Library, the oldest purpose-built library in Scotland, was founded on the
collection of Robert Leighton, Bishop of Dunblane, 1661-1670, later Archbishop
of Glasgow, 1670-1674. In his will, Leighton left a sum of money for the
building of the library for use by the clergy of Dunblane diocese.
is situated close by Dunblane Cathedral and was built in part from fallen stone
from the nearby ruined Bishop's Palace. The total cost of the library was £
162-2s-6d. Leighton had retired to Sussex, where he died, and his books were
transported by horse and cart and by sea before being installed in the
completed library. The building is a two storey construction with the books
situated in a single room lined with presses on the first floor. This is accessed by the original external
staircase. The lower floor, or undercroft, originally functioned as the living
quarters for the first librarian.
originally housed the books bequeathed to it by Robert Leighton, numbering
around 1400. The original presses, above, hold Leighton’s
books. The third shelf down shows the 'paperbacks' of the time - i.e. books bound in vellum rather than leather.
Still to be seen in the library are
"Twelve chairs of turkie red lether",
part of the original bequest.
Leighton's books have been added to over the years so that the library now houses
around 4,500 volumes printed in 89 languages, including Greek, Persian, Syrian
Monument, immensely impressive on its wooded summit, is one of Scotland's best
known landmarks and a national icon. Those who paid for admission at the
visitor centre can ascend the tower via a spiral staircase, and see Wallace's
enormous broadsword and the superb views from the top.
Monument is situated on the top of Abbey Craig, overlooking the river Forth and
the Forth Valley. As we approached the mist was still hanging around the top of Abbey Craig. Only Stirling Castle, a few miles away across the river Forth,
makes a bigger impression on the area. Abbey Craig at one time was the site of
a hill fort and in 1297 William Wallace camped there before defeating the
English attempting to cross the Forth at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
is 220 feet high, 54 square feet at its base, with the tower 36 square feet.
The walls are 16/18 feet at their thickest, tapering to 5 feet thick at their
thinnest. It is estimated that there were in excess of 30,000 tons of stones
used in the construction.
The idea for
a monument to one of Scotland's National Heroes began in the 1830s on a
world-wide tide of Scottish nationalism. Sir Walter Scott was fanning these flames - he
had rediscovered the "Honours of Scotland" (crown, sword and sceptre)
in Edinburgh Castle in 1818, 111 years after they had been locked away after
the Union of the Parliaments in 1707. And
of course his novels had led to a re-awakening of an interest in Scotland's
A group of
prominent Scots formed a National Monument Committee in the 1830s. However, in
typical committee fashion, it took until the 1850s before serious steps were
taken to build a monument. Initially the preferred site was Glasgow Green.
However, on the instigation of the Rev Dr Charles Rogers, the chaplain at Stirling
Castle, the site at Abbey Craig was selected. Since 1709 the land had been
owned by the Patrons of Cowanes Hospital, a charity established in 1637.
Cambuskenneth Abbey (founded around 1147 by King David I) sits at the foot of
subscription was launched and a design competition was organised. The winner
was an Edinburgh architect, J T Rochead. When the foundation stone was laid in
1863, a crowd of 70,000 were present. But disputes amongst the National
Monument Committee members and financial problems resulted in construction not
being completed until 1869.
of the monument is in the Scottish "Baronial" style and represented a
Scottish Medieval tower, rising from a courtyard, with a representation on the
top of the Crown Royal of Scotland.
One of the
coaches visiting the monument when we called here.
Scotland last week we called at Sanquhar (pronounced SANK-er) Post Office, in Dumfries and Galloway Established in 1712 it is said to be the
oldest continuously operating post office in the world.
Alam, 73, a postal historian and stamp collector from Birmingham, took over as
postmaster in July 2015 when the post office came up for sale.
We went inside
and chatted to the postmaster’s very pleasant wife and daughter.
office was refurbished in 1997. To celebrate
the fact the Royal Mail presented it with a replica Victorian Penfold pillar
'...The 1711 Act also empowered the establishment of Cross Posts,
services between various towns, not on the main route to Edinburgh or London,
and Bye Posts, which served as feeders to and from the Post Towns.
The men who carried the mail on foot were known as runners and they
received fixed payments that, in many cases, were substantially greater than
the salaries of the postmasters – an interesting reflection of relative values.
One of the earliest Cross Posts that was established was between
Dumfries and Ayr, up the Nith Valley via Sanquhar ( pronunciation : SANK-er)
This service was apparently established in 1712 and it would have been
at this time that the present post office in Sanquhar started its long career
as a change-house, where the runners rested and were refreshed, and exchanged
mailbags before starting on their respective return journeys back to Dumfries
or on to the next stage at Cumnock.'
"Sanquhar Post Office, The Oldest Working Post Office in the World"
(2005) by Ken Thompson, owner and manager of the Sanquhar post office for 17
years. I bought a copy of this book at
the Post Office and it is quite fascinating.
post office is this blue plaque.
This is Sanquhar’s
18th Century Tolbooth, now a museum.
Thanks for stopping by! Would you like a cup of tea or coffee? And please, sit for a spell. If you enjoy my posts, please feel free to follow me or subscribe to my blog. This is a word verification free, family friendly blog, so everything I share here is for all ages. I am a happily married man in my late sixties who lives on the Wirral peninsula, near Liverpool, in the UK.
I'm a blogger - and nowadays that seems to be my main occupation. Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. There is a saying in Sweden "man måste vara frisk för att orka vara sjuk" ~ "you have to be well to cope with being ill"....
I enjoy most forms of communication and postcards are a special favourite. Scriptor Senex is Latin for Old Writer. My real name is John but I've almost forgotten that nowadays...
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)