New owners planning 'vibrant future' for architecturally significant seminary ruins

St Peter's Seminary hasn't been used since the eighties and is now in ruins

A rundown seminary regarded by architectural conservationists as having worldwide significance has been handed to new owners by the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

St Peter's Seminary, near Cardross in Agryll and Bute, is in an advanced state of disrepair after being abandoned in 1987.

The substantial property was built between 1961 and 1966 in the Brutalist style and retains Category A status, giving it the highest level of protection for a building of "special architectural or historic interest". 

Ownership of the building and its surrounding estate was transferred on Friday by the Archdiocese of Glasgow to a new charity, the Kilmahew Education Trust. 

The trust aims to develop the site as an asset for the local community while respecting the unique architectural status of the iconic building. 

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, the Archbishop of Glasgow, said: "This is a good day for the Archdiocese, for the local area, and, I hope, for the wider Scottish community.

"Times were very different when St Peter's Seminary was opened in the late 1960s to wide architectural acclaim.

"Changing requirements in priestly education, a drop in the number of seminarians and difficulties in maintaining the fabric of the building mean that the seminary had a relatively short lifespan.

"For four decades the Archdiocese has sought a new owner for the site, and finally a solution has been found. I wish the new owners every success as they develop the site and move forward to a new chapter in the history of the seminary and its estate."

Stuart Cotton, of the new charitable trust, said that the organisation was in the process of developing a "very exciting and vibrant future" for the site that would also respect its "outstanding heritage". 

Plans for the estate are to be made public in due course and will keep education at the heart of its purpose, Cotton said.

"The trust is delighted to take up the many challenges that exist on the Kilmahew Estate and is grateful to the Archdiocese of Glasgow for its outstanding support over the last year in facilitating the transfer of ownership and for trusting us with the honour of becoming the next custodians of this outstanding and unique heritage asset," he said.

"There is no doubting the beauty of the Kilmahew landscape nor the atmospheric presence that surrounds the seminary complex of St. Peter's. We simply need to develop a viable vision, with education at its core, and execute the plans that develop from that to the best of our abilities.

"In the build up to the acquisition, our Education Trust has been busy putting together an internationally-renowned team to assist us. We are currently fine-tuning our plans to enhance Kilmahew and these will be made public in due course.

"It goes without saying that the Kilmahew Estate and St Peter's Seminary are of significant historical importance to the Scottish public and we are acutely aware of just how many diverse groups are stakeholders, including the local Cardross community, Historic Environment Scotland and the Scottish Government.

"The next few months will see us developing relationships with these and other stakeholders and presenting our vision for Kilmahew alongside our expert team."