January 2020

Newsletter – January 2020

I am delighted to tell you that work has started on the arches at the Abbot’s House.  The works are necessary to reduce the risk of these ruins collapsing and initial work involves ivy clearance and timber shoring to the incomplete remains of the two stone vaults that support a first floor masonry stack.  The temporary shoring will allow the upper portions of the ruins to be safely inspected with a view to further, more permanent consolidation work later.

Most of last year was taken up with identifying the most vulnerable part of the building by Nick Brown and his team, surveying and getting all the various permissions required from Historic Environment Scotland and Moray Council.  The project was put out to tender and the contract given to Masonry and Lime who started work in December.  They have installed limecrete pads which will support the wooden beams which will go in hopefully this month given clement weather.

Highland Archaeology Services have been involved all along inspecting debris from within the vaults and main drain and have taken this picture.  They have found one or two small interesting items but hope to discover more as work goes on.

We have been supported by a generous grant, funded by Moray Council through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund who have shown great interest in the work and also by the Architectural Heritage Fund.  The Trust will continue to pursue funding as there is still an enormous amount of work to do at the Abbot’s House. Saving the northern section of the Abbot’s House is important because the fragmentary remains contain valuable evidence and information about the Abbot’s House design, layout and connection to the main Abbey refectory and dormitories.  The Abbey is believed to have developed over several centuries, culminating in the final refurbishment and extension by Abbot Robert Reid in the mid-16th century prior to the Abbey’s post Reformation demise.

In other news, the Foraging afternoon at the Abbey with Anna Canning, an ethnobotanical researcher of Floramedica in Edinburgh, was fascinating.  It was well attended as was her extremely interesting talk on the Plants of the Monks of Kinloss Abbey in the evening at Findhorn Church.  The good news is that she is coming back in May bringing with her Dr Brian Moffat.  Dr Moffat worked on the Soutra mediaeval hospital site researching the significance of plants and seeds found there during archaeological excavations. We hope to have an event at Kinloss Abbey in the second week in May to coincide with another Foraging Fortnight.

Trustees have given conducted walks over the summer which again have been well attended.  It is hoped to continue this in 2020.

There was an outdoor ecumenical service in the Abbey ruins in September led by Rev. Dr Hamilton Inbadas from St John’s Church, Forres.  It is hoped to make this an annual event.