Unique. Interactive. Historic.
If you find yourself driving in the Scottish countryside near Inverness, make your way to the small and charming town of Cromarty. Overlooking the Cromarty Firth and just a 45-minute drive north of Inverness, Cromarty was once a naval and fishing hub and now is home to artisan shops, cafes, and a really terrific museum.
Cromarty Museum Site
The museum is housed in the 18th-century town courthouse. Located on picturesque Church Street, the courthouse is located in the oldest part of town. It is located next to another historic site, Hugh Miller’s Birthplace. The two sites combined make a great visit.
The museum is quaint and meanders through small rooms. The museum holds documents relating to the town’s history, including deeds, charters, and other legal documents. There is a great exhibit of the life and times of times of Sir Thomas Urquhart, an eccentric local lord who is reported to have died in a fit of laughter when told that Charles II had been restored to the British throne in 1660. Urquhart was a veteran of the Civil War and known for his translations of Rabelais into English.
There is a visitor reception and shop on the ground floor. If you follow the recommended tour, you head upstairs to find a number of exhibits covering the evolution of industries in the area. Also on this level is the Courthouse’s document room. In the early days, bags of papers were hung from hooks in the ceiling to ensure they were not damaged by rodents.
Order in the Court!
Our favorite spot in this historic site is the court itself. With wood-paneled court boxes and mannequins representing various court figures you can really get a feel for court proceedings. The mannequins represent characters in a real-life 1770s court case of a group of men accused of violating the Sabbath, and a recording which lets the characters ‘speak’. Very fun.
Go to Jail!
A cell block was added to the rear of the site in 1844. You can visit these cell blocks and imagine just how uncomfortable it was. The last and largest of the cells is known as the Debtor’s Cell and is used as a gallery space by local artists.
This wonderful site is operated by volunteers and is free. It is important to note that the Cromarty Courthouse is not open in the winter.
For more information on Cromarty Courthouse visit their website.