Wells and Water: A research project .  Click on the pdf to read the paper.  Comments and corrections are always welcome.  (

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Memorial to Grantown's Banks.  Click here for the full article (26/03/2021)

Grantown Heritage Plaques

A salutary tale of firewood:December 2020

  Five dead trees in the Square have now been felled and the timber removed.  We hear that the larger pieces will be saved for future use once seasoned.  The smaller pieces are for firewood to be gifted to those most in need.  In 1886 there was similar situation when the old church of Inverallan was demolished to make way for its grander replacement. 

The Grantown Supplement of Saturday, March 13, 1886 reported: 

The demolition of the old church of Inverallan was begun on Thursday.  It was first gutted of its woodwork, and an invitation issued to all and sundry, to come and help themselves to firewood.  The invitation was eagerly responded to.  The spectacle was amusing in the extreme.  All the boys of the village appeared present and busy.  Here a buxom dame from the Back Street, with strained muscles and flushed face wheeled an overloaded barrow homeward.  There, a plucky old fellow whose age would be about contemporary with the building of the church, totters along with a heavy beam upon his shoulder, and is nearly tripped up by an eager damsel fresh from the scene with empty barrow.  The barrow in an incredibly short time is well loaded and being hurriedly trundled along the avenue.  One was overheard remarking that the pile was a "godsend" in such weather, and he seemed bent on having his full share of it.  One Free Church worthy appeared satisfied with a small piece of wood as a relic of the building in which he was baptised, and in which he worshipped in the summer of his days.  The scramble will probably be repeated when the building is unroofed in a day or two.

The Grantown Supplement of Saturday, March 20, 1886:

The Old Church. - The remainder of the woodwork of the old church was placed at the disposal of the villagers on Saturday last.  The invitation was, we understand, meant for the "poor and needy" of the town, but many took advantage of the invitation who would, in other circumstance, resent being placed in this category.  This fact caused a good deal of indignation, both among the onlookers and among thos ewhose legitimation portion of the wood was lessened thereby.  The proceedings were watched with amused interest by a large number of persons.  The ardour exhibited was declared to be greater even than the previous distribution.  In about 20 minutes the huge pile disappeared, and scarecly enough remained to make a snuff box for "Bengolopin".

September 2020

The Grantown Society appoint TGP Landscape Architects to assist with the 3A's project (short for Active, Accessible and Attractive Grantown).

July 2020

The Grantown Society is awarded funding for Stages 0 and 1 of Sustrans Places for Everyone Project 

"Active, Accessible and Atractive Grantown"

Castle Grant Owner to stand trial over £8m alleged fraud. 

Noted from the Herald of Saturday May 9 2020

Sergey Fedotov who purchased Castle Grant for £1m in 2014 is now again being held in custody in Moscow.  "The 42-year-old businessman has already served a prison sentence for £3.6m property fraud that he comitted while head of the Russian Authors' Society".  He was sentenced to 18 months in prison but released on parole after serving just 6 months  "He has now been accused of embezzling £8m of funds from the organisation, which collects royalty payments on behalf of authors."  Mr Fedotov put the castle up for sale for offers over £850,000 in 2018 but it has since been taken off the market.   Mr Fedotov has insisted Castle Grant was bought lawfully and said the purchase was modest as the castle was only worth the price of a modest flat in Moscow.   In 2015 he allowed the castle's grounds to be used for a massive banquet and concert to mark the 250th anniversary celebration of the foundation of Grantown.  The previous owner was Craig Whyte who "bought it for £720,000 in 2006 but fell into arrears with the £7,000 a month mortgage.  The Bank of Scotland took legal action to recover it after his Ibrox reign ended.  In 2018, he was cleared of charges related to his takeover of the club.

The Grantown Society who ran the 250th anniversary festival also provided considerable information to help Mr Fedotov bring the interior back to its original state.  Subsequently the Crown Office sought information from the Society about how the money given to the Society by Fedotov for the celebrations was spent.

At various times the Society has presented the story of the castle to audiences at their winter meetings and now have a file of information on Castle Grant and its story.

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May 8th Nwewsletter

Dear Members and Friends,

 These troubled times have brought both sadness and joy: sadness at the loss of life, of individual misery and the loss of employment and business; Joy through our communities’ resilience and the opportunities for some of us to take daily walks, runs and cycle trips in , for the large part, glorious sunshine on near empty roads and paths enjoying all that nature in the spring has to offer.

 The dearth of traffic and increase in daily exercise resonates with one of The Grantown Society’s current projects. We have just submitted a community partnership bid to become part of Sustrans’ Places for Everyone programme. This will provide funding towards creating safer, more interesting and accessible routes to access schools, shops and other key locations. The programme will also look at how parking can be rationalised. The aim is for a healthier and safer environment and an “active, attractive and accessible” Grantown.

