Campbeltown Cross


Completion Date:


Building owner/client:

Argyll and Bute Council

Architect or lead designer:

Graciela Ainsworth Sculpture Conservation

Local Authority Area:

Argyll & Bute

Nominating Body:

Campbeltown Community Council

Project Description

Campbeltown Cross was carved on Iona in the 14th Century.It is an outstanding work of art and the town’s greatest archaeological asset. It commemorates a priest named Ivor McEachern and his son, Andrew who commissioned the monument. It stood originally in Kilkivan churchyard, Machrihanish and as with many mediaeval monuments, the Cross was mutilated during the religious strife of the Reformation. It was brought to Campbeltown at some time after the reformation as a market cross and stood outside the Town Hall. It was removed for safekeeping during the second world war and re-erected at New Quay Head.
The Cross had deteriorated over the years, becoming cracked and covered in lichen and algae. The bronze plaques had been covered in verdigris and the railings were in a very poor state. Local CARS Officer James Lafferty approached Campbeltown Community Council in 2019 to see what could be done. Surveys were commissioned and when the estimated costs were identified Campbeltown Community Council started fundraising. Historic Environment Scotland were very supportive and in September 2020 work commenced by 2 conservators from Graciela Ainsworth to restore the Cross. By November 2020 the works were completed transforming the condition of the Cross, the sandstone steps of its octagonal base, the protective railings and the original bronze plaques. In addition an illustrated interpretation board was attached to the railings, three new heritage bench seats were purchased and whisky barrels donated by 2 local distilleries were planted with flowers. A short documentary film was produced by a local video producer, Robert Western and posted on You Tube on 12 February 2021.

Supporting Statement

Campbeltown Cross is a hugely important landmark in Campbeltown. In 1700 the local population gathered at the Cross to witness the town proclaimed a Royal Burgh.
It has a special place in the hearts of the local community, a respect observed by its circumnavigation following weddings and funerals. Campbeltown Community Council recognised its importance and undertook this task of raising funding. £18,235 was raised from a wide variety of local and funding organisations and as well as the main Conservation work carried out by Graciela Ainsworth, local contractors were hired to provide and erect scaffolding, clean and repair the sandstone steps, refurbish the existing railings, install new floodlighting and design and install an interpretation board.
A small ceremony was held on 12 Nov 2021 due to the COVID restrictions still in place. Local historian Angus Martin unveiled the interpretation board and local video producer, was commissioned to record the project which can be viewed on youtube.
Campbeltown Community Council are grateful to James Lafferty, local CARS Officer whose knowledge and experience led him to identify the contractors who could carry out the works and our role was to raise the funds required.
The Community Council is indebted to Historic Environment Scotland, Campbeltown Common Good Fund, Machrihanish Airbase Community Company, Kintyre Antiquarian Society and Campbeltown Rotary Club, all of whom donated funds recognizing the importance of conserving the Cross. In addition, Glen Scotia, Springbank and Glengyle distilleries donated whisky barrels to be used as planters.
In addition to the specialst skills of Conservators Eric and Leire from Graciela Ainsworth Campbeltown Community Council would like to thank and congratulate local contractors Ian Wishart, Graham Powell, Archie Johnston, Neil Galbraith, Gordon Bennie and Robert Westerman on their high level of craftsmanship.
We are all very proud of our Cross and thanks to our community working together have ensured that is has been preserved for future generations.