The transformation of Inverness Castle will see the historic ‘rose window’, saved from a former Methodist church in the city, being incorporated into interior design for the building.
The ‘rose window’ has been held in storage by the Highland Council and its predecessor local authorities, supported by the Inverness Common Good Fund, since it was removed from its original site in a former church on Inglis Street at the time of the Eastgate Centre construction.
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.
In an obituary for Mr Keith in the Inverness Courier of January 1897, Mr Keith was described as ‘“one of the most correct, attentive and upright business men 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.’
Further information from Mr Keith’s obituary in the Press and Journal underlines 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. He was for many years an active member of the Town Council and filled the office of Dean of Guild with much acceptance.’
Provost of Inverness and area, Councillor 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. 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 Inverness and Highland city region deal.
It will 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. The project will support economic growth throughout the Highland area, creating a sustainable, viable attraction that will celebrate the spirit of the Highlands.
The Inverness and Highland City Region deal is a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.