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Old Kirk in Stow

09 November 2016

The deteriorating state of the Old Kirk in Stow had become a major point of discussion locally and a significant amount of work was required to restore the B-listed building to its former glory. The Community Council had worked with the local authority to try to find the heritor of the Old Kirk who sadly could not be traced, and as a result the maintenance looked set to fall to the community.

The Old Kirk – which dates back to the 15th century – has not been used since 1876, however it is an important visual element in the centre of the village and it provides strong links to the ecclesiastical history of Stow and its surrounding areas. Keen not to lose this piece of history, the group started fundraising to help save and repair the kirk.

The council received an initial grant £8,912 in 2013 from the EDF Longpark Community Fund to allow repairs to this iconic building to commence. Working with Historic Scotland, the project group appointed a local stonemason to repoint and seal the walls using lime mortar.

The extent of the work required was greater than first envisaged – not an uncommon issue when working with older structures – so the Community Council applied for further funding in 2014. They were awarded £9,700 to help complete the restoration works including repairing the bell tower.

The attention to detail has ensured that the building will retain its B-listed status.

The Old Kirk is important to the sense of identity of the village, but it also attracts visitors on a regular basis from all over the world, with some looking to find information about their ancestors. One Australian visitor congratulated the participants in the project and stated that they were doing “really good work here”.

Project organiser Alistair Riddell explained: “The church was on the point of collapse. I can’t stress enough how important this church is historically to the area, and it needed to be restored. It wouldn’t have been possible without the grants.”

The Parish of Stow Community Council are now looking to restore other historical parts of the village as well as creating signs and leaflets that will help continue the Old Kirk’s legacy.

 

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