Historic rose window saved from local church to be incorporated into Inverness Castle transformation

The rose window in its home in the now-demolished former church on Inglis Street. Credit: Am Baile/HLH/William J. Bethune

A historic rose window saved from a local Methodist church is to be incorporated into the interior design of the transformation of Inverness Castle.

The window has been held in storage by The Highland Council and its predecessor local authorities since it was removed from its original site 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 Highland Archive Service has the gable end window has the cost of the window recorded as £1,200. Later church records confirm the benefactor was Mr James Keith, a bookseller from Dingwall.

In an obituary for Mr Keith in the Inverness Courier of January 1897, he 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.”

Inverness Castle is currently undergoing a major project to turn it into a ‘gateway for Highland tourism’. Backed by £15 million in funding from the Scottish Government and £3 million from the UK Government, the project will bring a cafe, viewing terraces and other facilities to the 11th century castle.

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.”