Category Archives: Graves

Martyr’s Stone

This monument known as the Martyr’s Stone is set into the north east corner wall of Greyfriar’s Cemetery in Edinburgh.

The tomb was erected in 1706. The original structure contained a triangular pediment and two columns with scroll capitals with a large slab of white marble containing text (documented below), and beneath a carving of an open bible containing text from the book of Revelation ending with these words, ‘This tomb was first erected by James Curie, Merchant in Pentland, and others, 1706, renewed 1771.

As can be seen in the photograph hundreds of years of neglect and fierce weather has damaged the monument.

Martyr's Stone
Martyr’s Stone

Halt Passenger, take heed, what you do see,
This tomb doth shew, for what some men did die,
Here lies interred the dust of those who stood
Against perjury, resisting unto blood
Adhering to the Covenants, and laws
Establishing the same, which was the cause
Then lives were sacrificed unto the lust
Of Prelatists abjured. Though here their dust
Lies mixed with murderers, and other crew
Whom justice justly did to death pursue
But as for them, no cause was to be found
Worthy of death, but only they were found.
Constant and steadfast, zealous witnessing
For the Prerogatives of CHRIST their KING.
Which truths were sealed by famous Guthrie’s head
And all along to Mr. Renwick’s blood.
They did endure the wrath of enemies
Reproaches, torments, deaths and injuries
But yet they’re those who from such trouble came
And now triumph in glory with the LAMB.
 
From May 27th, 1661 that the most noble Marquis
Of Argyle was beheaded to the 17th of February 1688
That Mr. James Renwick suffered, were one way
Or other Murdered and Destroyed for the same cause, about
Eighteen thousand of whom were executed at Edinburgh, about an
Hundred of Noblemen, Gentlemen, Ministers and Others, noble
Martyrs for Jesus Christ. The most of them lie here.
 
For a particular account of the cause and manner of their Sufferings, see
The Cloud of Witnesses, Crookshanks, and Defoe’s histories.

Note: The National Covenant was a protest by Scottish Presbyterians against Charles I’s preference for a High Anglican form of worship which was considered too Catholic. The most fervent and well known protestors being:
Archibald, Marquis of Argyle
James Renwick, a Presbyterian Minister
James Guthrie, a minister at Stirling.

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Erased

These gravestones have been wiped clean due to weather erosion, or from damage. A life once lived, now even the words of memorium are erased from the stone…

St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith,  Midlothian, Scotland
St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Meek and gentle was her spirit
Prudence did her life adorn
Modest she disclaimed all merit
Tell me am not I forlorn
Yet I must and will resign her
She’s in better hands than mine
But I hope again to join her
In the realms of love divine.

St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith,  Midlothian, Scotland
St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Of such is the kingdom of Heaven
Often I stood as you stand now
To view the dead as you do me
Ere long, and you shall lie as low
And others stand and look on thee.

St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith,  Midlothian, Scotland
St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Tho’ lost to sight
To memory clear.

St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith,  Midlothian, Scotland
St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Tis but a little tear is shed
For one to mem’ry dear
The tribute of my childhood days
Is but a little tear.

Lasswade Cemetery, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland
Lasswade Cemetery, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland

As you were, you will always be
Treasured forever in our memory.

Copps Hill,  Boston, MA, USA
Copps Hill, Boston, MA, USA

Come near my friends and cast and eye
Then go your way, prepare to die,
Learn your doom, and know you must
One day like me be turned to dust. 1876

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Robert The Bruce

There is much of interest in Melrose Abbey due to the burial place of the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce (famed King of Scotland in the early 14th century recently documented in the movie, Braveheart.) Although his heart is believed to rest on the abbey’s grounds, the rest of his body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey.

Melrose Abbey
Melrose Abbey

The 1996 summer archeological excavation of the Chapter House floor of Melrose Abbey was undertaken to increase knowledge of this important medieval building. The team from Historic Scotland investigated the lead container said to contain King Robert the Bruce’s heart which had been removed from beneath the Chapter House floor.

Under laboratory conditions in Edinburgh they drilled a small hole into the casket and looked inside with a fibre-optic cable and saw another casket. Opening the larger one carefully they found a small conical lead container and an engraved copper plaque which said;

“The enclosed leaden casket containing a heart was found beneath Chapter House floor, March 1921, by His Majesty’s Office of Works.”

