HG Kirkconnel Set in Stone

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					Example of a Heritage Grants project
Project Title: Applicant: Grant Awarded: Grant programme: Project Duration: Kirkconnel Set in Stone Kirkconnel Parish Heritage Society £132,000 (45.8%) Heritage Grants December 2004 to February 2007 (2 years)

The ‘Set in Stone’ project which took place in the Upper Nithsdale area of Dumfries and Galloway had two parts. The first involved the repair and conservation of the remains of old St Conal’s Church and Kirk yard and included the preservation of headstones, re-location of carved stones to a commemorative wall and interpretation of its history. Archaeological investigations of the remains of the Kirk yard, believed to date back to the 9thcentury, established its significance as the centre of the original settlement of Kirkconnel. The second part of the project involved the construction of a 15 mile heritage trail which highlights change through the ages by focussing on geological features between the villages of Kirkconnel (coal) and Wanlockhead (lead and coal). The trail has been way-marked using stone cairns and geological information is displayed on interpretation boards together with links to other heritage sites - including St Conal’s Church and Kirk yard.

How the project met our aims?

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Information and interpretation: An interpretation board, including a map of the site and inscription of the stones, was erected at the Kirkyard. The carved stone expert from the Council for Scottish Archaeology (now Archaeology Scotland) provided guidance to the project’s volunteers as to the best way to present this information publically. Standing stones were erected as way markers on the heritage trail displaying information relating to the site, local heritage and geology. A booklet, CD and website were also developed and a geological education pack was produced for local schools. Training and new skills: Volunteers received training on archiving material, digital photography, recording headstones and assisting with the development of the heritage trails. Events/activities: Site visits to the kirkyard were organised for community groups and schools. A programme of guided walks were also developed along the heritage trails.


The project preserved the remaining headstones in the kirkyard and recorded the inscriptions. The boundary wall which was badly damaged was taken down and rebuilt and the carved stones in the wall were recovered and conserved.



20 volunteers were involved in all aspects of the development and implementation of the project. In addition, local school children participated in researching the history of the area, producing a geology education pack and designing promotional materials. The programme of site visits to the kirkyard and guided walks along the heritage trail also helped to open up heritage to a much wider audience.

Benefits for heritage
• • • Repair and conservation of the ruined Kirkyard of St Conal’s Church. Research and interpretation of the history and folklore of the church and of St Conal (very little was previously known). Permanent record of the project archived at Historic Scotland, the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historic Monuments in Scotland (RCAHMS), the National Museums of Scotland (Carved Stones Decay in Scotland project) and Dumfries & Galloway Archaeology Department.

Benefits for people
• • • • New skills and training opportunities for 20 volunteers. Also included the involvement of elderly ex-miners in recording the geology of the area and the participation of local schools. Creation of three new jobs in an area with one of the highest unemployment rates in Scotland. Increased awareness and knowledge of local heritage among schools, students and the wider community as well as improved access to local heritage sites. A permanent heritage trail (to be maintained by Dumfries and Galloway Council) and interpretation boards as well as related CD, booklet and website (

Lessons learnt
• • Importance of seeking early advice, involvement (and where appropriate, funding) from relevant heritage agencies (e.g. Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Scotland, Council for Scottish Archaeology and Dumfries and Galloway Archaeologist). The need to allow enough time and contingency to cope with difficulties associated with a predominantly outdoors project in a rural location, such as unpredictable weather and getting equipment and materials to isolated sites over difficult terrain.

The budget
Main project costs Capital Costs: Repairs and conservation Building works (e.g. paths) Professional fees Equipment/materials Vehicle (hire) Activity costs: Staff/recruitment Training /travel Overheads/stationery/venue hire Promotional materials Other costs: Non-cash contributions Contingency VAT £ Funding Leader+ (EU funding) 19,721 Scottish Natural Heritage 29,262 Historic Scotland 10,686 Non-cash contributions 9,126 Solway Heritage (Landfill Tax) 10,692 Dumfries and Galloway Council Kirkconnel Parish Heritage Society 97,139 HLF grant (45.8%) 5,999 Total costs 26,011 7,995 37,690 12,716 21,061 Note: These costs are from 2004 £ 58,245 40,000 2,000 37,690 10,000 7,000 1,162 132,000 288,097

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