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Collegiate Church 

Tain is unusual in Scotland for the rare distinction of having upstanding remains of three medieval kirks or chapels.

Each one of these owes its existence to the respect, amounting to veneration, in which men and women of previous times held St Duthac the Patron Saint of Tain.

The Collegiate Church is a well-preserved medieval church built at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries as the parish church of Tain.  The church was restored after being abandoned and allowed to fall into decay around the year 1815.  In 1877 the restoration began and today is managed and maintained by a volunteer committee.  


The St Duthac Book and Arts Festival Group are thrilled that the Collegiate Church will once again be a venue to some of the festival events.  

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Ian Bradley: The Coffin Roads

In 2023 Ian Bradley took us on a journey along the coffin roads which criss-cross the Highlands and Islands to explore distinctive West Highland and Hebridean practices in relation to dying, mourning, grieving and the afterlife. Using lively accounts, predominantly from the 19th century, he explores the customs of singing over the dying, day and night long wakes and lengthy processions to remote graveyards.

At a time when death is at last being more openly talked about and embraced, he argues that there may be much to learn from the way it was traditionally approached in the Highlands and Hebrides.

He is Emeritus Professor of Cultural and Spiritual History at the University of St Andrews, a Church of Scotland minister and author of 46 books ranging from Celtic Christianity to Gilbert and Sullivan.

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Jennifer Morag Henderson: Daughters of the North

Mary, Queen of Scots’ marriage to the Earl of Bothwell is notorious. Less known is Bothwell’s first wife, Jean Gordon, who extricated herself from their marriage and survived the intrigue of the Queen’s court.

This event looked at Jean’s story, covering dramatic yet little-known history from the north of Scotland.

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Concert: Four On Sax

The Collegiate Church is the perfect venue for live music and in 2023 we savoured the sounds of Four on Sax, which is a saxophone quartet based in Inverness, featuring Jen Pickering on Soprano and Alto, Catharine Niven on Alto, Morag Burton on Tenor and Louise Dalziel on Baritone. We love the versatility of the of saxophone as it lends itself to an infinite variety of musical styles. Our programme includes some old favourites, like The Pink Panther and some new additions, We Don’t Talk About Bruno. From Mozart and Handel to Joplin, The Beatles to classic swing tunes, there will be something for everyone to enjoy with Four On Sax.

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