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21 December 2022

Conservation measures commence at Dunblane Cathedral

Families urged to come forward to help identify gravestones at Dunblane Cathedral

Man in white hard hat with Historic Environment Scotland logo inspects a memorial stone. The stone has string tied around it.

Works have commenced on the stabilisation, repair and re-erection of gravestones at the main entrance to Dunblane Cathedral.

The work, which is being undertaken by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) staff with specialist training in gravestone and monument inspection, will see repairs undertaken to improve access to the graves and the wider cathedral grounds.

The work will continue in 2023 on gravestones around the main entrance, with works progressing to secondary entrances and pathways.

HES has carried out inspections of 595 gravestones at Dunblane Cathedral, with more than 130 to date identified as dangerous and requiring repair. This is as a result of a number of factors, including age and exposure to the elements.

Responsibility for the maintenance of memorials lies primarily with the lair owner or family. To help progress the repair program HES is appealing to owners of memorials to come forward.

While some owners have been identified and are arranging repairs, HES is keen to involve the local community further in helping to identify more owners, as well as interpreting and recording the memorials in the graveyard to support the essential work being carried out.

HES is prioritising stabilisation works to memorials posing the greatest risk to the public, and some access restrictions are currently in place for health and safety reasons until repairs are completed. As these works are carried out, HES will continue to review the extent of the fenced areas to see where this can be reduced in order to lessen the impact of the access restrictions, with a rolling programme of phased repairs being undertaken.

Jessica Hunnisett, District Surveyor at HES, said:

We’re pleased to be able to start work on repairing some of the gravestones within Dunblane Cathedral. We are prioritising memorials which pose the greatest risk and those which affect access to the cathedral.

“We know that the community is very keen for access to be reinstated and owners who are concerned that their memorials may be affected are encouraged to come forward and discuss how we can assist them in progressing repairs.”

Paul Nelson, Dunblane Development Trust, said:

“The restored 12th century Cathedral is the centre of historic Dunblane, alongside the 17th century Leighton Library and Museum buildings. It is critical, for the businesses that operate in Dunblane High St, that the Cathedral is accessible and visitors are encouraged to come to the Cathedral and Dunblane. We are, therefore, glad that HES has commenced this work in the grounds of the Cathedral and look forward to the rapid completion of the improvements.”

Ailsa Gray, Chair, Dunblane Community Council, said:

“We welcome the fact that work has started and look forward to working with HES in the interpretation and recording of the ancient stones hidden beneath the surface. Such discoveries will underline Dunblane Cathedral’s position as an ancient monument of national importance.”

If your family plot is affected by safety closures, please email memorials@hes.scot or 01786 823 388 to discuss the condition of the memorial and arrange repairs if necessary.

More information about our approach to gravestone and monument inspections and repairs can be found on our Graveyard Inspections page.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
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For further information, please contact:

Laura Ely
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Mobile: 07834 708611