Category Archives: Scotland

Title in Dispute

In Kilmuir cemetery on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, is a grave referred to on the internet as the Crusader’s Grave; yet there is no evidence to suggest that the deceased was a Crusader. Affirming this statement is the medieval custom of crossing the legs on the statue of the deceased if he had fought in the Holy Land.

In fact, the carved effigy that appears to be wearing chain mail may actually be a kilt and representative of a clan chief. The grave has been identified as containing the remains of Angus Martin, or Aonghas na Geoithe (Angus of the Wind) who earned his nickname by insisting on going to sea whatever the weather.



The Cemetery at St. Munn’s Church

A sleeping chamber for eternity, this graveyard is attached to St. Munn’s Church in the village of Kilmun. The village is located on the shores of the Holy Loch in the Scottish Highlands within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

Gravestones are located not far from the shore and stretch beyond onto the hillside. What a beautiful serene setting.visit scotland2

All things once
Are things forever,
Soul, once living,
Lives forever.visit scotland

Let friends forbear to mourn and weep
While sweetly in the dust they sleep
This toilsome World they left behind
A Crown of Glory for to find.


Kilmun Argyll

Thy wish is granted thou art free from every earthly pain
We miss thee but it would be wrong to wish thee back again.
But we shall meet thee blest through aught
Where partings never come where endless ages rolling fall
Will find us all at home. – 1855

james carter
copyright Bricheno
Photographer, Bricheno

Who Was Maggie Wall?

There is an interesting 20 foot high monument located near Dunning in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. It isn’t interesting because it is attractive, far from it, when you view the large stones bound together with iron fetters, and a dedication handwritten in white paint. The interest lies in its history, and the memory of a woman named Maggie Wall who was burned as a witch in 1657.

CCL Gordon Brown geograph
Creative Commons License, Gordon Brown. Source:

In fact, there is no record of a Maggie Wall existing or being burned as a witch. Meticulous notes were kept of witch burnings which were rampant in Scotland during the 17th and 18th centuries. Scotland has the unenviable title of being the biggest persecutor of witches with over 4000 alleged witches put to death. The rite of burning usually meant that the woman was strangled before being burned at the stake on a pyre of coal and tar. Six witches were accused in the parish of Dunning; Issobell Goold, Agnes Hutsone, Anna Law, Issobell McKendley, Elspeth Reid, and Jonet Toyes who was the last woman burnt as a witch in Scotland for using her daughter as a flying horse. It is feasible that the monument was erected as a memorial to all the persecuted women accused of witchcraft.

The monument is located on the former parklands of Duncrub Castle, seat of the Rollo family. During the 18th century plans of the Duncrub Estate identify a field with a stone perimeter called Maggie’s Walls. In 1866 a place named Maggie Walls Wood appeared on the ordnance survey map, and it is at this time that the monument appears in records.

So, many questions remain:
Is this the actual site of a witch burning?
If a follower of Satan was burned and died here, why is there a Christian cross atop it?
Who built the memorial?
Who regularly paints the inscriptions on the stones?
And most interestingly, as this story and memorial appears to be fake, why was it recorded as a Category B Historic Listed Building in 1971?

The Blind Evangelist

This gravestone located in Newington Cemetery, Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh celebrates the Reverend Archibald Turnbull who was a blind Evangelist. He died in Dalkeith on Christmas Day 1927 when he was 80 years old. An inscription memorializes his memory, He Served His Lord In Darkness, Light Denied, But Now He Serves Before The Shining Throne.

His wife, Elizabeth, and children are also remembered on the stone. Elizabeth died the year before her husband when she was 78 years old. Sadly, their children died before them in early adulthood. James was only 16 years old and their daughter 25 years old when she passed.


Rev. Archibald Turnbull, known as the Blind Evangelist, was a member and proponent of the Temperance Movement. In Nov 1883, Rev. Turnbull conducted a grand Blue Ribbon meeting in the primitive Methodist chapel in Shildon, Northern England where 45 signed an oath and 100 people donned the blue ribbon badge. The Blue Ribbon was a symbol worn by those who pledged abstinence from alcohol consumption. It was inspired by a verse from the bible Numbers 15:38-39; “Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments, throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: and it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them.

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.

The skull and crossed bones is symbolic of crucifixion, death, and mortality. These symbols were commonly used together.


The effigy of a face embraced with wings is a symbol of the deceased soul in flight.

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.

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.

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.

Two hands holding a figure of the deceased represent God.

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.
Peebles DSC03030

A cairn is a heap of stones used as a marker for the dead. The scroll represents the scriptures and symbolizes honor and commemoration.
Peebles DSC03032

The draped urn is a symbol of mourning.
Peebles DSC03033


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.


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.


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.


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.,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“.

geograph_Lairich Rig2

geograph_Lairich Rig
Creative Commons License, Lairich Rig. Source: