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Ancient Mausoleum Receives First Funding Award

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given the green light to Argyll Mausoleum Ltd to work up plans to restore the ancient Mausoleum located next to St Munn’s Church in Kilmun, it was announced today (12th April 2010).
Argyll Mausoleum KilmunThe HLF first-round pass* means that Argyll Mausoleum Ltd can now progress to the second stage of the HLF application process. They have up to two years to submit more detailed plans and apply for the £240,000 of HLF support that they are seeking for their £750,000 project. The application for HLF funding was prepared by Argyll Mausoleum Ltd with the assistance of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
The Argyll Mausoleum is one of the least known but most significant historic sites in Argyll and potentially in Scotland. The site is the burial place of the Earls and Dukes of Argyll from 1455 or earlier until 1949. The Mausoleum was built in 1790 and houses some of the remains of earlier Earls and Dukes and their families as well as most of those from 1790 until 1949. The current Mausoleum replaces an earlier private chapel built around 1660; prior to that, burials were below the floor of the Church. The Mausoleum was last renovated in 1890 by the then Marquis of Lorne, subsequently the 9th Duke, when the amazing cast iron dome was installed. Since then, the condition of the building has deteriorated and there is now a substantial risk to both the building and the unique artefacts it contains unless major renovation works are urgently carried out. Kilmun is also the resting place of General Sir John Douglas of Glenfinart.
The renovation plans include not only the restoration of the building and artefacts, but also the building of a visitor centre and the opening up of the Mausoleum to visits by the community, schools and tourists. The project also involves archaeological and historical research on the site, which may well date back to the 6th century and have links to both the early Celtic church and to the Viking period.
Argyll Mausoleum Ltd is a company limited by guarantee which has been set up by the Benmore & Kilmun Community Development Trust, with involvement of the Church of Scotland, Argyll & Bute Council, Argyll Estates and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
Commenting on the award, Dinah McDonald, Chair of Argyll Mausoleum Ltd, said “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this first round award. We will now be able to move ahead rapidly to the next stage of our project, which will eventually involve applying for funding from a number of sources, including Argyll & Bute Council. Once we have completed this phase later this year, we should be able to announce a date when the Mausoleum will be open to the public for the first time since it was constructed more than 200 years ago.”
Jim Mather, MSP for Argyll & Bute, commented: “I am delighted to see this progress; as always, it is no surprise to discover that this has been a direct result of committed local people acting in concert and keeping at it. I wish them well."
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, added: “This building is steeped in Scottish history and is held dear by the local community. We are pleased to be able to give our initial support to a project which will see it preserved and opened up for people to enjoy.”
The news was also welcomed by Councillor Bruce Marshall, Chair of the Bute and Cowal Area Committee and a long-standing campaigner for the Mausoleum’s restoration. “This is a major step forward for what is one of our most historic sites, and a real vote of confidence in the merits of the overall proposal,” he said. “I started the quest to save this building some years ago, since when Benmore & Kilmun Community Development Trust has taken up the campaign to secure funding. I am absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has now confirmed its initial support. Everyone associated with the project will now be working very hard to draw up the more detailed proposals.”
For any enquiries please contact David McKenzie at Argyll Mausoleum Ltd on 07850 676574 ordjmck@btconnect.com

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