The Tinkers’ Heart declared a monument of national importance


An ancient monument to the travelling community has been declared a site of historical significance following a campaign taken forward by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.

The Tinkers’ Heart is a pattern of quartz stones which was laid at an Argyll crossroads. It is thought to be around 250 years old and has been used by generations of Scottish Travellers as a wedding place and for children to be blessed.

Now located in a field, years of cattle grazing at the site had meant the monument was in danger of being lost. A petition was submitted to the Public Petitions Committee by Jess Smith asking for more to be done to save the monument. 

Historic Scotland has now written to the Committee to confirm that the site will be declared a monument of national importance. The letter also sets out the vision for the preservation and maintenance of the site. 

Convener of the Public Petitions Committee, John Pentland MSP said: 

“This is an outstanding result for Jess Smith and the Committee greatly welcomes the new status of the Tinkers’ Heart as a monument of national importance. 

Mr Pentland continued:

“Following pressure from Jess Smith, and the Committee, Historic Scotland made a fresh appraisal of the Tinkers’ Heart. The Committee particularly welcomes the increased co-operation between Jess Smith, Historic Scotland and the landowner of the Tinkers’ Heart site, which has led to such a positive solution. We very much look forward to visiting the Tinkers’ Heart and celebrating its new status as part of our upcoming visit to Inveraray this September.  

“This petition raised an important question. Is it time to review what we consider to be an ‘historical site’, to take in the important contribution made by Scotland’s diverse communities to our heritage and culture? In my opinion, Historic Scotland is to be commended for its willingness to reflect on its role in a modern Scotland.” 


The petition from Jess Smith was first considered by the Committee in September 2014 when it heard from Ms Smith about the importance of the site. It was then considered again in December 2014 and in February 2015 the Committee took evidence from Historic Scotland and Fiona Hyslop MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs. 

Following the Committee’s work on the petition, Historic Scotland has now written to the Committee to confirm it has reviewed its position and will designate the Tinkers' Heart as a monument of national importance. 

More details on the work of the Committee on this petition can be found here:

A copy of the letter can be found via the following link:

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