MacArthur Piper

In Kilmuir graveyard on the Isle of Skye in Scotland there is a large gravestone lying flat on the ground, almost as if the scribe had walked away in the midst of engraving the epitaph. The inscription reads: ‘Here lie the remains of Charles MacKarter whose fame as an honest man and remarkable piper will survive this generation for his manners were easy and regular as his music and the the melody of his fingers will’

undiscoveredscot

This is the burial location of Charles MacArthur, the last hereditary piper to the Clan Chief MacDonald who resided in Duntulm Castle. It is believed that the stone was commissioned by Charles’ son, Donald, and when the son drowned in the Minch while returning with a boat load of cattle from Uist, the mason stopped work in the knowledge that he was unlikely to be paid. There is no record of what the full dedication would have said. (Alternatively, if the mason was a perfectionist the realization that he had made a mistake in engraving ‘the the’ could have been reason to abandon his work.)

There is a memorial to the famous MacArthur pipers situated beside Duntulm Castle. The dedication tablet states: “This cairn is to commemorate the MACARTHURS hereditary pipers to the MACDONALDS of the Isles. During the 18th century their school of piping stood at nearby Peingown’. A Gaelic inscription translates as, The world will end but love and music endureth.

Pipers-Cairn-1-vert-wmk

Note: Historically, a piper always marched in front of the army when going to battle to signal tactical movements to the troops.  Bagpipes were commonly used throughout the centuries during Clan battles, fights against the English, and during two World Wars to lead the men ‘over the top’ of the trenches and into battle. Unarmed pipers were an easy target for the enemy and the death rate among pipers was extremely high.

Advertisements

Monument Conundrum

THE LOCATION
The east wall, Greyfriars’ Churchyard, Edinburgh, Scotland. The name ‘Greyfriars’ comes from the color of the habit worn by the Franciscan monks who established the sacred ground in the 15th century.

THE LANDSCAPE
The churchyard consists of four courtyards: lower, upper, southern and western. The graveyard has a wide south slope and a narrow north slope. A significant change in the ground level (the largest slope ratio is up to 10%) required a retaining wall to be built to support the soil on the upper level of the graveyard.

THE MONUMENTS
This post makes reference to three neighbouring monuments on the east wall from north to south; Alexander Bethune, Sir Robert Dennestoun, and Alexander Miller.

edinboroughandbeyond

The dedication on the monument to Sir Robert Dennestoun translated from Latin reads; Behold, the world possesseth nothing permanent. Sir Robert Dennestoun lies under this tomb. He was formerly the King’s ambassador; and for thirty years, conservator of the Scottish privileges in Holland. He was also sent to, and behaved with glory, among English and Spaniards; true to his country; counsellor to his Prince; and, being full of days, having lived 78 years, he now liveth in the heavens.

28166847_1830520387247176_6432933894702389784_n

HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE 19TH CENTURY
The photographs circa 1848 are from the photography studio of Hill and Adamson. David Octavius Hill was a famous painter who partnered with Robert Adamson to create Scotland’s first photographic studio where they produced calotype negatives.

The Dennestoun monument consists of a stone inscription marker flanked by Corinthian columns surmounted by a tablet containing arms terminating with a horse’s head in a broken pediment.

nat gall2

1848 Greyfriars_kirkyard

nat gall

Note that a fence on the left side of the images is mounted atop a retaining wall.

CURRENT STATUS 
The fence and retaining wall no longer exist. An altar base has appeared on both the Dennestoun and Miller monuments.

27972890_1830520427247172_307469719135709705_n

CONUNDRUM 

  • When the retaining wall was built were large amounts of soil dumped, raising the level and concealing the altar base of the monuments on the higher level?
  • When the fence and wall were removed was the soil excavated to reveal the altar bases?

That seems likely when comparing the images below; the current status shows the Dennestoun and Miller monuments (middle and right) are at the same relative level as they were in the 1840s.

However…

  • The Bethune monument is not sitting at the same height relative to the other monuments.
  • The retaining wall and fence as seen in the image below are on the left side of the Bethune monument, in contradiction to other historical images that show the wall and fence to the left of the Dennestoun monument.

…Within this famed, haunted graveyard perhaps everything is fluid…rising, sinking, changing position?

Fraternity of Knights

It is not difficult to find symbols of fraternities within a cemetery, and most of these fraternities required from their members a belief in a higher power. Less common than the Masonic, Woodsmen of the World, or International Order of Oddfellows symbols are the ‘Knight” Fraternities of which I highlight only a few.

