Tayside and Central Scotland

Family promise to rebuild Historic Scone Palace archway

16th century arch debris. Pic by James Cook
Image caption The arch was destroyed after the van being driven by a contractor crashed into it

The family which owns Scone Palace has pledged to rebuild an ancient archway which was demolished when a van crashed into it.

William Murray, the master of Stormont and son of the 8th Earl of Mansfield, said experts would assess the damage.

The 16th century arch marked the approach to an Augustinian abbey which once stood in palace grounds.

Mr Murray said he was hopeful that modern technology would mean the iconic stonework could be saved.

He added: "Things have already swung into motion. Historic Scotland and our own architects and engineers will have a good look at it."

The immediate response would be a "gentle clear up operation" he said and then a "proper survey before gradually piecing it back together".

Visitors entering Scone, the ancient crowning place of Scottish kings and original home of the Stone of Destiny, would have passed under the archway for hundreds of years.

But on Monday afternoon, just before 1300 BST, a large van smashed through the stone.

'Quite hopeful'

Mr Murray is a direct descendant of David Murray of Gospetrie, the 1st viscount Stormont, who oversaw construction of the arch around 1590.

Mr Murray said: "At first we didn't understand the extent of the damage.

"There was a van sitting there about 10 metres through the gate covered in dust. I walked around the side. It was very odd, suddenly seeing two towers with no arch.

"We were shocked and disappointed."

Two crests which were inset into the arch both came crashing down.

Image caption The arch as it looked before the van drove into it

The van is understood to have been driven by contractors picking up a marquee which had been used for the weekend's Perth Hunt Ball.

A photograph of the scene shows the ground strewn with large chunks of stone and the vehicle slumped on its axle.

No-one was injured but estate managers said they were devastated.

The route under the arch is supposed to be a no-go area but it is believed to be used illicitly as a shortcut into the grounds.

Public access to the palace and its grounds remains unaffected by the incident.

Mr Murray is a direct descendant of David Murray of Gospertie, the 1st viscount Stormont, who oversaw construction of the arch around 1590.

He said he was hopeful that funding would be available "from somewhere" to help with the reconstruction adding "we are actually quite hopeful with modern technology".

Scone Palace managers are also understood to be examining the insurance options and have not ruled out legal action.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites