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Future of memorials in Scottish Churches
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Adam Brown
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:43 pm    Post subject: Future of memorials in Scottish Churches Reply with quote

With the ageing and dwindling congregations in Scottish Parish churches what do other members of the forum think will happen to the memorials contained within them in the next twenty years?

Not all local museums seem keen to take on memorials from closed churches just now. Will that change?

Ideally a memorial should stay as local as possible to where it was first erected but will that be possible in the future?

The redundant Cromarty West Church, featured on the 'Restoration' TV programme, is being used as a community building with all its church fittings intact but only a few can surely be afforded the luxury of being maintained as a church without a congregation.

Are we doing our bit on this forum by recording something now which may be lost forever within a generation?

Adam
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I probably (currently) get to more churches than some (I try to get to at least 3 each Sunday). I think Langholm and Dryfesdale are good examples of where memorials from several churches have been consolidated into a single local church so I feel comfortable that these remain safe.
Churches with a memorial on an external wall pose more of a problem - I am thinking of the closed church at Lochrutton and others still in use such as Balmaghie. In these cases the memorial is part of the fabric and is essentially in private hands on the exterior of the former church (now a house). One solution here would be to have the memorials grade C listed - does anyone know where this has been done?
Of particular concern is Greyfriars church in Dumfries which is closed for worship yet contains several memorials including laid up KOSB colours. The memorials are not accessible to the public and their future is uncertain but hopefully they will find their way into a local church in due course.
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dhubthaigh
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstly I think we are doing our bit photographing the memorials. I saw a recent thread on the GWF where a memorial had been stolen from a church in Middlesborough (thankfully retrieved) and everyone was panicking about a photo/image being in existence, at the very least. So we are, as far as possible, getting this done.

I have, for the most part, found that churches in catchment areas have been/are linked. If one has closed then the memorials are transferred to the 'main' church and hopefully that would continue to be the case.

I fear however that over time some memorials have been 'lost' and some initial research in my area will prove this unfortunatley.

For me getting round the churches, and there are many more to do, has been fascinating. What I've also found is that buildings now operating as church halls were formerly UF Churches and there are plaques hidden there - definately something to think about.
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Adam Brown
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gents

Thanks for the replies. I don't think there is a problem just now although I've come across memorials that were housed in churches left in museums since there was no other church to take them.

The problem is the museums didn't seem to care about what they had. In the next 20 years this may become more common and what is going to happen to unloved memorials then?

Adam
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Adam Brown
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is going to happen to stained glass windows? That's going to be a big problem. There is a case on the forum now of an Aberdeen church with a regimental memorial. It's been sold on as a church but the new church has no connection to the Regiment. It's going to take a lot of money to relocate them but where will that money be found?

Adam
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know about 3 stained glass memorials where the church has closed so these are possible ways forward.

1. Lauriknowe - the windows were moved to nearby Troqueer church

2. Craig Church - windows moved to Dunscore church, did not fit in frames so installed in a wooden frame in a cabinet with interior lighting

3. St Andrews, Castle Douglas - windows remain in former church (now a theatre), war memorial windows are in wooden frame in foyer, back lit and look fine. Other windows (not war memorial) are in situ and boarded up so cannot be seen at all, but at least they are there for some future generation to uncover.
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CSMMo



Joined: 20 Dec 2006
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Location: Oceanside, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting that this has been brought up. Because of the emphasis of this forum, I began to think of the church in Rothesay in which my grandparents were married and for which my great grandfather was an elder. It is still there, as a listed building, but it is shuttered up with grass and weeds growing through the place. It is referred to as the "Cat Church" because it seems to have been taken over by feral cats. I plan to contact some friends in Rothesay who are concerned about local history and ask if there is a memorial inside as well as what steps have been taken to preserve what is inside the building.
That's what forums like this one do to people - motivate them!
Thanks!

Mike Morrison
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Adam Brown
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea of mounting them in frames with backlighting is a very good idea. Perhaps this would solve the problem of the Aberdeen church windows? It would be a way of keeping all the items together in the new church. It all comes down to cost though.

I'd never heard of this before but it has put my mind at rest that there is a way of displaying memorial windows in other locations without having to fit them as windows.

Adam
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just seen this on the BBC site http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/6596531.stm it is about the closure of St Aidan's church in Galashiels. Don't have time to check myself, but have any memorials been collected for the forum? or moved elsewhere?
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Adam Brown
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

David recently posted several memorials from a Lanarkshire church. His post highlighted another problem that not only do merged congregations have multiple memorials but if they don't take a note of what a memorial is they may soon not be able to identify which memorial is which. Many church memorials don't actually mention which church it is for.

If anyone comes across this problem in a recent conversation with Spoons he pointed out that the memorials are actually the responsibility of the Session Clerk in a Church of Scotland. Hopefully the Session Clerk should know which church a memorial came from.

There was another point about where memorials of newly merged churches can and can't be placed. Hopefully Spoons can clarify this one.

Adam
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam Brown wrote:


There was another point about where memorials of newly merged churches can and can't be placed. Hopefully Spoons can clarify this one.

Adam

It was just something I heard when visiting a church (not from an authority) but I have not had it verified. What I was told was that it was now policy that war memorials should not be put inside churches. Presumably this does not affect those that are already there but it also means that if a church closes, there is a problem with re-siting the memorial in another church. I also don't know whether this ruling (if it exists) applies to the vestibule of churches.

I would be glad to hear anything further on the subject.

\Paul
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Adam Brown
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's now a year since this was last discussed. Do we know the official policy of the Church of Scotland on moving memorials when merging?

Adam
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spoons



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing I have been able to pin down.

\Paul
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Jim



Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 195

PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many years ago the Scottish Office used to maintain a register of houses for which the existing owner was looking to find a new user or keeper. It was mostly stuff like old signal boxes, semi derelict castles - that sort of thing. I nearly bought a former brothel and model lodging in Alloa for 5. The local authority architect reckoned it'd need 100k + to survive the next winter.

Anyway, the idea was to bring together those who might be keen to preserve things which the current owner couldn't afford to do.


Is there scope for a system such as this for memorials?


As a case in point, the Glasgow Police Museum is about to close. Where will the memorials go. Strathclyde Police HQ? Will they be accesible to the public?
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spoons



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An item I saw said that the entire contents of the museum is to go into long term store.

\Paul
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