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Getting to know... Lisa Snedden

A blog post by Lisa Snedden

Lisa Snedden
Our Heritage, Our Future Coordinator

Posted 22/07/2021

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Over the past few months our Heritage Officer Lisa Snedden, has been working with Cumbernauld Old Parish Church on a project looking at the history of the people and places in Cumbernauld Village. So far this has involved online talks and sessions but with the easing of lockdown restrictions she has been able to get back out and work with the community in person. Here she reflects on how things have changed.

 

Before the pandemic I barely saw the inside of the office, I was usually out and about working with communities helping them explore their heritage. Not being able to do this for over a year has been tough, although online engagement was enjoyable it just isn’t the same! So, with the easing of lockdown restrictions, I have now been able to run ‘in person’ sessions again. I started with a gravestone recording session at the Church in Cumbernauld Village. But it wasn’t business as usual, things have had to change to make sure the sessions are safe - my kit has never been so clean and I’ve not been able to welcome as many participants as usual. It’s not just the practical elements, sometimes the most rewarding parts of a session was chatting over a cuppa during the tea break, something I am not able to safely offer at the moment.

There has been a place of worship on the site in Cumbernauld Village since the 12th century when the Comyn family built a motte and timber castle and a chapel here to secure their lands. Surrounding the church there is a Kirkyard with the oldest standing stone dated 1654 with some written records showing the kirkyard was in use during the plague of the 1500s.

We are carrying out a survey of the stones to record the inscriptions and to assess their condition. We learned more about how environmental factors and human interventions can cause damage to stones through an online talk delivered by Clara Molina Sanchez, Head of Applied Conservation, and Olga Marzantowicz, Stone Conservator, both with Historic Environment Scotland.

Having attended the talk with Clara and Olga, it was really interesting to then go out into the graveyard and being able to identify the damage to the stones. Some are totally unreadable now because of weathering or because they are covered in moss and lichens which will only worsen with the effects of climate change

Session participant

The information that we are gathering about the condition of the gravestones will be kept with the local archive. Records of the inscriptions will be collated and made available online for people researching their family history.

 

These sessions are part of our Place-making Through Heritage project. This is a three year project which supports communities to actively engage with and explore their local heritage. The project is funded by Historic Environment Scotland.

Find out more about the project and how you can get involved.

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