The launch of the Trail
Board 3

Buchanan’s monument

This monument was built to honour a villager, George Buchanan. Who was he?

A large group of people sit and stand for a formal photograph in front of a large mansion in the early 20th-Century
The celebration of the 400th anniversary of George Buchanan’s birth, held at The Moss in 1906. Another celebration was held there in 2006. (From the All Killearn Archive collection.)
View larger

Buchanan was born in 1506 just outside Killearn at The Moss, a farm near the Blane Water. He was initially brought up in Killearn and had his early education here. His father died when he was young and the family lived in poverty for a while, until a wealthy uncle sent him, aged 14, to Paris to continue his studies.

He was renowned across Reformation Europe as a poet, teacher, political theorist, historian, and Royal tutor to both Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI. You can read more about him on the board by the monument’s entrance or by following this link to the Buchanan Monument.

The monument was built in 1788 from local stone, and is 31.4 metres (103 feet) high. It was designed by James Craig, the architect of the layout for Edinburgh’s New Town. When plans for a monument to Buchanan at the bottom of Glasgow’s Buchanan Street did not happen, the minister of Killearn Kirk, the Revd James Graham, organized the building of one here, funded by public subscription. 

It was restored in 1850, when a dedication in Latin was added. A translation is given on a board next to the monument or by following this link to the Buchanan Monument.

Did you know

George Buchanan was tutor to James VI. He was severe, beating the young king if he did not do his work correctly.

Continue in front of the Monument, then bear left towards the Old Kirk. to reach stop 4