Work to save historic kirk is in final stages

Scaffolding has been put up around historic Bothwell Parish Church as major engineering work gets underway. Had the work not been possible, part of the church would have gone to ruin.
Scaffolding has been put up around historic Bothwell Parish Church as major engineering work gets underway. Had the work not been possible, part of the church would have gone to ruin.

The final phase of a long-running £2 million restoration programme at historic Bothwell Parish Church is underway.

Scaffolding has been put up around the building which stands in the centre of the village and is a popular wedding venue.

Money for the project has come from various sources including Paterson Quarries, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland, while the congregation themselves have contributed hundreds of thousand of pounds.

Had funding not been found, part of the church - the quire - which dates back to the 14th century would have gone to ruin.

Standing on the site of a former sixth century church, the building has evolved over the centuries.

The medieval quire within the chancel was added to a previous Norman structure by Archibald Douglas ‘The Grim’ who became 3rd Earl of Douglas in 1389.

The Collegiate Church of Bothwell was dedicated in October 1398.

Current minister Rev James Gibson said: “The building can no longer support the weight of the roof and rainwater, and the walls have buckled, skewing the building.

“Large stone roof slabs are beginning to slide. There are 400 of them and they have to be removed and put back again. From an engineering point of view, this phase is the main event.”

Mr Gibson thanked everyone who has helped make the ‘massive’ four-year project possible.