Category Archives: Scotland

A Tale On Stone

St. Andrew’s cemetery in Peebles, Scotland, offers a variety of centuries-old gravestones. A tower within the grounds is the only remaining part of St. Andrew’s church which was destroyed in the 16th century.

The hourglass is a classic symbol measuring time until the sand runs out, and as such, is the perfect allegory for life and death controlled by the hands of God.
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The skull and crossed bones is symbolic of crucifixion, death, and mortality. These symbols were commonly used together.

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The effigy of a face embraced with wings is a symbol of the deceased soul in flight.
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Forget them. No we never will
We loved them here we love them still
Nor, love them less although they are gone
From us to their eternal home.   1887

The image below shows two trumpeting cherubs heralding the soul’s entrance into Heaven. The circle signifies eternal life with no beginning and no end. The skull represents death, and the words Memento Mori is a Latin phrase meaning, Remember that you have to die.
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The open compass on the top of the stone denotes a Masonic affiliation. The urn or casket is a container of the soul. The drapes and bouquets of flowers are symbolic of grief and mourning. The skull signifies death and the winged effigy represents the deceased soul in flight. This legend is resolved with the phrase Memento Mori.
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Another stone with multiple symbols relates a similar story with additional symbols. Two snakes intertwined around a rod are held by God’s hands, and a dove is situated between the snake heads. This symbol represents resurrection and peace.

The Latin phrase, Fugit Hora meaning the hour flees is aptly set above the wings, and Memento Mori is also aptly set between the skull and hourglass.
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Two hands holding a figure of the deceased represent God.
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These images containing a cross behind a circle symbolize eternity and God’s endless love through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The first two images show a Patée cross identified by the narrowing of the arms towards the center.

The image below shows the circle of eternity with a Latin cross.
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A cairn is a heap of stones used as a marker for the dead. The scroll represents the scriptures and symbolizes honor and commemoration.
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The draped urn is a symbol of mourning.
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Epitaph

The Auld Kirkyard in Alloway, Scotland, is the resting place of William Burns who died in 1784. He was the father of Robert Burns, Scotland’s nation’s Bard and world renowned poet.

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The gravestone is engraved with the standard information regarding birth and death. However, on the back of the headstone is an epitaph written by Robert Burns for his father. The last line is from a poem called The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith.

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O YE, whose cheek the tear of pity stains,
Draw near with pious reverence and attend!
Here lie the loving husband’s dear remains,
The tender father, and the generous friend:
The pitying heart that felt for human wo!
The dauntless heart that fear’d no human pride!
The friend of man, to vice alone a foe,
“For ev’n his failings lean’d to virtues side.”

Glen Cinema Disaster

On the afternoon of 31 December 1929, at an area of Paisley called Paisley Cross in Scotland, approximately 2000 children filled the Glen Cinema to watch a matinee. The film was put in its metal can in the spool room where it began to issue thick black smoke. (Nitrocellulose film which is highly flammable can burn without any supply of air.)

When smoke emerged from the film container, an attempt by the operator to smother the film caused the container to spring open releasing smoke and fumes into the vestibule. Everyone fled in panic towards the exits on either side of the screen causing a jam at the exit doors which were protected by a locked iron gate. Many who were crushed by the force of others died from asphyxiation.

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Source: http://images.rarenewspapers.com/ebayimgs/2.20.2011/image040.jpg

Sixty nine children lost their lives ranging in age from four to fifteen, and almost as many were injured. The tragedy was reported as far away as Memphis, Tennessee. The horror of the event was recorded by the Glasgow Herald Newspaper the following day. To read the detailed report ,click this link. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6qNAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oqUMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4000,90882&dq=glen-cinema&hl=en

The majority of the deceased are interred in Hawkhead Cemetery where a memorial is inscribed with the names of the victims and the words “To the memory of the seventy-one children who lost their lives in the Glen Cinema Disaster 31st Dec 1929“.

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Creative Commons License, Lairich Rig. Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3609168

Cairns

A cairn is a marker compiled of stacked rocks. Initially it was an ancient custom of burying the dead to protect the body from scavenging animals.

Cairns vary in size related to whether they are used as a marker for the dead, a memorial, or on trails as a guide.

Markers known as Inukshuk are used by the Inuit and other people of the Artic regions of North America for the purpose of navigation. The word ‘inuksuk’ means “something which acts for, or performs the function of a person’. The Inukshuk form has become a modern day custom of tourists to indicate ‘I was here.’

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Vancouver, Canada

Cairns also marked the places where coffin-bearers rested when the walk to the burial ground was a long one e.g. St Cyril’s Church (Cille Choirille), in Glen Spean, near Roy Bridge in Scotland. Gravediggers recited the Gaelic Prayer before filling the grave in this cemetery which has the most incredible view of any in the Highlands.

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Glen Spean

The area around Inverness in Scotland is rife with cairns. The Clava Cairn is a circular chamber tomb cairn, named after the group of three cairns at Balnuaran of Clava,

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Balnuaran of Clava

The memorial built at the site of the former Aignish Farm on the islands of Lewis and Harris is a a tribute to the people who took action to recover their homes and livelihoods in the land struggles between landlords and crofters in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The design of two stone structures reflects the idea of confrontation. The jagged stones reflect the aggression and tension of the event.

