Moffat’s Old Cemetery

The town of Moffat in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, hosts an old cemetery at the south end of the High Street with gravestones almost solely created from local red sandstone extracted from the River Annan basin.


It includes the remains of the gable end of a Pre-Reformation church
gable pre reformation church

John Graham, of Claverhouse, was sent to Scotland with orders to enforce conformity to the Established Church. In 1685, Claverhouse stood in the churchyard and ordered the people of Moffat to take the Test Oath (swearing loyalty to the English king.) Anyone refusing was labelled a “Covenanter” and was likely to be persecuted, tortured and banished. It was through his relentless repression of the Covenanters that Claverhouse earned the name “Bluidy Clavers.”

In 1747 the original graveyard was covered over with four feet of soil to accommodate future burials. It contains several famed occupants including:

  • Francis Moffat the Clan Chief of the Moffats was buried in 1992
  • The graves of two postmen who perished in the snow near the Beeftub (a deep, dramatic hollow in the hills north of the Scottish town of Moffat) when they were attempting to deliver mail in treacherous conditions.
  • John Loudon Mcadam inventor of tarmacadam (a smooth road surface)

In Memory / Of / John Loudon Mcadam / Born At Ayr 21st September 1756 / Died At Moffat 26th November 1836 / In The 81st Year Of His Age./ Son Of / James Mcadam Of Waterhead / Who Lies Buried At Straiton / And Of Anne Charlotte Delancey / Second Wife Of The Above John Loudon Mcadam / Born At Bath 17th September 1786 Died At / Hoddesdon Hertfordshire 29th May 1852 / 1836

The headstone above is engraved with flowers, a rose represents love and purity and the brevity of life on earth. Life, like a blooming flower, is never meant to be permanent.

In Memory Of / Mr. / Samuel Billing / Who Died Suddenly / By Falling From A / Bridge Into The / River On The 21st Of / Decr. 1785 / In The 80 / Year Of His Age. / Ye Living Men / Come View The Ground / Where You / Will Someday Lie
The effigy with wings represents the soul in flight. The crown represents the glory of life after death.

Near This Spot / Is / Interred The Remains / Of / John Pagan / Late Cattle Salesman / Liverpool / And Tenant Of Breconside / In This Parish: / Who Died At Inverness / 16th July 1851 / Aged 60 Years / This Monument / Is Erected / By His Numerous Friends / In Testimony / Of Their High Respect / For His Public / And Private Character.
The rose represents love and purity and the brevity of life on earth. Life, like a blooming flower, is never meant to be permanent.

In Memory Of / James Proudfoot / Who Died At Ashmount / 22nd Feb 1858 Aged 88 Years / His Wife Janet Fyfe / Who Died At Ashmount, 27th April 1908 / Aged illegible Years / Their Daughter / Mary Maxwell / Who Died 21st May illegible Aged 13 Years

Sacred / To The Memory Of/ William Johnstone, Who Died / At Achtrictan Glenco, / 4th Novr / 1790, Aged 62 Years. / Also Thomas Johnstone His Son / Who Died 21st May 1793 Aged 16 Years / Also Helen Little, Spouse To The / Above William Johnstone, Who Died / The 3rd April 1813. Aged 70 Years / Also Margaret Johnstone Their / Daughter, Who Died 7th Sepr 1842. / Aged 62 Years/ And Jane Also Their Daughter/ Who Died The 24th June 1856, Aged 76
The grave is terminated with an urn, one of the most common of monuments representing the body as a vessel of the soul and its return to dust while the spirit of the departed eternally rests with God.

Also / Sacred To The Memory Of / Paul Robert Forrester / The Beloved Husband Of / Margaret Johnstone, Who Died 30th March 1854 / Aged 32 Years / And His Beloved Wife / Margaret Johnstone / Who Died 6th Nov 1904 / Aged 84 Years / Also Their Beloved Son / Robert Paul Alexander / Who Died 22nd July 1897 / Aged 45 Years / Also / Margaret Elizabeth / Forrester / Daughter Of The Above, Who Went / Home To Her Blessed Saviour / 11th December 1932 / Aged 83 Years

In / Memory Of / William Brown / Builder In Moffat / Who Died At Glasgow 15th June 1865 / Aged 63 Years / And His Sons / James, Who Died 5th April 1831 / Aged 13 Months / And / Adam, Who Died 16th Feby 1874 / Aged illegible Years / Also / Jane Kennedy, His Spouse Who / Died At Moffat July 27 1874 Aged / 74 Years, And John, Their Son / Who Died May 13, 1875 Aged 39 Years / Their Daughters / Isabella, Who Died Oct 2 1875 / Aged 17 And Agnes, Oct 6 1875 / Aged 4? Years / Are Interred In The Burying / Ground illegible Their Uncle / Alex Kennedy

Temple’s Old Kirk Graveyard

Just back from a visit to Scotland where there are a multitude of century old cemeteries just waiting to be photographed and documented.


The village of Temple in Midlothian, Scotland is named after the famous military order of the Knights Templar. The Order of the Temple was founded to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land against attack by the Saracens.

The ruins of the old parish church date from the early 14th century. The late Gothic tracery can still be seen with animals carved at both ends of the mouldings above the windows.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In the churchyard are many interesting headstones including the memorial to the farmer at Outerston, John Craig, who died in 1742. He is shown in his best clothing and with his children.
Here Lyes John Craig / Farmer In Outerston / Who Died April 23 1742 / Aged 68 Years ~ Also / His Son William / Craig Late Farmer In / Outerston illegible Who Died 1799

This gravestone contains symbols representing tools used in the trade of Masonry (the builder); a compass, a ruler, a hand brace and a hammer.

Another gravestone with Masonic tools; a compass, a square and three blocks, one of which has a nail at the top which may represent a hinge.

Erected / In Memory Of / Andrew Murray / Who Died illegible Aged Illegible / Also Mary Melrose His Wife / Who Died illegible / Agnes Murray Their Daughter / Who Died Illegible / illegible Murray Their Son

In / Fond / Remembrance / Of / Wee Ian / Beloved Son Of / Frank & Isabella Bain / Who Died At Fountainside / 7th October 1925, Aged 5 ½ Months

Greek Cross

The Greek cross with four arms of equal length is pre-Christian, and in paganism, represented the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. It has been used for centuries in Christian art.

The image below is an engraving of a cross on a headstone located at Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California.

Creative Commons License © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons Source:


When five Greek crosses are displayed together, they represent the five wounds inflicted on Christ during the crucifixion (nails in the hands and feet and a spear in his side).  This cross was popular in the Crusader era.


cross thorns
A circle superimposed on a Greek cross is representative of the crown of thorns placed on Christ’s head during the crucifixion.