitcalfe confirmed the next stage is to identify the most urgent project.

She said: "Saving the northern section of the Abbot’s House is important because the fragmentary remains contain valuable evidence and information about the Abbot’s House design, layout and connection to the main Abbey refectory and dormitories.

"The Abbey is believed to have developed over several centuries, culminating in the final refurbishment and extension by Abbot Robert Reid in the mid-16th century prior to the Abbey’s post Reformation demise."

Mr Lochhead added: "The Bishop’s House and Kinloss Abbey have played such a major role in Moray and Scotland’s history.

"Abbot Robert Reid, who extended the Bishop’s House, was a pivotal figure in our history and one of the nation’s foremost religious and political leaders in the fifteenth century.

"The local community deserve the opportunity to learn more about his fascinating life and our local heritage."

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