The complex project will see vital repairs to St Brandon’s Church, Inverbwindy

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Securing long-term stability for St Brandon’s churchyard in Inverboyndie is a priority this year for Aberdeenshire Council’s Historic Asset Management Project (HAMP).

St Brandon's Church in Inverboyndie
St Brandon’s Church in Inverboyndie

The project outlined its plans for next year at the Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee meeting that met this week.

Aberdeenshire Council has a statutory duty under health and safety and heritage legislation to keep the historic structures on its property safe and in good order.

Since 2013 HAMP has carried out vital work on many of the area’s 500+ non-operating historic assets in the council estate including church ruins, historic churchyards, spires, memorial fountains, war memorials, carved stones, stone circles and the castle. antiquities.

The assets were first surveyed between 2014 and 2015 with a Repair Priorities Plan in place to focus limited financial resources on critical repairs and maintenance.

During the meeting, the councilors heard that the main focus this year will be St Brandon’s churchyard which is a complex and challenging project.

The kirkyard is a category B listed site and the remains of the church are a scheduled monument.

In 2015, part of the rubble making up the burial vault was fenced off as it was deemed unsafe, and in 2019 part of the boundary wall collapsed, grating was put in its place and a Heras fence erected.

The wall had previously been raised in height and a concrete abutment had been built to support the wall so this problem had been developing over a number of years.

Consultants have been appointed to investigate the cause of the damage and suggest a long-term solution to the problem.

The HAMP Project Board has agreed to investigate all possible channels around matching financing with a long lease of adjacent land to achieve a successful solution.

Local councilor Glen Reynolds said: “I am delighted to see that the council is prioritizing work on St Brandon’s churchyard.

“Apart from its fascinating history, it really is a resting place to die for.

There are first-rate views along the Murray Bridge, towards Banff and beyond and enough time on your hands to contemplate the eternity, for sure.

“For those of us not quite ready for the journey towards eternity, the Council is rightly looking towards ensuring this site is preserved and protected so that it is safe for all to enjoy a walk across and along the Boyndie Burn.

“It is a museum in itself that depicts the connections with historical crafts and crafts through artwork and tombstones that are a testament to our proud local coastal communities.

With a history from the 13th century onwards into the Middle Ages, I am hopeful that the vision of the Council’s Historical Assets Collection will be realized and that the necessary funding will be found.

Well done HAMP team and all they achieve for us and for generations to come.

Meanwhile, depending on progress at Inverboyndie, additional work may take place on a number of sites during 2023-24 including –

Scheduled approval for the memorial is now in place to allow for repairs to Elphinstone Aisle, Kildrummy.

Scheduled memorial approval is being submitted prior to work for wall reinforcement and roof repairs at New Aberdour in St Drostan.

Repairs to the walls of the tombs at Lumphanan, Ordecoil, Kenellar, Bethele and Forglen.

The James Hunter Fountain in Banchory will be rebuilt at the new entrance to the cemetery just off the A93.

Working alongside colleagues in the Archeology Service, the HAMP Project Officer is also resuming work after the Covid pandemic to fund new and replacement interpretation panels at council-owned historic assets and other sites of historical interest.

Council Member John Crowley
Council Member John Crowley

Commenting on the meeting, Cllr ISC President John Crawley said: “It was heartening to hear so much praise and thanks from Board members today for the great work our very small Historic Assets team is doing on such a tight budget.

“Protecting and preserving our historic structures – whether those be cemeteries, castles, monuments or war memorials – is crucial and it is great to see the team working so hard to keep them in such good condition.”

Cllr Vice President Isobel Davidson added: “Historic assets are a huge part of Aberdeenshire’s heritage, its rich history and, of course, its staff, I am delighted to hear that the HAMP team regularly inspects these assets to ensure priority is given to those most in need.

“Not only do they conduct rigorous surveys and administer work contracts, but they also seek external funding streams to support the cost of this vital business – a real accomplishment for this small but highly dedicated team.”

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