Alness Old Parish Church
Within the burial ground of Alness is the roofless remains of Alness Old Parish Church which is thought to have been reconstructed in 1775 and which was unroofed in 1970. Occupying a commanding site overlooking the Cromarty Firth, it is one of an important grouping of distinguished Post-Reformation churches of the eastern seaboard of Scotland. Originally, the church would have been the focus of a medieval settlement before the town of Alness moved eastwards leaving the church, manse and former glebe isolated.
Whereas it was one of six priority sites which were identified in the audit of historic kirkyard buildings in Ross and Cromarty previously commissioned and undertaken on behalf of the Trust, Alness Old Parish Church had been the focus of attention and resources by the Trust since 1998 when the Trust submitted a proposal to the owners, the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland to carry out a feasibility study to establish whether there was a viable new use for the building and whether it was repairable and to enhance the understanding of the cultural significance of the building. To assist it further in arriving at an understanding of the significance of the site, assess its condition, risk and accessibility with a view to identifying priorities for action towards its conservation, consolidation and interpretation in partnership with the local community, the local heritage group, Historic Scotland and The Highland Council, the Trust has over the years commissioned a series of studies:
- Outline Conservation Statement (January 2002 revised May 2002)
- Feasibility Study (June 2002) (at the request of the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland, HBPT commissioned a feasibility study to establish whether there was a viable new use for the building and whether it was repairable and to enhance the understanding of the cultural significance of the building)
- Fabric Inspection Report (February 2005)
- Conservation Report on Carved Stones (June 2005)
- Advisory Report on Conservation of Fabric (June 2005)
- Archaeological Desk-based Assessment (July 2005)
- Preparation of Audience Development, Access and Interpretation Plans (September 2005)
- Conservation Plan (December 2005)
- Highland Kirkyards Project (March 2010) - Ross and Cromarty
- Options Appraisal Phase One - Architect's Report, Measured Drawings and Condition Reports for 6 Kirkyards (March 2012)
- Interpretation Plan (March 2012)
- Cost Report (March 2012)
Following on from and on the basis of the Options Appraisal, the Trust is currently seeking funding to:
- Prepare the necessary works on site by removing vegetation, thereby preventing further damage from root systems
- Carry out more detailed repairs
- Develop an interpretation strategy
The project should ensure the rescue of Alness Old Parish Church in accordance with the Architect's Report, Measured Drawings and Condition Report which formed part of the Options Appraisal.
An application was submitted by the deadline of 31 July 2014 to Historic Scotland for an Ancient Monuments Grant. We have been advised that our application has ben received and it, along with the others in this round, is being assessed. When the assessment process is complete, we have been advised that we will be informed of the outcome.
|Leslie F Hunter Architects||Architect and Lead Consultant|
|Addison Conservation and Design||Conservation Engineers|
|Torrance Partnership||Quantity Surveyors|
|Rowan Tree Consulting||Interpretive Consultants|
|Andrew Wright||Architect and Heritage Consultant|
The Trust is grateful to Historic Scotland, The Highland Council, and the Highland Leader Programme for the support received in respect of the various studies undertaken so far.