The Courthouse Soundscapes

In 2021, to celebrate 30 years of the Courthouse as a museum, we installed new audio ‘soundscapes’ to enhance understanding of some of the events which took place here.  These cover both the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and, in the case of the life story of Sir Thomas Urquhart, even earlier. There are five “Hearing History” soundscape sites marked on the museum map. In the corridor outside the cells you will hear everyday sounds of prison life; the other four soundscapes tell specific stories, often using Cromarty’s unique dialect. Story summaries are available by clicking on the links below. QR codes are displayed in the museum which also link to these story summaries. If you would prefer to read the full script, these are available in the Learning Zone

  • Urquhart04 1 scaled - The Courthouse Soundscapes About - Cromarty Courthouse Museum

    Sir Thomas Urquhart was Laird of Cromarty in the early 17th century. Imprisoned in England after the Battle of Worcester, he longs to return home. Our ten short soundscape scripts will tell you much more about him. Genius? Eccentric? Madman? That is for you to decide. Our Sir Thomas sits and dreams of ‘his little town of Cromarty’ not far from the entrance to the Courthouse downstairs.

    Sir Thomas Dreams Story Summary

  • looking down19 1 scaled - The Courthouse Soundscapes About - Cromarty Courthouse Museum

    This early Victorian (1841) soundscape features Hugh Sinclair, The Smiddy Prisoner, a miserable Resolis blacksmith (occupying a cell on a charge of theft) in conversation with his jailer.


    The Smiddy Prisoner Story Summary

  • Mercat Cross 02 scaled - The Courthouse Soundscapes About - Cromarty Courthouse Museum

    Upstairs in the Courtroom one of two trial soundscapes will be played out:

    Our Mercat Cross trial, a sorry tale of vandalism and mean-spiritedness, dates from 1772 when Cromarty Courthouse was brand new and not yet fully fitted out.

    The Mercat Cross Trial Story Summary

  • fiddle26 1 scaled - The Courthouse Soundscapes About - Cromarty Courthouse Museum

    The Broken Fiddle trial begins with a violent alehouse brawl among local youths (the gardeners versus the weavers) but all is not as simple as it seems.

    The Broken Fiddle Trial Story Summary


The scripts provide you with a transcript of each soundscape to read or study. Each script summary will help you if you struggle with the local dialect or the accents used in the soundscapes. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information