 Our second big project is our offer to acquire premises in the High Street as a “Community Hub”. [possible confusion with the Community Centre… an appropriate name will be needed. Grantown Hub or perhaps Grantown Compass] This will help meet some of the challenges faced by the community and identified by several local consultations. We are delighted to say that the Scottish Land Fund has awarded us a five figure sum and an invitation to tender for full purchase funding. The stage one funding enables us with a consultant to engage in full consultation and create a feasibility study and business case.

 Both of these projects will provide useful knowledge and understanding and hopefully lead to full implementation. Bothe will involve many community groups and individuals and we invite everyone one of you to take part. Our proposed Community Hub will include the base for our long-standing project to create free public Wifi and integrated social media. Cupar in Fife, whose system is up and running, has been extremely grateful for their all-inclusive digital network during this crisis.

 Despite the difficulties of social isolation we continue to work on our Town Trail project. We do still await permission from four property owners and the manufacturing form is temporarily closed down. At the same time we are working on a series of Heritage Trails leading from the town which will ultimately be available, virtually and in hard copy.

 It looks as though the Fiddler of Strathspey Festival which we run will not be able to go ahead as planned. Nevertheless, we are having discussions about how to share live traditional music in different ways and in different venues. We shall also run our “cardboard orchestra” competition.

 Also a possible casualty is next Winter’s programme. However, we propose to host suitable on-line presentations in September, October and November 2020 and, circumstances permitting, full open meetings in January, February and March 2021.

 In amongst all these activities we are leading on a Conservation Area Management Plan with the National Park and Highland Council. We are also working on our collection of resources to make them more accessible and useful as for example in out Town Centre project on our website.

 All of these activities are time intensive and as always offers of help will be greatly appreciated.

 The Grantown Society, founded in 1974 as a local history society has run almost 300 open meetings. It has now become a major force in Grantown’s continuing story. In modern parlance we are a “community heritage” organisation. To match this we are proud to say we are now registered as a charity. This will require some alterations to membership but we retain our same aims and enthusiasms and belief in the uniqueness and importance of this community.

 Thank you for your continuing support and for your efforts to bring new members into the fold. Feel free to share this letter.

 Yours,  Stay well and stay safe.


 The Grantown Society (SCIO)
Charity number SCO50104

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  The Grantown Compass - first iteration January 2018

  Compass: Community Engagement.  30 June 2019

Spread over three days and three venues, Grantown’s regeneration project, the “Grantown Compass” got off to an impressive start last weekend. The events, initiated by The Grantown Society, were actively backed by the Grantown-on-Spey and Vicinity Council, The Scottish Civic Trust and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Strong support was also voiced by Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Development Trust Association Scotland, MPs and MSPs. Although he couldn’t be present, Drew Hendry wrote, “It really does sound like a fantastic initiative”.

 Spread over three days and three venues, Grantown’s regeneration project, the “Grantown Compass” got off to an impressive start last weekend. The events, initiated by The Grantown Society, were actively backed by the Grantown-on-Spey and Vicinity Council, The Scottish Civic Trust and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Strong support was also voiced by Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Development Trust Association Scotland, MPs and MSPs. Although he couldn’t be present, Drew Hendry wrote, “It really does sound like a fantastic initiative”.

 The theme was simply, “answers on a postcard please” as a way of eliciting community ideas on how the town can be improved for residents, businesses and visitors. As starting points there were some 20 questions covering four major themes, supported by a great deal of visual evidence.

 On display, also, were plans for “Rails to Grantown”, the Grantown Community Centre, Grantown’s proposed allotments, the Health Centre and the Ian Charles, the cycle route from Dulnain to Grantown and the newly adopted Grantown Conservation Area. An interactive map of the Square offered the opportunity to propose and discuss possible solutions to parking and creating a more cyclist and pedestrian friendly environment. Advice and information was available from Elaine Richardson of the Civic Trust on potential funders and ways forward and Paul Harrington on access to the Scottish Land Fund.

 Over the three sessions there was a great deal of interest and positive discussion along with numerous very positive ideas and solutions. Bill Sadler commented, “The event demonstrated the wealth of ideas within the community and an enthusiasm for sharing plans and creating a comprehensive design for Grantown’s future.” “There is an urgent need, however, to put in a bid for a share of the £10m HIE Land Fund purse which will be allocated on a first come first served basis.” “This is, of course, just the start of the project and we should be spurred on by the thought that there could be at least eight empty shops and businesses on the High Street by the end of this summer!”

The Grantown Society is extremely grateful to all those who took part and to the Community Centre, The British Legion and the Grant Arms for their hospitality.” Further copies of the themes and questions can be accessed and further comments and suggestions submitted by emailing


In August 2019 The Grantown Society made the momentous decision, that, given finance and a feasible and sustainable plan it would consider acquiring property in the town for the Community.  One of the town's prime needs is to have a thriving, vibrant, accessible and attractive High Street with few if any empty shops.  The Society has been working with the Scottish Land Fund and looking at several potential premises.  Right now the bank offices look to have a lot of potential and wide community consultation is beginning.

March 26th 2020.  An aplication has been made on behalf of the community for funding from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) to provide technical assistance prior to a further bid in August for SLF assistance to purchase the bank premises.

