Rutherford monument project
Fundraising began in 1838 to build a monument at Gatehouse of Fleet in memory of the Rev Samuel Rutherford, Minister in the parish of Anwoth from 1627-1639 and later Professor of Divinity at the University of St Andrew and Principal of St Mary’s College. Samuel Rutherford was a major figure of 17th century Scotland, who is still relevant to us today. By 1842 sufficient funds had been raised by public subscription to erect a monument overlooking the town of Gatehouse of Fleet.
The contractors were J and J Stewart of Gatehouse. As well as a memorial, the monument soon became an important beacon for shipping in the Solway. In 1847 the Rutherford monument was destroyed by lightning. A local press report stated that it 'lay shattered into fragments'. By 1851 funds were again in place to rebuild the monument and the work was carried out by Robert Hume, the Gatehouse builder responsible for the Ross and Ardnamurchan lighthouses.
In recent years the top courses of the monument have come loose and by this year it was in imminent danger of collapse. In response to concerns expressed to Gatehouse Community Council, the Gatehouse Development Initiative took on the task in 2016 of raising the necessary funds to make the monument safe again and also to restore the memory of Samuel Rutherford.
As in the mid-19th century Gatehouse has turned to the public to help raise the necessary funds and thanks to the generosity of the local community and of people from across the world, as well as from many local and national bodies, the funds are now in place, not just to restore the monument but also to improve access to it, to install new signs, to prepare a trail leaflet but also information boards to be placed in the Mill on the Fleet. There will, too, be an event to celebrate the life and work of Samuel Rutherford.
Work began in late September 2017, when Luce Bay, the construction firm who will carry out the restoration work, brought in two heavy duty cherry pickers to strap the top courses of the monument. This will save the monument from imminent collapse and will also make it safe for the restoration project.
This web site will maintain a diary showing progress on the project, post a gallery of images and provide more information on the life and work of Samuel Rutherford.
The Rutherford monument project has been made possible by the generous donations of over a hundred people and by the kind support of the following bodies:
Heritage Lottery fund
Stewartry Area Committee
Cardrona Charitable Trust
John Younger Trust
Galloway Association of Glasgow
Scottish Covenanter Memorial Association
Galloway Preservation Society
Gatehouse Community council
Murray Usher Foundation