Conical object containing heart
Conical object containing heart

The smaller conical casket is about 10 inches high and 4 inches in diameter at the base tapering to a flat top about one and a half inches in diameter. Despite being pitted with age it was in good condition. Richard Welander, one of the investigators, said that although it was not possible to prove absolutely that it is Bruce’s heart, “We can say that it is reasonable to assume that it is”. There are no records of anyone else’s heart being buried at Melrose.

The casket containing the heart was not opened, and remained in Edinburgh until it was buried again during a private ceremony at Melrose Abbey on 22 June 1998. On the 24th June, coinciding with the anniversary of the victory of Bruce’s army over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, the Scottish Secretary of State, Donald Dewar, unveiled a plinth over the place in the abbey grounds where the heart is now buried.

Marker for resting place of Robert Bruce's heart
Marker for resting place of Robert Bruce’s heart

The inscription reads:
A Noble Hart May Have Nane Ease
Gif Freedom Failye
Translated this means, A noble heart can have no rest if freedom is lacking.

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SKULLS

A frequent feature on gravestones, the skull is a symbol of death, mortality, penitence, and sin. It appears in several formats.

SKULL & CROSSED BONES
Symbolic of crucifixion, death, and mortality.
The fear which this ancient symbol of death inspires led pirates to adopt it as an emblem upon their black flags and chemists to use it to denote poison. The combination when it appears on tombstones means, “He  is dead.”

Greyfriars Cemetery, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Greyfriars Cemetery, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland

See yonder flower that scents the air
How sweet it blooms
How swift it fades!
Just such is man in youth how fair
How chang’d his form when death invades!
Yet fades the flower to bloom again
And we shall rise with Christ to reign.

St. Nicholas, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland
St. Nicholas, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

As measured notes of set music we pass in fast or slow marches to the grave.

St. Nicholas, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland
St. Nicholas, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Gently this spot in solemn silence tread
Let none disturb the relics of these dead
Their souls have waft themselves to God on high
But here all round this stone their bodies lie.

Greyfriars Cemetery, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Greyfriars Cemetery, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland

In my Father’s house are many mansions.

It is interesting to note that this skull is accompanied with only one bone. Curious and puzzling.

Athelstaneford Parish Churchyard, East Lothian,  Scotland
Athelstaneford Parish Churchyard, East Lothian, Scotland

Lo!  Lost remembrance drops a pious tear
And holy friendship stands a mourner here.

This sculptured panel contains only the crossbones, and they are intersected with workman’s tools; a pick, a shovel, and a spade.

Greyfriars Cemetery, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Greyfriars Cemetery, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord
They rest from their labours and their works do follow them.

The skull represented here also displays crossed arrows and an hourglass, both of which symbolize mortality.

Lasswade Cemetery, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland
Lasswade Cemetery, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland

I am the Resurrection and the Life
He that believeth in me though he were dead yet shall he live.

The badly eroded stone displays a dove flying above a skull and represents the resurrection of the soul.

Campbellville
Campbellville Burying Ground, Campbellville, ON, Canada

SKULL, WINGED
A winged skull symbolizes the ascension into heaven, and the flight of the soul from mortal man.
Sometimes called death’s heads or winged death, it represents the fleeting nature of life and impending death. It was once a common motif on New England tombstones.

80% of the carvings on gravestones in Copps Hill Cemetery, Boston, bear the winged skull symbol.

Copps Hill, Boston, MA, USA
Copps Hill, Boston, MA, USA

Skull lyes

No flat ring marble rules the traveler here
The spot is sacred to affections dear
He was in life what artful men pretend
Companion, parent, neighbour, Christian, friend. 1802

Burial Hill, Plymouth, MA
Burial Hill, Plymouth, MA

Hail sweet repose not shall we rest
No more with sickness be distressed
Here from all sorrows find release
Our souls shall dwell in endless peace. 1789

King's Chapel Burying Ground, Boston, MA
King’s Chapel Burying Ground, Boston, MA

No longer was my  life
No longer was my breath
God called me home in early life
Because he thought it best. 1805

King's Chapel Burying Ground, Boston, MA
King’s Chapel Burying Ground, Boston, MA

Though far from home in distant land
My flesh returns to dust
In hopes to rise when Jesus calls
And dwell among the just. 1808

Old Burial Ground, Brewster, MA
Old Burial Ground, Brewster, MA

Life’s painful toils are over
Its pilgrimage is ended
And to a  purer happier shore
Her spirit hath ascended. 1808

 

Edinburgh Castle Dog Cemetery

There is a small pet cemetery within the walls of the castle, one of only two in Scotland for the faithful companions of the castle’s commanding officers. The small garden out of reach of visitors can only be seen from above, and has been used since Queen Victoria’s reign as a burial place for Regimental mascots and officer’s dogs.

