Unveiling of Linlithgow’s St Michael statue

Last week saw the official unveiling of the second of the two sculptures commissioned by Linlithgow Burgh Trust to celebrate the town’s two traditional civic insignia.

By Kevin Quinn
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 2:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 4:10 pm

The new St Michael statue, following on from that of the Black Bitch, was installed back in November 2020, but Covid restrictions prevented the unveiling until now.

The proceedings started with a welcome from John Mason, Chair of Linlithgow Burgh Trust.

He said: "We are proud that Linlithgow now has two world-class sculptures of the town’s emblems.

Sign up to our daily The Falkirk Herald Today newsletter

Left to right: Ron Smith (Burgh Trust and Burgh Beautiful), Councillor Tom Conn, St Michael and dragon, Alan Herriot the sculptor and Joseph Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms. Photo by John Buckley.

"I would like to thank everyone who has been involved, amongst others the sculptor Alan Herriot, our funders and most of all the local community, particularly the local primary schools, who got behind the project and helped us produce such a wonderful sculpture.”

Before he unveiled the statue, Councillor Tom Conn, chairman of the Linlithgow Town Management Group, which provided much of the funding, said: “Can I thank Linlithgow Burgh Trust for commissioning Alan Herriot, and thank him for creating our St. Michael statue.

"It is eye-catching and a point of interest, as can be seen by the numbers of visitors who stop to look and take photographs.

“Thanks also to Burgh Beautiful for maintaining its setting. And lastly, but not least, thanks to all those who contributed towards the funding which made it possible for Linlithgow to have the statue of St Michael grace in our town centre.

Councillor Tom Conn and sculptor Alan Herriot after the unveiling of the sculpture. Photo by John Buckley.

"Also, a special mention to the council’s lighting engineers for recently adding a spotlight nearby highlighting our statues in the dark winter evenings.”

Sculptor Alan Herriot said: “I was delighted to win this commission. As a figurative sculptor, it is very rare to have the opportunity to work on such an exciting and inspirational subject.

"What is particularly satisfying for me is how well my work has been accepted by the townspeople of Linlithgow. I think that the Linlithgow Trust has a great deal to be proud of.

"As said by the previous speakers, especially poignant at the moment is the fact that St. Michael is also the patron saint of Kyiv and also, of course, that his representation symbolises the triumph of good over evil.”

Lord Lyon King of Arms, Joseph Morrow, beside the inscription on the back of the statue’s plinth commemorating the action of one of his early predecessors. Photo: John Buckley.

After the unveiling, Ron Smith, in his capacity as convenor of the Trust’s Public Art and Burgh Beautiful Committees, added further thanks to W. L. Watson & Son for the imposing granite plinth, to the Powderhall Bronze foundry, to landscapers Fernbrooke Scotland and to the Osprey Company for the information board.

Also in attendance were some of the school pupils whose work is featured on the statue’s information board and appears in the Burgh Trust’s book on the Civic Insignia of Linlithgow which is on sale at local shops.

After the unveiling, the invited guests were invited for most welcome tea/coffee and locally-baked cakes in the nearby St Margaret’s Hall.