Could the Declaration be coming home?

Arbroath Abbey Timethemes re-enactment of the Signing of the Declaration of Arbroath is one of the highlights of the annual Tartan Day Scotland Festival

Arbroath Abbey Timethemes re-enactment of the Signing of the Declaration of Arbroath is one of the highlights of the annual Tartan Day Scotland Festival

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With the Declaration of Arbroath being recognised as a UNESCO Moment of the World the Angus South MSP has requested that the current copy go on display in the town.

Graeme Dey MSP has asked Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture Tourism and External Affairs, to explore the possibility of placing the contemporary copy of the Declaration of Arbroath on display in Arbroath Abbey.

This follows the announcement this week that the Declaration has been afforded UNESCO Moments of the World status.

Mr Dey said: “The news that the Declaration has been recognised in this way is extremely welcome and vindicates the many years of campaigning, involving many different people, to have it’s important place in history formally acknowledged.

“Previous appeals to have the copy placed in some kind of more permanent viewing setting – hopefully at the Abbey - have been rejected on the grounds the document is in an extremely fragile state and therefore requiring of considerable protections.

“Given however, the recognition now being afforded it I have asked Fiona Hyslop that this issue be re-visited.

“Not only would it be entirely appropriate that so significant a piece of Scottish, indeed world, history is available to be seen by the public, if it were to be located, even temporarily, in Arbroath that would potentially provide a considerable tourism and economic boost to the area.

“At very least I would hope consideration could be given to putting the contemporary copy on display in Arbroath in the lead up to and during the 700th anniversary celebrations in 2020.

“We now have the Arbroath Abbey 2020 Group – comprising Angus Council, Historic Environment Scotland, Visit Scotland and various others, including myself, – working to deliver a fitting build up to and celebration of the 700th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration at the Abbey.

“Having the contemporary copy on show at the Abbey would be of huge help to those efforts.”

The original Declaration was taken to Avignon and was subsequently lost. The copy currently resides in a carefully controlled environment at the National Records of Scotland.