A group of North American Turnbull Clan members have been visiting Scotland. On Sunday 18th June, a glorious sunny day, they visited the village of Bedrule. They were joined by Jane Bower, Chair of the Campaign for a Scottish Borders National Park, and Roger Curtis, an expert on ancient buildings and local resident who has been advising the 12 Towers of Rule archaeological exploration. They looked around the Bedrule Kirkyard, deciphering fading names on old gravestones, then admired the stained glass window in the Kirk, which had been funded by a Turnbull donation. A touching Church of Scotland service in Bedrule Kirk was conducted by Reverend Rachel Wilson, then everyone walked along the line of cottages to Bedrule Hall.
Tea and biscuits were accompanied by an update on the ongoing archaeological exploration from Roger Curtis. Roger then led the group across the field to the site of Bedrule Castle, explaining how it might have looked, and pointing across the river to the field in which local legend claims that the bull was turned, saving the life of Robert the Bruce.
A morning to remember. However, one worrying piece of news – Bedrule Kirk and several other small churches in the valley of Rulewater are under threat of being sold by the Church of Scotland in a few years’ time. They now each hold very occasional services on a rota. The maintenance costs have become unaffordable and it has been decided to consolidate the congregations and sell buildings which are not used.
The discussions have started about alternative uses for the buildings. They hold an important place in the hearts and minds of their communities, both local and worldwide. They are part of the story of these communities. They are not suitable for conversion to houses. It might well be possible to set up a community trust and to raise enough funds to take them into it. But they would have to find uses which could cover the cost of fulfilling their new purpose, and also ongoing maintenance costs.
Is there a way that they can continue to be part of the story of the Valley of Rulewater and Teviotdale?
If you have any ideas please join the discussion below