Dated stones in Kirriemuir

Cumberland Close, where the 'TAIP' stone was located before the area's redevelopment.
Cumberland Close, where the 'TAIP' stone was located before the area's redevelopment.

The stone was featured on page 23 of Sandra Affleck’s brilliant publication, ‘The Little Red Town’ and indeed Sandra kindly gave me the drawings used in the publication, which assisted in tracking it down.

The stone was located high up on the gable of the old Regal Cinema building which was pulled down as part of the 1990s redevelopment of the central area of the old town. The craft centre has its own dated stone showing 1994.

We were told at the time of the demolition that, despite our local protests, the stone which had previously been reused in the rear wall of the old cinema at the back of Rodgers Close and had the inscription, ‘TAIP 16.5.8’ would be safely returned as part of the completed project.

Angus Council and the architects’ arrangement to incorporate the stone as part of the Cumberland Close development never happened, but after 20 years of asking the council’s collections officer, he has now told me he arranged for the stone to be transported to the museum in Kirrie where it is on display, and accessible again to be viewed in its home town.

Cumberland Close, between High Street and Crofthead, was known in the 1850s as Lindsay’s Close and is now the home of Kirrie’s ‘Walk of Fame’ and Millennium fountain.

Sandra Affleck says in her book it is a dated lintel and it would indicate that this area of the town had buildings earlier than the cinema, in which the stone had been reused.

By definition lintols are horizontal pieces of stone, wood, metal or concrete spanning an opening, but, as this stone is only 22 inches long and 8 inches in height, it would not have been long enough to span any opening, so I believe it is just a dated stone.

As to the inscription on the stone. What does it mean - TAIP 16.5.8? The museum staff consider it may have been a marriage lintol, like the one in the Kirkwynd, which was renewed in 2008. That clearly marks the marriage of ‘IF’ to ‘BF’ in 1688, as it reads ‘IF 16 88 BF’ but marriage stones are more usually the initials of the forename and surnames of both parties and interspaced with the date of the nuptials.

There is supposedly another marriage lintol in the Kirkwynd ‘J7 IB IR 50’, but it cannot currently be seen, as it is believed to be behind an old facia board. Maybe that will be the next project, for Kirrie folk to uncover it and tell that story.

Yours aye,

The Orraman