David Urquhart legacy allows preservation of Kinloss Abbey

Kinloss Abbey - legacy allows work to continue (pic: Patsy Goodsir)
Kinloss Abbey – legacy allows work to continue (pic: Patsy Goodsir)

A LEGACY TO the trust formed to help in the preservation of one of Moray’s most famous landmarks has allowed immediate emergency repairs to be undertaken.

While Kinloss Abbey is under the ownership of Moray Council, the Kinloss Abbey Trust was formed several years ago by concerned local people in order to conserve these ancient buildings.

Earlier this year, following ongoing lobbying by the Trust, Moray Council had agreed to fund the cost of erecting scaffolding and carrying out urgent repair work around the prominent tower which is a feature of the Abbot’s House at Kinloss Abbey.

That ensured that the tower did not fall down as a result of frost damage and that a Feasibility Study could be undertaken by a consortium led by Nick Brown, a well-known local architect and planner, to discern the best use for the Abbot’s House in the future.

However, when the scaffolding was erected recently it was discovered that the building was in a critical condition and thus the extent of the works needed to make it safe was much greater than was first envisaged, resulting in higher costs.

The Council’s Administration discussed the latest development at their meeting earlier this month and agreed, albeit reluctantly, that with the current difficulties with the Council budget they could not justify any increased expenditure, even if it meant the imminent collapse of the ancient tower.

Now it has been revealed that Moray businessman David Urquhart, who sadly died earlier this year, left a substantial legacy to the Kinloss Abbey Trust. That allowed the Trust to offer Moray Council the additional £6000 required to complete works on the Tower.

Chair of the Trust, Kirsteen Metcalfe, said: “As a result of David’s benevolence these emergency repairs can take place so that Nick Brown and his team can undertake the Feasibility Study safely.

“Now the Abbot’s House can hopefully one day be further developed by the Kinloss Abbey Trust, with the important support of the Friends of Kinloss Abbey, so that the Abbey can be enjoyed by more people in the future.

“Kinloss Abbey Trust are always eager to encourage local people to join in to help conserve this important building.

“This outcome is a fine example of a local, voluntary group working together with the Council and its officials reacting quickly and generously to a compromise solution put forward by Councillor Anne Skene’s.

“This is an outcome made possible only because of David and Sheila Urquhart’s marvellous support for local causes in Moray.”