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Tain's history as a pilgrimage centre and its links to Stuart monarchs to be remembered at special events in the Easter Ross town; Earl of Moray expected to attend

By Philip Murray

Tain Church
Tain Church

REGAL connections to an Easter Ross town and its history as a centre of pilgrimage will be remembered at special events this weekend.

The Tain and Easter Ross Civic Trust is set to welcome the current Earl of Moray to the Collegiate Church in Tain on Saturday.

John Douglas Stuart, who is the 21st Earl, is a descendant of the Stuart kings, who played a major role in developing Tain as a pilgrimage destination. The first Earl of Moray, who was Regent of Scotland, also donated the pulpit in the Collegiate Church to Tain.

The special day, which will run on Saturday, will start when the Earl is given a guided walk around buildings of interest in Tain, followed by lunch with invited guests at the Royal Hotel.

At 2pm, there will be a public talk in the Collegiate Church by Philip Ward about the history of the building, the Stuarts and their connection to Tain. A Papal Bull from 1492 will also be on display. The Earl, who welcomed the trust to Darnaway Castle last autumn for a guided tour, will then give a short address on their visit and the connections of his ancestors to the Collegiate Church.

On the same day the trust is also sponsoring an open day at the Tain Museum, which will be open to the public for free from 10am to 5pm.

Other activities include an exhibition about the Maitlands, the local architects who designed many fine Tain buildings including the Royal Hotel, Picture House, Knockbreck School, and Sheriff Court among others. There will also be a small display about progress on plans to re-open the Picture House, a project in which the Civic Trust is a partner

The Collegiate Church, built between about 1370 and 1458, was the third of three buildings in Tain connected with St Duthus, and successive Stuart monarchs came to worship at his shrine. In 1458 James II endowed a chaplainry for the saying of masses for the souls of his parents and wife. James III, who visited Tain, endowed another chaplainry in 1482 and five years later requested the Pope to confirm Tain as a Collegiate Church.

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