It might surprise many folk - even some locals - to learn that the church in which William Wallace worshipped and reputedly married still survives. But, until now, only just...
Worries have been repeatedly expressed over the state of the Old St Kentigerns Church which stands in what is now Lanark Cemetery.
However, remedial works are underway to ensure the future of the 11th century Scheduled Ancient Monument and the adjoining Grade B listed Lockhart of Lee Mausoleum in preparation to ’re-launch’ them as major tourist attractions.
The works, being carried out by contractors the Castle Group on behalf of South Lanarkshire Council, will take three to five weeks to complete.
After this the unsightly safety fencing which has surrounded the buildings for a long time will be removed and the public able to wander through the ruins once again.
The project has been driven forward by Douglas Ritchie, retired structural engineer and vice-chair of the Lanark Community Development Trust.
Douglas is delighted works have finally commenced and 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 Trust plan to make “historically sympathetic” improvements to the entrance avenue and improvements to roadside and pavement signage indicating the entrance to the church.
Plans also include a marketing strategy to increase local, national and international awareness of the church and its significant connections to William Wallace.