The Knights Templar, a Catholic military order was founded in 1119. Famous for their military prowess in the Crusades the majority of the order was non combative.  symbol consists of a cross within a crown inside a Maltese cross, with the Latin phrase, “In Hoc Signo Vinces.” The phrase means “in this sign you shall conquer”.

knightstemplar

The Fraternal Order of the Knights of Pythias is an international fraternity that promotes universal peace. It was founded in Washington, DC during the Civil War by Justus H. Rathbone. A heraldic shield with a suit of armor or letters F C B indicate a member of the Knights of Pythias.

The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded by Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1882, it was named in honor of the explorer Christopher Columbus to provide a Catholic alternative to secret societies and to support the families of men who died while working in factories. The present day Fraternity is engaged in local and global charities inside and outside the Catholic church.

Knights Columbus

Jewish Symbols

The six-pointed star known as the Star of David was not adopted internationally until the late 19th century and has no actual symbolism.

Two Hebrew letters representing Po Nikbar translated as Here Is Buried may be found in the center of the star.

po nikbar

The following Hebrew letters are found inscribed on headstones to represent the phrase: May His/Her Soul Be Bound Up With The Bond Of Life.

bond of life

A Menorah represents divine wisdom. The nine branch version is commonly recognized in association with Channukah and the miracle of a one day supply of lamp oil lasting nine days. The seven branch Menorah is more commonly found on gravestones and represents the seven days God created the world (Exodus:25).

The image of hands touching at thumbs with forefingers joined represents members of the priestly tribe of Aaron. It symbolizes a benediction or blessing by a Cohayn priest.

The last image depicts a Tzedakah box. In Judaism, Tzedakah refers to the religious obligation to do what is right and just, considered to be one of the three main acts that can annul a less than favorable heavenly decree.

Jewish cemetery in Otwock (Karczew-Anielin)

Sword Symbolism

The Sword is symbolic of courage; justice; martyrdom; military or warfare.

upright

Rest my son in thy far off grave.
You died for your country like a hero brave.

In the days when the sword was a principle weapon of battle they were often regarded as magical objects with supernatural properties. Warrior tombs feature swords as a mark of the dead’s profession or as a sign that the deceased was cut down in battle. A broken sword represents a life cut short.

 

Crossed swords commemorate a high ranking military person; or a life lost in battle. They are often seen on the gravestones of veterans, especially officers.

Windsor - Sword side of monument

  • An inverted sword is symbolic of death in battle; a relinquishment of power; or victory.
  • A sword within its sheath represents temperance.
  • Archangels sometimes carry swords as a symbol of God’s Judgement in the life to come.
  • A superstition predicts death if a sword falls from its scabbard.
  • An oath made on a sword was as binding as one made on a Bible.

Triller Family

The Triller family was originally from Warren County, New Jersey, USA, and the family name was Driller. William Driller and his wife Mary (Maria) had 10 children. Sarah who was the 7th child and 5th daughter was born on 5 Dec 1790 in Knowlton Township, Warren Co. Her gravestone is located in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Note that in the early 19th century, the years, months and days were recorded on gravestones. Her burial there in 1856 may be explained by the adventures of her elder brother, Philip, who is listed in the “Annals of the Forty”, No. 9 (1958), pp. 24-25.

Oakville_1790

Philip Triller was born about 1754 and was the son of William and Maria Triller. He married Mary Catherine Young and they lived in Knowlton township, Warren County, New Jersey, where their children were born and baptized in the first German and English congregation in that township.

In 1805 Philip and his wife and children left New Jersey and journeyed to Canada, where his wife’s sisters and her brother had previously settled. They travelled with three wagons, two four-horse teams and one two-horse team. The roads were so rough that it sometimes took six horses to draw one wagon over the mountainous country. They stopped at The Forty (Grimsby) and stayed near Green’s mills for a year before moving to Trafalgar Township, Halton County.

In that time Philip, with his sons and son-in-law, sawed a great quantity of lumber for building purposes, and this was floated by raft along the shore of Lake Ontario to the Twelve Mile Creek in Halton near Bronte.

Philip owned 1000 acres of land between Burlington and Bronte, and it is said built the first mills on The Sixteen. He and his wife, Catherine, lie buried in an old Burying Ground on the shore of Lake Ontario near Bronte.

Dust To Dust

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:19

These images show nature absorbing our bodies back into the earth, slowly eradicating the markers that record our existence.

IMG_0037

Lord, plant my feel on higher ground.IMG_0036

While they lie in peaceful sleep
Their memory we will always keep.

France_Paris_MontparnasseTree

Time passes, memories last.
a0f5d3dab51515bad9f4ae12a97b8b96

Mors Ianua Vitae: Death is the gate of life