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This ‘new’ cairn, built by John MacKinnon of Arisaig, was erected on the shores of Loch nan Uamh by the Forty Five Association and unveiled on 4 October 1956. The plaque states: This cairn marks the traditional spot from which Prince Charles Edward Stuart embarked for France 20th September 1746. ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ who claimed to be the rightful heir to the thrones of England, Scotland, France and Ireland was supported by many Highland clans both Catholic and Protestant. Supporters known as Jacobites led risings to reinstate him to the throne.

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One of the most famous Scottish cairns commemorates the Battle of Culloden, the last Jacobite rising, fought on Drumossie Moor, to the north east of Inverness in Scotland. The cairn was erected by Duncan Forbes of Culloden in 1881, in memory of the fallen Jacobites. The inscription on the plaque of the 20 foot high cairn reads :
‘The Battle of Culloden was fought on this moor 16th April, 1746. The graves of the Gallant Highlanders who fought for Scotland and Prince Charlie are marked by the names of their clans’

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In ancient Scotland, cairns were rallying points before battles and fights. Each man placed a stone on the ground upon arrival and removed it after the battle. The number of stones left was an account of the number of Clan members lost in the battle.

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David Izatt Photography

Shells

Actual shell fragments left on gravestones in pioneer cemeteries represent the journey through death and rebirth. Shells that are not part of the gravestone were left there to signify that the deceased had not been forgotten.

In localities near the sea, entire graves were covered with shells because this product was cheap and readily available.

Although not a common symbol the shell most often used is a scallop shell which represents the baptism of Christ. Many baptismal fonts are often built in the form of a scallop shell.

It is also a traditional symbol of the Crusades.

This large scallop shell was designed by the deceased, Ransom Cook, some years before his death.

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The art form of a child cradled in a scallop shell was popular in North America during the 19th century. Sears, Roebuck and Company had a contract with a Vermont marble producer to sell the shell headstone by mail order.

The conch shell was revered by many cultures as a symbol of reincarnation and wisdom. In Buddhism, the shell’s call can awaken one from ignorance, in Chinese Buddhism it signifies a prosperous journey; and in Islam the shell represents hearing the divine word. People in the Bakongo area of Africa believe that the shell encloses the soul (Pagans also held this same belief regarding the shell as a source of life.)

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They Fell Asleep

I discovered this cross and markers in the older section of the New Cemetery, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland. It is surrounded by hewn stone with engraved names and dates of members of the Mushet family. As the markers are relatively new they must represent broken or damaged headstones which have been removed.

The patriarch was William born in 1821. He married Robina Macfarlane who was born on August 28 1835.

William Mushet
Fell Asleep
April 1879
Robina Macfarlane
His Wife
Fell Asleep April 1911
Aged 77

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George Fred
Rests In India
Aged 22
June 29th 1878

They celebrated the births of 9 children.

  1. George Frederick was born on 1 May 1856 and christened on 25 May 1856. He died on 29 June1878, and is buried in Bombay (Mumbai)
  2. John Macfarlane was born 15 November 1857
  3. Janet Gray was born in 1858 and baptised on 16 January 1859
  4. William was born in 1861 and christened on 1 June
  5. Louisa Cecilia Mushet was born in 1863 and christened on 3 May
  6. Elizabeth Jane was born in 1864 and christened 13 December. Her stone is not visible in the images
  7. William Ernest. A second son born in 1871 was also named William. Given names followed a traditional naming pattern in Scotland by honouring members of the family. On occasion the same name was given to more than one child, if the first child had died, in order to perpetuate the name within the family. William Ernest was christened on 3 September.
  8. David Henry Cadell was born 25 April 1874-1881 and christened on 5 July
  9. Gerald was christened on11 February 1876. He died in 1906. His stone is not visible in the images

Thou Who Art The Hearer Of Prayer
All Flesh Shall Come Unto Thee
For Thine Is The Kingdom, The Power
And The Glory For Ever. Amen

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Willie Fell Asleep
Aged 3 ¼ Years
Dec 1864

David Henry Cadell
Fell Asleep
1871

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Janet Gray Mushet
Wife Of
John Morison
Of Newbattle
Fell Asleep 1939

Louisa Cecilia Mushet
Wife Of Rutherford Morison
Fell Asleep February 1904

Thanks Be To God Which Giveth Us The Victory
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ

St. Andrew’s Cathedral and Priory

The town of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, takes its name from one of Christ’s apostles, and was an important religious centre in medieval Scotland from where the bishops wielded great influence over Church and State.

The ruins of the Cathedral, at one time Scotland’s largest building, originated from a priory founded by Bishop Robert in the 12th century and was a centre of learning. Scotland’s first university was established there.

The cemetery within the ruins of the cathedral is large, spacious, well maintained and manicured. There are numerous tombstones relating to the armed services and the men who were lost during the great wars.

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Erected / By / Robert Corstorphan / In Memory Of / William Henry, His Son, / Who Was Drowned On The 1st of July  / 1839 In An Attempting To Save Another / From A Watery Grave / In The 18th Year Of His Age.

Whose Death Was The Grief Of A Fond Mother, / And The Slighted Expectations / Of An Indulgent Father / The Youth Grew Up Like A Well Watered Plant / He Shot Deep, Rose High / And Bade Fair For Manhood.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is regarded worldwide as the ‘home of golf’, therefore it is not surprising that more than a few golfers are buried here.

In Memory Of / Allan Robertson / Who Died 1st Sept 1859 / Aged 44 Years.
He Was Greatly Esteemed / For His Personal Worth / And For Many Years / Was Distinguished As The / Champion Golfer / Of Scotland.
Read more about this great golfer at http://www.worldgolfhalloffame.org/allen-robertson/