There are approximately two dozen stones visible. Many of the stones are so weathered that the inscriptions are no longer legible.
Edinburgh_Edinburgh Castle_pet

DON pet dog of Sergeant’s 1st battery
MAJOR a police dog
FLORA band pet
SHEENA

Edinburgh_Edinburgh Castle_pet Winkle

1881 JESS Band pet of the Black Watch 42nd Royal Highlanders
1889 YUM YUM
1892 TIM is buried in Guernsey. He travelled with Seaforth Highlanders
1893 DOBBLER travelled with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to such exotic locations as China, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
1911 GYP a Crown ROOM dog.
1935 TINKER General William.
1947 SCAMP A faithful chum of Jack Wilson Paterson.
1980 WINKLE Dear and faithful friend of Lady Gow and the Governor.

Edinburgh_Edinburgh Castle_pet Scamp

Edinburgh Dog Cemetery
Dumb creatures we have cherished here below
Shall give us joyous greeting
When we pass the Golden Gate
Is it folly that I hope it may be so.

A verse written by Robert Burns:
Berkin dugs here lie at rest
The yappin worst, obedient best
Sodgers pets and mascots tae
Still the guard the castle to this day.

Campbellville Burying Ground

McLaren Road North, Campbellville, Ontario, Canada

This pioneer cemetery rests by a river and a railway track,  both lifelines for transportation and industry in Pioneer times. The majority of the gravestones memorialize natives of Scotland, and there is a large number of stones commemorating the Campbell family.

Blogged_McEwin Blogged_McIntyre

Verses from the cemetery
i
Jesus has called the mother home
Her flesh lies mouldering in the tomb
God grant her offspring may be blest
And  meet her in eternal rest.

ii
And he asked who gathered this flower
And the gardener answered the Master
And his fellow servant held his peace.

El Campo Santo

El Campo Santo Cemetery, San Diego Old Town, CA, USA

A small cemetery of rogues, thieves and unknown persons tucked away in the Old Town on San Diego Avenue is well worth a visit. The oldest and most fragile gravestones are protected by white picket fences. 477 bodies are buried there, and tales of ghostly apparitions have been reported.

The old adobe walled Roman Catholic El Campo Santo Cemetery was established in 1849. Until 1880 it was the burial place for many members of the Old Town’s founding families as well as for a few gamblers and bandits who passed through the town.

Antonio Garra, a chief who led an uprising of the San Luis Rey Indians, was executed at El Campo Santo in front of the open grave he had been forced to dig for himself.

John Stiles
San Diego_Stiles
Sacred to the memory of John Stiles/who came to his death/
from a bullet/from a revolver/It was one of the old fashioned/kind and brass mounted/& such is the Kingdom of Heaven

Jesus 1879
San Diego_Jesus
Died December 1879/Aged 25 years/Excerpt from the Book of the Dead/’December 15, 1879, I have given/Ecclesiatical burial to Jesus Indian/25 years, who died of a blow without/receiving Sacraments. They told me/that he was completely drunk, and/thus I command him to be buried near/the gate of the cemetery’/(signed) Juan Pujol, Priest.

Bill Marshall
Bill Marshall/is not here,/but on the other side/of the wall
San diego_Marshall

Bill Marshall was an American man, a renegade sailor from Providence, Rhode Island who had deserted from a whaling ship in San Diego in 1844. He married the daughter of a local Indian chieftain and lived with the Indians. He took an active part in the Garra Indian uprising in 1851.

Bill and the Indian Juan Verduga were captured and brought back to San Diego to be promptly tried by court martial. They were found guilty and sentenced to hang. The Indian acknowledged his guilt but Marshall insisted he was innocent.

At 2 o’clock in the afternoon of December 13, 1851, a scaffold was erected on the Thomas Whaley property near the old Catholic cemetery, El Camp Santo . The men were placed on a wagon and the ropes adjusted about their necks. The wagon moved on leaving them to strangle to death.

The funeral of Anita Gillis (click on the photo for a larger image)
San diego_Gillis