Statue to be repaired after vandalism

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MEASURES to prevent further vandalism of the Marquis of Montrose statue would be regarded with relief and reluctance, according to the former chairwoman of the Marquis of Montrose Society.

Robina Addison this week said she had been saddened by the most recent attack on the bronze statue of James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose, which occurred several weeks ago resulting in the loss of its sword blade.

She also said it was suggested to her that the statue be raised on a higher plinth to make it more difficult for vandals to reach.

She said: “The whole idea of it being at that level was so that people could see it properly and touch it, but if it’s going to prevent it being vandalised then it would be the only option.

“It had been quiet for so long I thought people were used to it being there and it wasn’t an attraction for vandals any more, but obviously the odd person creeps up now and again. It’s been done by some dope who doesn’t realise how much care, effort and money went into it.”

Mrs Addison chaired the now defunct Marquis of Montrose Society, a committee of volunteers established in 1999 with the specific aim of raising funds for the statue. The target of £30,000 was reached within a year and the statue by sculptor Michael Snowden was unveiled at Castle Place in August, 2000, by the marquis’ descendant, also James Graham, the 8th Duke of Montrose. The event coincided with the 350th anniversary of the marquis’ execution in Edinburgh.

The statue’s troubles began just a few hours after the unveiling when the sword’s scabbard was snapped off. Since then its spurs have also been removed several times and its left hand knocked off. The repair bills were met by Angus Council as the authority had taken on responsibility for its maintenance.

Mrs Addison said: “It would probably be reluctance and relief to see it raised. Reluctant because why should it have to be? Why can’t it just be left to grace the place it’s in? But I realise that people might want to do it again. Sometimes it almost makes you feel that you don’t want to look at it because of the parts that are missing and you know what it should look like.”

Reputedly born in Castlestead, now the Job Centre, in 1612, James Graham remains one of the most controversial figures in Scottish history.

He was one of the first signatories of the National Covenant against Charles I’s reorganisation of the Kirk in Scotland and commanded a Covenanter in the ensuring Bishop’s Wars. He later became disillusioned by the direction his political colleagues were taking and in 1643 he switched to the King’s side, raised and army and won six victories within a year, most against superior numbers. He was later betrayed after his defeat at the Battle of Carbisdale, captured and executed at Edinburgh’s mercat cross in 1650.

An Angus Council spokeswoman said: “Agreed repairs to the statue are in hand and will be carried out in due course.”