Peaceful, cool, and adorned by colourful biblical murals – the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Joseph’s is well worth the detour from bustling Kenyatta Road. It was built by French missionaries and is inlaid with stained glass windows imported from Europe. Try to visit when the local choir is practising, and make sure to pop across the road and take a peek at the intricately carved wooden chests in the workshop.


The next building, the former Sheriff Court, has a tablet commemorating the assassination of the Regent Moray in 1570. Unfortunately it manages to spell Moray incorrectly and also gives the wrong date. This murder was one of the first- ever such deeds using a firearm and was very carefully prepared. Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, after firing the shot, made his escape to the continent and, cashing in on the deed, became a professional hit-man. The archbishop, whose house he had used, was hanged. The town centres round the Cross Well. The cross (a weekly market site) and gibbet have long gone, and the well has had a chequered history, being rebuilt in 1659 after damage from Cromwell’s troops. In 1807 it was completely rebuilt, copying the old design, the work being done by a onehanded stonemason. The original Town House (Burgh Halls) was also destroyed by Cromwell, but rebuilt by the king’s master mason John Mylne in 1668. Fire damaged it in 1847, when its Italian-style arched portico was replaced by popular wrought ironwork.

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