Moat Park Heritage Center – A Biggar Museums Trust Treasure
Located in the Lanark Area of Scotland, near the rural village of Biggar, Moat Park Heritage Center is housed in the beautiful old Moat Park Church, offering fascinating insight into the history and various aspects of life in Tweeddale and Upper Clydesdale. The office for the Biggar Museums Trust, which cares for Biggar’s multitude of museums, is also based at the remodeled church.
The Moat Park Church was originally built in the year 1865 and following extensive alterations, including the addition of an upper floor which extends around three sides of the building, the Moat Park Heritage Center was opened on 29 June 1988. Of the many disused churches in Scotland that have been converted to museums, the Moat Park Heritage Center is considered to be one of the most effective. The internal space has been utilized to its best advantage, while not sacrificing the beautiful aspects of the building, such as the stained glass windows lining the south wall.
Exhibits at the Moat Park Heritage Center include a series of superb detailed cutaway models of well known buildings in the area, each in their historic setting. Among these is a model of Boghall Castle, a Roman fort, farmsteads, cottages and loch dwellings known as crannogs. Alongside the model of the Roman fort is a life-sized figure of a Roman legionnaire, complete in battle dress and with a severed enemy’s head in hand.
In another section of the Moat Park Heritage Center visitors will come across a life-sized father, mother and child from the Iron Age. Dressed in hand-made woolen clothing and surrounded by an assortment of household objects, this family depicts aspects of daily life during that era. Other life-sized residents of the museum include King James II, Lord Fleming of Boghall Castle and Mary Fleming who was born in Biggar and later became lady-in-waiting to Mary Queen of Scots.
Numerous exhibits in this unusual museum cover a wide variety of topics, such as a collection of plates, chalices, a communion table and font, representing the history of churches found in the Biggar area. The collection includes the original Lamington Kirk bell which was made in 1545 and, after cracking, was replaced with a new bell at the church in 1843. Other exhibitions reveal interesting facts about the natural world and environment, the geology of Upper Clydesdale, transport, toys, tapestries and much more. A visit to the Moat Park Heritage Center is sure to be both appealing and informative for the entire family.