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Historic church window to shine a light on Inverness Castle transformation

The historic rose window was a prominent landmark in Inverness
The historic rose window was a prominent landmark in Inverness

An iconic ‘rose window’ saved from a former church in the Highland capital is being used in the transformation of Inverness Castle.

The attractive window has been held in storage by the local authority since it was removed from its original site on Inglis Street at the time of the Eastgate Shopping Centre construction in the 1980s.

The rose window was originally created for the Methodist Church in Inverness, built in 1867.

The cost of the gable end window – £1200 – is recorded in Highland Archive Service records as being ‘the gift of a friend’.

Later church records confirm that the benefactor was Mr James Keith, a bookseller from Dingwall.

Inverness Castle

In an obituary for Mr Keith in January 1897 he was described as “one of the most correct, attentive and upright businessmen in the North of Scotland”.

It went on to say that “though living a bachelor life and latterly very retired, no one in the town took so keen an interest in the poor of the place, and his ample means were employed, amidst the strictest secrecy to ameliorate their distress.”

His obituary in the Press and Journal underlined his role in public life, noting that “apart from his business affairs, Mr Keith during his long lifetime occupied a prominent position in the municipal and social affairs of Dingwall”.

It added: “He was for many years an active member of the Town Council and filled the office of Dean of Guild with much acceptance”

Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael said: “I am thrilled that the rose window will feature in the transformed Inverness Castle.

“This beautiful window is over 100 years old and has been in safekeeping until we could find an appropriate site for it within the city.

“With this prime site in the transformed Castle building, it will be seen by thousands of visitors from near and far for years to come.”

She added: “The Inverness Castle project is vital to the regeneration of our city centre and the wider tourism economy of the Highland region, creating a ‘must-see’ attraction that will draw visitors to the Highlands in future years.”

The transformation of Inverness Castle is supported by £15 million Scottish Government and £3 million UK Government investment through the £315m Inverness and Highland city region deal.

Eastgate Shopping Centre, Inverness

It aims to create a gateway for Highland tourism, contributing to reinvigoration of tourism across the area and providing much needed investment for the industry to aid the recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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