Major programme of restoration and repair set to start at Rosslyn Castle

Friday September 23rd 2022

Aerial view of the Great Hall and Tower as it stands today.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

A major program of restoration and repair at one of Midlothian’s most historic sites is about to get underway. Bonnyrigg-based construction company, John Dennis & Company (Scotland) Ltd, has been appointed as the main contractor for the work at Rosslyn Castle and were given possession of the site this week by Rosslyn Chapel Trust.

Rosslyn Castle, just a short walk from Rosslyn Chapel, was built by the St Clair family and the oldest parts date back to the early 14th century. Although much of the site is ruinous, the East Range, developed as a domestic residence and completed in 1622, is still partly occupied and let as holiday accommodation. However, some parts of the East Range, the former Great Hall and Tower, have remained in a ruinous state, leading to further deterioration including to the three levels of vaults below ground level.

A permanent roof will be built to cover the former Great Hall, to protect important masonry carvings, and the three levels of vaults below. This will also allow a new kitchen and living area to be created at ground level and an additional bedroom to be located in the former Tower. Work will also include the upgrading of the energy efficiency of the whole building and the development of a new sustainable heating strategy.

Rosslyn Castle is category A-listed, recognizing its architectural and historic character and its grounds are designated as a Scheduled Monument. The Castle is in the care of Rosslyn Chapel Trust and the East Range has provided self-catering accommodation, through a partnership with The Landmark Trust, since the 1980s.

The program of work is scheduled to last for over a year and access to the ruined areas, and the bridge leading to the Castle, will not be possible during this time.

Ian Gardner, Director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: ‘We are delighted to be at this very exciting stage when work is about to get underway. This project will help to conserve the East Range of Rosslyn Castle for future generations to appreciate and will transform the quality of the experience for guests staying here. In short, this work will secure the long-term future of one of Midlothian’s most historically significant buildings.’

An artist’s impression of how the castle will look once the work is completed.

Rosslyn Chapel Trust has commissioned PagePark as architects to oversee the work. Karen Nugent, of PagePark, said: ‘Rosslyn Castle is a special place nestled in the tranquility of Roslin Glen and we are very pleased to continue our conservation work here with Rosslyn Chapel Trust. The project is a unique opportunity to add a new layer to the historic building and to pioneer sustainable heating systems in a protected setting.’

Stewart Cairney, Managing Director of John Dennis & Company (Scotland) Ltd , said: ‘As a company with our roots in Midlothian, John Dennis & Company (Scotland) Ltd are delighted to be awarded the contract for this exciting and prestigious conservation project on the historic Rosslyn Castle. We are looking forward to working with Rosslyn Chapel Trust and the rest of the team in delivering this project that will ensure the Castle is preserved for future generations to enjoy.’

Rosslyn Chapel Trust was established in 1995. Since then, it concluded a 17-year program of conservation at Rosslyn Chapel in 2014 and completed a two year program of conservation and repair at Collegehill House, the former 17th century inn which stands at the entrance to the Chapel, in 2018. The Trust is a charity, registered in Scotland, number SC024324.

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