1765 Plan for James Grant of Grant's new town in his own hand.  The site marked was designated for the town's first inn - except the innkeeper had other ideas!  Instead it was let to a merchant, David Stalker, who built a house there.  During the years 1865 -1867 the Caley Bank, which had been established in the town in 1839, built a new bank on the site.  In 1907 the bank, having merged with the National Commercial, was been taken over by the Bank of Scotland.  In February 2020 the closure of the Grantown Branch was announced.

Town Trail Project is a Go!

The Grantown Society receiving their award from The Co-operative for their Town Trail Project - The Town Trail plaques can now be organised and hopefully will be in place in the Spring.  Note:  This is delayed as the sign manufacturers have had to close because of COVID 19

Digital Grantown February 2018

From Town Drummer and Bellman to Universal Digital Connectivity  

The Grantown Society is well aware of both Grantown’s present strengths, weaknesses and potential: a knowledge enhanced by the recent eight day event in the community centre and the current Conservation Area Appraisal.  The Society has an impressive view of the town’s past through research and collection over its forty plus year existence. Now Society Members have developed an exciting and practical vision for the future of Grantown as the capital of a digital Strathspey thanks to a new award for inclusion in Scotland’s Digital Town’s Pilot Programme delivered by the Scottish Government and Scotland’s Towns Partnership.

Digital Dustbins …. What next?

Following an application last August, the Society’s award was announced in November as was the project’s main recipient, The Highland Council, who propose town Wifi for fourteen towns and villages; including Aviemore – (but not Grantown).  This month (February 2018) two Society members attended an information seminar in Perth outlining the Digital Scotland Pilot Programme. They also had discussions with Simon Baldwin (Destination 66), Richard Watson (Rapier Systems), Stuart Black (Director of Development and Innovation, The Highland Council) and Keith Grant (The Highland Council’s Principal Project Officer). The vision is for extensive public WiFi in Grantown and Mid-Strathspey along with a complete management system to make full use of this for the benefit of the whole community; residents, businesses and visitors.  The vision is for a fully managed, easily accessible system including instant detailed business and heritage information discovered simply though point and click with an enabled mobile phone.  It will enable promotion of local businesses and visitor opportunities - from business details to walks and tours, from up-to-date events to environmental information, from services to sites of interest.  It would link existing websites and sources of information, make available mailing lists and local news, provide opportunities for marketing and the promotion of offers.  It could support a local gift card – a pre-paid visa card with which users could make purchases in participating businesses and provide a bonus similar to Grantown’s recent successful “Gold Rush”.   It would provide data which could be used to view footfall, visitor numbers and origins, traffic flows, etc. and thus help future planning.  In all it could provide greater civic pride and connectivity, increased economy and heightened destination awareness.  There are plans which would link the surrounding villages to the Grantown hub, creating a “Digital Improvement District”.  Currently, though the exact nature of support is not yet known, the vision is exciting, promising an enhanced future for the town, alongside other projected local developments.  

Bill Sadler, The Grantown Society February 2018  


Society AGM (Sept 2017)  

For the first time in its 40+ years the Society is holding its AGM at lunchtime.  It will be incorporated into the Richard Waitt Conference to be held on September 15th.  (See events)  


Fiddler of Strathspey Festival  (June 2017)  

The Festival has been acknowledged as a great success and is featured on the cover of this month’s Box and Fiddle Magazine.  The Society has agreed to back moves to run monthly meetings of a local traditional all-age-all-ability  music society. The festival now has two festival partners.  Grantown East: Highland Heritage and Culture Centre, & the Ben Mhor Hotel. Support is also generously provided by Tasgadh, The Hope Scott Trust and the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation.  


Grantown Street Parade and Grantown Past to Present (May 2017)  

These wonderful resources have been donated to the Society which is deeply grateful to Harley and Cally Miller whose hard work  created the project.  


Conservation Project (May 2017)

The first meeting of a steering group was held on Thursday 9th March 2017.  The steering group consists of the Highland Council Conservation Officer, representatives from the Grantown Initiative, the National Park Authority, The Grantown Society, Highland Council and the Grantown and Vicinity Community Council, and is chaired by a member of Voluntary Action Badenoch and Strathspey.  


 Newspaper Digitisation  (May 2017)  

The Society now holds digital copies of early Grantown Supplement and Herald.  Thus research on any topics can be done at any member’s leisure by buying or borrowing a copy on a memory stick.

 Contact :  


Birth of the Modern Highlands   

A Grantown Society publication   (April 2017)

 This much acclaimed and beautifully illustrated publication was developed from an exhibition in 2007 by The Grantown Society in association with Grantown Museum and Heritage Trust, based on contemporary evidence from Strathspey and to a lesser extent, Badenoch and Skye. The exhibition later went on to tour the Highlands. Original and meticulous research was done by members of the society. Copies can be obtained from The Bookmark, Grantown, Grantown Museum and Waterstones,Inverness. Price £12.99.

Or by post from. - Bill Sadler, Murree, Woodside Avenue, Grantown PH26 3JN   :