16 October 2019Cancellation of meeting on 17th. October

We apologise. The talk on, “Healing Wells”, 17th. October is cancelled. Our speaker is not well and has apologised for not being able to perform.

09 October 2019Meeting Thursday 17th October 2019

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Healing wells —Their contemporary use, history and folklore

In 1571 the Scottish Parliament passed an act, forbidding people from making pilgrimages to Healing Wells (also known as Holy Wells and Clooty Wells). In 2005, it was estimated that there were in excess of 80 thousand votive offerings at three surviving wells in the Highlands of Scotland, and this in an area with the full range of health services and a deep respect for organized religion in the form of the Christian faith. In the first instance this talk will pay attention to what they have survived, this includes:

  • The Christianisation of Scotland,
  • The Protestant Reformation,
  • The Enlightenment project,
  • The ‘medicalisation’ of the Highlands of Scotland, and finally,
  • The wells have survived increasing urbanisation.
In addition this talk will give examples of the contemporary use with interpretation of these sites.


Roddy McKenzie retired in 2017 after 38 years as a mental health nurse. He moved to this area in 1990 living in Inverness before moving to Evanton in 1997 where he still lives. In 1991 he had his first encounter with a clooty well (at Munlochy) and that sparked an interest which, allied to a deep interest in spiritual care within health care, led to his PhD research which examined the relationship between the contemporary use of healing wells and nursing care.

Cromarty History Society meets in the West Church Hall, Cromarty at 7.30pm on the the third Thursday of each month, September - April.

12 September 2019Meeting Thursday 19th September 2019

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Archaeology and the historic environment — in Scotland’s National Forests

Forestry and Land Scotland archaeologist Matt Ritchie describes the various aspects of his role within Scotland’s newest agency. A range of illustrated case studies will explore the protection, conservation and presentation of the historic environment on Scotland’s national forests and land. From research and record, through conservation and protection, to learning and interpretation, the various case studies will include the terrestrial laser scanning and historic archival research at the 19th century farmstead of the Wee Bruach in Loch Ard Forest; landscape scale conservation management of the WWII coastal crust in Lossie Forest; creative archaeological visualisation at the Iron Age hillforts of Dun da Lamh in Strathspey and Castle Hill at Glentress; and exploring the Neolithic in Scotland’s native woodlands using The First Foresters learning resource. Illustrations will include laser scans, done-based photogrammetric terrain models, artistic reconstructions, abstract linocuts and even DIY Very Archaeological Cut-Outs.

Matt Ritchie is the archaeologist for Forestry and Land Scotland, one of a team of national environment advisors providing advice and guidance in relation to the protection, conservation and presentation of the environment on Scotland's national forests and land. His particular interests are the methodology and visualisation of archaeological measured survey; the potential for place-based archaeology within schools and outdoor learning; and the integration of archaeology and the historic environment within wider land management and the ecosystems approach. He describes his role as to ‘top and tail’ projects: assessing cultural significance and identifying opportunities; developing and commissioning work; and communicating the results to wider communities of interest.

Cromarty History Society meets in the West Church Hall, Cromarty at 7.30pm on the the third Thursday of each month, September - April

11 September 2019Groam House Meeting September 26th 2019

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We have been asked to advertise the Groam House Lecture on “Landscape Photography — The Black Isle and Beyond” by Karen Thornburn on 26th. September.

26 August 2019Groam House Meeting August 29th 2019

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We have been asked to advertise the Groam House Lecture on “No 42 Satellite Landing Ground, Fortrose — often referred to as RAF Blackstand ” by Bill Campbell on 29th. August.

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