Tag Archives: Scotland

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’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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.

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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: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Memorial_to_Maggie_Wall_-_geograph.org.uk_-_226732.jpg

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.

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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.

Warriors

With the approach of Remembrance Day ceremonies throughout the Commonwealth, it is a good time to honour the millions killed in conflicts throughout the world.

Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind. J. F. Kennedy

Source: http://thebignote.com/
Source: http://thebignote.com/

SQUADRON LEADER D M DAVIDSON, DFC
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE
6TH JANUARY 1946 AGE 26
UNTIL THE DAWN BREAKS
AND WE MEET AGAIN
ALWAYS IN OUR THOUGHTS.
Squadron Leader D M Davidson received the Distinguished Flying Cross. He flew a Spitfire XIV TZ106 with 453 Squadron. The aircraft entered low cloud at about 100 feet and was seen to emerge from the cloud and strike the ground in Wichling, Kent, England.

 

http://thebignote.com/
http://thebignote.com/

3797 PRIVATE
HOLLOWAY
ROYAL NEWFOUNDLAND REGT.
17TH OCTOBER 1918 AGE 22

No loved one stood beside him to bid a last farewell,
No word of comfort could he leave to those he loved so well.
We little thought his time so short in this world to remain,
Nor that from when his home he went he would never return again.

 

http://thebignote.com/
http://thebignote.com/

16/988 LANCE CPL.
KATAU
N.Z. CYCLIST BATTALION
6TH OCTOBER 1918 AGE 23
The Cyclist Battalion was intended as a mobile light infantry. Read more at http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/anzac-cyclists

 

bignote_ramc
Source: http://thebignote.com/

COLONEL
J.D. ALEXANDER CBE DSO
ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS
9TH JULY 1922 AGE 55
The CBE, Commander of the British Empire, is the 3rd highest level that can be achieved within the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a military decoration of the United Kingdom awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime.

Do not ask us if we miss him,
There is such a vacant place;
Can we e’er forget that footstep,
And that dear familiar face.

 

bignote2
Source: http://thebignote.com/

LIEUTENANT
JOSEPH HALL HEWITT RNVR
HMS “ARROGANT”
26TH FEBRUARY 1919 AGE 34
RNVR is an acronym for the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
HMS “Arrogant” was built in 1895. It was in service during WWI as the Dover depot ship for submarines and motor launches.

Far away in a distant land,
Suddenly struck by death’s strong hand
A loving son, strong and brave,
Lies buried in a soldier’s grave.

 

Edinburgh_Newington_SoldiersTHEIR NAME LIVETH FOREVER MORE
TO THE HONORED MEMORY OF ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE BRITISH SAILORS AND SOLDIERS WHO GAVE
THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR COUNTRY DURING THE GREAT WAR1914-1918 AND WHO ARE BURIED IN THIS CEMETERY
FIFTY THREE OF WHOM LIE IN THIS PLOT AND TWELVE OTHERS WHO ARE NOT COMMEMORATED ELSEWHERE.
Located at Newington Cemetery, Edinburgh, Scotland.

No one knows the silent heartache,
Only those can tell
Who have lost their loved ones
Without saying one farewell.
We pictured him safely returning,
We longed to clasp his hand,
But God has postponed the meeting,
Till we meet in a better land.

France_Paris_MontparnasseMontparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France
France_Paris_Montparnasse_War weeping

No one knows the silent heartache, 
Only those that have lost can tell 
Of the grief that’s borne in silence 
For the one we loved so well. 

 

France_Paris_Pere lachaise_Polish MemorialThis memorial is located in Père-Lachaise-Cemetery in Paris, France. It commemorates the Polish soldiers who were killed during the liberation of France in the Second World War.
French: Aux Polonais/ Morts/ Pour La France
Polish: Polakom / Polegeym/ Za Francie

 

The Los Angeles National Cemetery is located in West Los Angeles, California, at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard. The 114 acre cemetery was dedicated on May 22, 1889. The chapel was renamed the Bob Hope Veterans Chapel on May 29, 2002 (Hope’s 99th birthday), in “celebration of his lifelong service to our American Veterans”.

 

londonTHE WOMEN OF WORLD WAR II, LONDON
Located near the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, England, this memorial was unveiled in 2005 to honour the service of women during the Second World War. It was sculpted by John W. Mills.

 

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A SOLDIER OF THE 1939/1945 WAR. SUDAN DEFENCE FORCE
This unknown soldier was a member of the British Army unit, the Sudan Defence Force (SDF.) It was formed in 1925 to maintain the borders of the Sudan under the British administration.

He marched away so bravely, His young head proudly held;
His footsteps never faltered, His courage never failed,
There on the field of battle, He calmly took his place,
He fought for King and Country, And the honour of his race.

 

Orangeville Forest Lawn1914-1918 & 1939-1945
TO PERPETUATE THE MEMORY OF VETERANS WHO REST IN THIS PLOT ERECTED BY ORANGEVILLE BRANCH NO. 233 CANADIAN LEGION 1946

 

south african
Source: http://thebignote.com/

22086 BURG.
COETZEE
2DE Z.A. INFANTERIE
23 OCTOBER 1918
South African infantry

This final image of Sutherlin, Oregon, USA, needs no words.

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/curtis4x5/6002805377/in/pool-douglascntyor/ - Sutherlin oregon
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/curtis4x5/6002805377/in/pool-douglascntyor/ – Sutherlin oregon

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Greyfriars Churchyard

Greyfriars Churchyard is inconspicuously tucked away on Candlemaker Row in Edinburgh, Scotland. Although not a large cemetery it contains a variety of burial options including vaults, sepulchres, tombs and mausoleums. It is rife with history, hauntings and a fair amount of mystery. Bodies have been buried here since 1562 although records were not kept until 1658. The location of many graves is unknown, and bones are regularly washed to the surface during heavy rainstorms. Hundreds of persecuted and martyred Covenanters lie here. Stones hundreds of years old marred by coal fire smoke and acid rain still stand albeit in a blackened mossy state. Although it seems that time almost stands still here, you will be surprised how quickly it passes as you wander through the graves.

The 17th century Greyfriars Kirk is still a working parish and worth a visit. A museum and gift shop are also located on the site.

Hugo Arnot, Edinburgh historian, describing Greyfriars Kirkyard in 1779
“The graves are so crowded on each other that the sextons frequently cannot avoid in opening a ripe grave encroaching on one not fit to be touched. The whole presents a scene equally nauseous and unwholesome. How soon this spot will be so surchrged with animal juices and oils, that, becoming one mass of coruption, its noxious steams will burst forth with the prey of a pestilence, we shall not pretend to determine; but we will venture to say, the effects of this burying-ground would ere now have been severly felt, were it not that, besides the coldness of the climate, they have been checked by the acidity of the coal smoke and the height of the winds, which in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh blow with extraordinary violence.”

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