MORE action needs to be taken to safeguard the ruined Auld Kirk and graveyard in Selkirk, claims a campaign group working to preserve the memory of martyred Scottish patriot Sir William Wallace.
Both the Auld Kirk and associated graveyard are B-listed, but have been on the Buildings at Risk Register for more than a year. Maintained by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland on behalf of Historic Scotland, the register describes the condition of both the ruined kirk and graveyard as “poor”.
Although the kirk dates only from the 17th century, experts believe there has been a church on the site since the Middle Ages.
The connection with Wallace, commemorated by a plaque, stems from his appointment as Guardian of Scotland in 1298, which reputedly took place in the church, known as the Kirk o’ the Forest.
A scene depicting this ceremony, which followed Wallace leading a Scottish army to victory over English troops at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, can be found in the Oscar-winning 1995 movie Braveheart, starring and directed by Mel Gibson. That particular building was demolished in the 16th century and a new structure erected. By 1747, the congregation had outgrown this and therefore the kirk, which is now ruinous, was built. This became redundant in 1861 when St Mary’s West church in Ettrick Terrace was built as the new parish church.
Duncan Fenton, convener of the Society of William Wallace, wants to see something done to rectify the condition of the ruined church and graveyard.
“Places like the Auld Kirkyard in Selkirk are very important because of their association with Wallace – even the places which have tenuous links with him,” Mr Fenton said. “We just can’t afford to lose any, basically, and it would be a tragedy if such sites were lost to the public.”
Scottish Borders Council heritage officer Mark Douglas says the gravestones and mausolea in the kirkyard are the responsibility of the descendants of those buried there, but the ruined kirk has been included in a successful bid to Historic Scotland for the Selkirk conservation area regeneration scheme.
“But this scheme has not yet kicked off and we will need to do some work to agree responsibilities for work to the ruin, but this is definitely on our radar,” he said.
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Weather for Selkirk
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South east