Cromarty East Church
We carried out the project to repair, conserve and regenerate the Category A-listed East Church - the historic place of worship of the Black Isle town of Cromarty - between 2008 and 2012.
The church was in a poor state of repair following decades of under-investment in maintenance, ineffective repairs, and work carried out using inappropriate and damaging materials. The fabric of the building, and the building’s contents, were also badly affected by age, general decay, and the prevalence of damp and rot.
For 8 years, we worked with local people and a team of professionals to limit further deterioration, highlight the plight of the building, fully understand its significance, and to develop a comprehensive scheme of work to rescue an important part of Scotland’s built heritage.
We secured grants of £1.3 million from the HLF, Historic Scotland, the Highland Council and others. Grant was also awarded by the Restoration Fund, the charitable wing of the BBC’s Restoration series, after the church reached the UK final of Restoration Village in 2006.
Work began on this complex and lengthy project in September 2008 and encompassed not only the extensive repair and conservation of the fabric of the building but also its contents and the surrounding graveyard. The project included training in traditional skills, an education programme for children, and a wide range of audience development activities. Local people were actively involved throughout the project, with regular site visits and guided tours to see the progress of work.
The church reopened to the public in April 2011, and in 2012 the conservation of the historic painted decoration in the church, including the north loft front and early 18th century painted pew, was completed.
The project transformed the East Church into an asset for the community: a place visited by around 20,000 visitors each year who come to learn about and enjoy the building. The church also hosts a wide range of activities and events and is a regular venue for the Black Isle Words Festival, the Cromarty Fiddle Festival and Cromarty Harp Village.