Attribution: unknown (Procession in High Street for Diamond Jubilee 1897)
The Triangle, Cadboll Place
A small triangular open space is situated where King Street and Stafford Street meet. The road on two sides forms Cadboll Place and the third side is part of King Street. The Triangle was renowned for the large old chestnut tree that occupied its centre and a copper beech planted in 1935 to commemorate King George V’s Silver Jubilee. Sadly, during 1999, a large limb of the chestnut tree broke off necessitating further surgery which inevitably changed the character of the Triangle, so it was decided to clear the area under the trees of all the shubbery, resow it with grass and plant daffodils to make a nice show in springtime. Hopefully the chestnut tree will recover in time and regain its former glory.
The Triangle after surgery.
The original Tolbooth was demolished after storm damage in 1703 but its bell, cast in 1630 by a Flemish bellmaker, Michael Burgerhuys, and an inscribed fragment of 1631, survive. The two-storey tower of the Tolbooth has angle bartizans and is topped by a squat, conical, stone steeple crowned with a weathercock. The round-arched ground floor entrance was created in 1848-49 when the tower was linked to the Courthouse by Thomas Brown, probably incorporating the 1840s prison cells built by A & W Reid. The clock faces and retaining parapet were added in 1877.
As part of their 9th Centenary Celebrations in 1966, Tain Burgh Council decided to construct a commemorative garden on what was formerly grounds, lying below the High Street, belonging to the National Commercial Bank. A competition was held for ideas which was won by Geoff Van Weegan. The design and work on the garden was carried out by the Burgh Surveyor’s Department. The ground was terraced and four rose bed areas were laid out, separated by paths and surrounding a sun dial (now gone), donated by local contractor, Mr. Alex Morrison. 900 roses (one for each year of the town’s history as a Royal Burgh) were supplied and planted by Cocker’s, Aberdeen, and the garden was officially opened by the Queen Mother who came to the burgh to open the 9th Centenary Celebrations. Although at first an admired asset to the town, drainage and soil problems and perhaps a decline in maintenance once the old Burgh Council was replaced by a more remote body, have seen a marked deterioration in the garden in more recent times. Plans are in the pipeline for the garden to be redeveloped but await the necessary funding.
Horse trough, Shore Road
At the top of Shore Road at the junction with Academy Street is an old stone horse trough which was mainly used by horses pulling the carts which collected goods from the railway station and delivered them to the shops and elsewhere. It was presumably placed where it was to refresh the beasts after their long haul up the hill from the station. It fell into disuse when the two horses were replaced by a lorry after the second world war. In more recent times it has served as a flower planter during the summer, supplementing the town’s other floral displays.
The Murray Monument and the bust of Kenneth Murray.
The Murray Monument was erected, in 1879 at the cost of £700 (collected by public subscription), to the memory of Kenneth Murray of Geanies who had been a very popular Provost of Tain. Among other deeds, he helped finance the restoration of the stonework of the old collegiate church in 1870. The monument stands in the High Street overlooking what is now the Rose Garden but was formerly the grounds of Commercial Bank of which he had been an agent. It is of Gothic design. Its spire, pinnacles and gables are decorated with crockets and finials. The marble bust under the central arch was sculpted by T S Burnett, a young Edinburgh sculptor.
The Rickety Steps
The rickety steps are situated off Ankerville Street just a little way beyond Knockbreck Street and link Ankerville Street to the Kirksheaf Road. The actual steps negotiate the steep raised beach scarp giving way about threequarters way down to a gravel path once the slope slackens off.
A small wooded section of the raised beach cliff on the south side of the Inver/Portmahomack road, where it crosses the slope diagonally on its way down onto the Fendom , is known locally as the Woody Braes although it is shown on an old six inch map as the Little Wood. It is a mixed wood of chestnut, fir, sycamore, lime and beech and the ground is covered with bluebells and primroses in spring. In the past, when children still went out to play, it was a favourite haunt of youngsters for gathering wild flowers and chestnuts and there would always be one or two ropes hanging from branches of the larger trees.
The Woody Braes from Kirksheaf Road.
Quebec Bridge probably took its name from Quebec Cottage located nearby. This cottage was built by a person with the surname Hogg on his return from Canada having fought at the Battle of Quebec. Hogg seems to have come originally from somewhere on the Moray Firth coast. It is not clear why he decided to settle here but he was supposed to have brought a hoard of coins with him from Canada. When he died it was believed that the residue of this “fortune” was hidden somewhere in or around the cottage but has never been found. One legacy he definitely left behind was the name “Quebec” which remains not only in the bridge and the cottage but in Quebec Avenue which lies off Scotsburn Road which led directly to Quebec Bridge before the by-pass was built splitting Scotsburn Road into two sections.
[Information supplied by Ken Mackay, the present owner of Quebec Cottage, June 2001.]
Quebec Bridge c.1920
Bank House, Tower Street
Bank House is a category B listed two-storey building dating from 1845. The architect, George Angus, constructed it of ashlar sandstone under a pitched and slated roof. It has fine features: moulded architraved windows, deep moulding eaves, cornices, string coursing and a classical pilastered entrance doorway to the front elevation. Internally, the rooms have ornamental moulded ceiling cornices in the main reception rooms, panelled doors with moulded surrounds, deep wall skirtings and shuttered windows.
The property was originally constructed for the British Linen Company (founded 1746) who were active in Tain from the time of their incorporation. In 1969 the British Linen Bank was taken over by the Bank of Scotland who subsequently relocated their Tain branch from the High Street to the Tower Street property. In 1995 the house was sold to Mr Derek Louden, with the Bank of Scotland continuing to operate a branch on the Tower Street site from an adjoining banking hall.