Grand Designs: Time Travel Special

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Grand Designs: Time Travel Special:

In creating his Citadel in Ayr, Oliver Cromwell requisitioned the church of St. John’s in its’s centre. He compensated Ayr by paying for (the now) Auld Kirk to be built.

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It is daytime outside the Auld Kirk of Ayr in 1652. Presenter Kevin McCloud walks along the river Ayr.

KEVIN:

“Hi, I’m Kevin McCloud and on this latest episode of Grand Designs, we’ve come to Ayr, Scotland. We’ve also come to the year 1652. Oliver Cromwell has decided to build a new church near the town’s centre after he seized the original church to be used as a military stronghold. We caught up with Oliver before we came to Ayr to look at how the construction is coming together.”

Kevin is now standing in a large grand hall, next to a painter working on a portrait of Oliver Cromwell on a while stallion. In front of them Oliver Cromwell sits on a saddle on a stand pretending to be riding the horse for the artist.

Silhouette of Oliver Cromwell

KEVIN:

“Oliver, can you tell us a little about this project and why you wanted to build this new church?”

OLIVER:

“Thanks Kevin, can I just say, first of all I’m a big fan of the show. Grand designs and The Crown, they are my two favourite shows. Yeah so I’m in the military and this lovely town of Ayr is actually pretty important in terms of looking after British interests. So, I sent my troops there to take over the town and find the best vantage point to protect a base there. That just so happened to be the area around St. Johns Church near the sea.

So, there were some teething problems at first and…”

KEVIN:

“… by teething problems do you mean that you left the local people without a church because you turned it into a military fortress?”

OLIVER:

“The church was in a great position from a military strategist’s point of view Kevin, what was I supposed to do? Anyway, the point is I am building this wonderful town a brand-new church. Hopefully the angry letters will stop now.”

KEVIN:

“Oliver is not funding this project from his own pocket. His budget is 1000 marks, the equivalent of £56, or nearly £12,000 in 21st century money when adjusted for inflation. Oliver, what is the overall plan you have with building this new church?”

OLIVER:

“I’m a simple man. I want to subjugate the Scottish people but also allow them to enjoy a nice, new, modern church at the same time.”

KEVIN:

“Will you be doing any of the work yourself?”

Oliver nearly falls off his saddle laughing.

OLIVER:

“Haha! Of course not Kevin. I’ve seen enough people on your show trying to build things when they have no idea what they’re doing. No. I’ll be subcontracting this to the local people and I’m sure they’ll do a fantastic job.”

KEVIN:

“And do you expect to stay within your budget?”

OLIVER:

“If we don’t then heads will roll! Haha! I’m joking of course. No, but seriously, this is a significant amount of money we have put forward, so we fully expect it to be enough. I’m actually staggering the payments so I can be sure of the job quality, 20% payment when the foundations are laid, 20% when it’s half built and full payment upon completion of the church.”

KEVIN:

“What do you hope the legacy of the church will be when it’s completed?”

OLIVER:

Well in a perfect world Kevin I’d love for it to still be here 400 years after it’s been built, but that’s just probably wishful thinking. I won’t be staying in the town myself to see it being used in all its glory, but some of my men are big fans of Ayr, and keep this between us but a few have told me they’re planning to propose to their girlfriends and settle down there, so they’ll be able to take their families to the church for many years.

KEVIN:

“Perhaps a church still being here in 400 years is pretty fanciful, but one thing is for sure, the Auld Kirk is a welcome addition to Ayr.”

Map location of silhouette

Credits

Written by: Graeme Rennie
Illustrations by: Jazz Buchanan
Audio by: Gregor Campbell, Ben Niven & Liam Stewart
Audio recording and mixing by: Scott Andrew