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 to 1639.
By 1842 sufficient funds had been raised by public subscription to erect a monument overlooking the town. 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. However, 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 had come loose and 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.
As in the mid-19th century, Gatehouse turned to the public to help with the fundraising and thanks to the generosity of the local community and of people from across the world, as well as many local and national bodies, the funds were secured to fully restore the monument.
A tender procedure was carried out under the direction of conservation architect Michael Leybourne of Savills and work began in late September 2017, when Luce Bay, the construction firm appointed to carry out the restoration work, was able to strap the top courses of the monument. This saved the monument from imminent collapse and made it safe for the restoration work to begin in June 2018.
Once scaffolding had been erected round the monument, the top eight courses of stone work were carefully taken down, numbered and rebuilt. All the loose mortar from the rest of the monument was raked out and the structure re-pointed. Work was completed at the end of August 2018.
Thanks are due to: Heritage Lottery fund; Stewartry Area Committee; Cardrona Charitable Trust; John Younger Trust; Charles Skey Charitable Trust; Galloway Association of Glasgow; Scottish Covenanter Memorial Association; Galloway Preservation Society; Gatehouse Community Council; Murray Usher Foundation; and many individual donors
A short film made using a drone to assess the damage to the monument.
A short film recording the restoration of the monument.