The Mausoleum took part in the Inverness Doors Open day on Saturday 7th September. An excellent attendance was boosted by a local re-enactment group in full historic costume led by Paul Lang from Alba History in Inverness. Paul was dressed in 15th century half-armour with helmet and weapons that his wife Julia, also in 15th century costume, assisted with. They were joined by a Jacobite and a Redcoat in their respective outfits and weapons. Paul gave a fascinating review of the history of the Lovat Frasers and the Kirkhill area and the Redcoat Captain Ferguson gave a flavour of life in the British Army during the Jacobite period and afterwards, including the harsh life of the wives of soldiers who followed their campaigns. The group also answered many questions about the outfits and weapons from the visitors, both locals and those touring several buildings as part of the Doors Open Day.
Wardlaw Mausoleum Trust member Simon Fraser and local keyholder Erik Lundberg explained the history of the building to the visitors and gave them the opportunity to look into the Crypt and to climb the tower that gave an excellent view over the surrounding countryside. They were ably assisted by Freja Lundberg and her dog Pip. The event was definitely a success and it is hoped Paul’s group will be able to come back again next year.
The mausoleum is in Wardlaw Graveyard at the top of Wardlaw Road in Kirkhill. It was built as the burial place for the Lovat Frasers in 1632 on the end of the original parish church. The church was later demolished and the stone used to help build the current Wardlaw Church in the village. The roof of the mausoleum was raised and a tower added in 1722 by the then Lord Lovat, the ‘Old Fox’ of the Jacobite rebellion who was later buried in the crypt. It was used by the Lovats until the mid-19th century when they started using Eskadale Churchyard, between Beauly and Cannich. The building then fell into disrepair until the 1990’s when the Wardlaw Mausoleum Trust was formed to rescue it. This led to a restoration project with Historic Scotland and Lottery funding in 1995-97, led by local architect Fred Geddes from Newtonhill. Through their efforts this Grade ‘A’ listed gem of a building has been preserved for future generations to enjoy. The maintenance of the building depends on donations from visitors so please remember to contribute after you have been shown round and sign the visitor book. There are many names of ex-pat Scots from around the world in the book as well as tourists and locals, even the Kirkhill Cub Pack!
If you would like to look around the mausoleum contact Erik Lundberg on 831742 or call in at Pilgrim Cottage on the right at the entrance to the graveyard.