This gravestone is located in St. Nicholas Churchyard in Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland. The inscription has disappeared due to weather erosion which is also attacking the sculptured effigies. Although this stone hosts common mortality symbols of Memento Mori in the hourglass, arrows and the skull the remainder is difficult to interpret.
On a humourous note, the skull on the bottom left appears to be wearing sunglasses.
Is the floating image a mother looking down from Heaven on her children? Note how this figure seems to be casually resting on her hand. Is this actually a female or a male as period dress may indicate? What is the triangular shape the figure is holding in the left hand? Are the cherubs below children or representative of angels?
What are the cherubs holding onto? Is it the wings of a winged effigy or a shroud/drape which denotes mourning and often borders a dedication? Or is the entire scene related to a Fraternity?
What is the boat shaped item? A similar symbol is found in the Old Town Cemeteries in Stirling, Scotland.
The town of Luss is situated on Loch Lomond in Scotland. There is evidence that a Church has been here since the year 510 AD; however, the current building was constructed in 1875.
The graveyard is located close to the edge of the loch, and is full of interesting and very old moss covered gravestones including 15 listed ancient monuments.
In some instances the sculptor was mindful of space and used what nowadays we would refer to as ‘justified text’.
The legends on the headstones are engraved using Olde English words and images of Memento Mori are visible on many of the stones.
The following transcriptions are related to the image below showing a cross in the forefront and a gravestone in the background.
His wife Caroline Anna Wyllie died 18th Jan 1914 Sacred to the loved memory of Andrew Wyllie for 12 years factor, on the luss estates died 1st February 1880 aged 46. No more death, neither sorrow. Rev 21,4
Sacred to the loved memory of Andrew Wyllie, for 12 years Factor of the Luss Estates. Died 1st February 1880, aged 46. “No more death, neither sorrow.” Rev 21:4
Interred here the remains of John Macauslan late tenant in Wester Bannachra who died 3 January 1795 aged 69 years. Also John Macausland late farmer illegible Roseneath who died 11th Oct 1843 Aged 73 years.
In memory of James 11th Baronet of Colquhoun and Luss, born February 7th 1804, John Boyd born April 23rd 1829, James Spottiswood born March 1st 1832, Angus Macdonald born June 15th 1839, Thomas Anderson born June 25th 1856 who were all drowned together in Loch Lomond on December 18th 1873. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee. Isaiah XIII
Historic Note: On 18 December 1873, with three of his gamekeepers and a stable boy, Sir James sailed to the island of Inch Lonaig to hunt red deer with the intent of providing Christmas fare for his tenants and friends. On his return a sudden storm swamped the heavily loaded boat and all on board perished. They drowned in Loch Lomond within earshot of Rossdhu, the home of the Chiefs of Clan Colquhoun. Sadly, the cries for help were believed to be joyous boating cheers.
St John’s Episcopal Church located at
the foot of Glen Coe on the shore of Loch Leven has to be one of the most picturesque locations for a
graveyard. In late May and early June, the grounds are blanketed by a sea of
Within the grounds a small stone storehouse with slate roof surmounted by a wooden cross was converted to a chapel in the late 1700s. The existing church was built in 1842.
Most of the graves marked by cast iron botonee crosses are identified only by a number.
Many of the gravestones were made from durable slate, hence the clarity of engravings and dedications.
Just back from Scotland where I discovered this ancient graveyard on the outskirts of Edinburgh: Old Pentland Cemetery, Damhead, Midlothian.
This cemetery was once home to a 13th century church which served the parish. A small watch house (a guard house to prevent grave robbing) inside the gates contains two stones known as the Arnold stones discovered in 1856 by Thomas Arnold. Chiselled into the stones are a Fleury cross, a calvary cross base and a sword. The cemetery is owned by the Gibsone Trust.
Within the only mausoleum on the grounds is a plaque with two angels flanking the Gibsone family crest and a dedication inscribed: Sacred to the memory of the late Sir John Gibsone of Pentland Bart who died March 1781 aged 48? Years. He was endowed with every virtue which became the Christian, the Gentleman, and the Scholar and died universally respected and lamented.
He married May 1774, Henrietta, eldest daughter of James Watson of Saughton and Lady Helen Hope who died 8th of March 1803 aged 63 years. This is erected by their only child Mrs. Helen Gibsone of Pentland.
Also in memory of Mrs. Helen Gibsone of Pentland only daughter and heiress of the above Sir John Gibsone who died 24th October 1843 In her 69th year.
And in loving remembrance of Jack Gibsone, Laird of Pentland, who died 30th December 1992, aged 84 years, a true gentle man.
Many of the inscriptions on the headstones have been eroded due to the weather or completely obliterated.
Erected to the memory of Andrew Finlayson late Mason at Loudon Burn who died the 8th October 1811, aged 55 years.
Also lies here Anne Finlayson his mother who died the 16th March 1755, aged 61 years and Andrew Finlayson his father who died 12 of November 1787 , aged 50 years.
Here lies Robert Umpherston tenant in Pentland who died March 2nd 1624 aged 31.
Here lies the dust of McJohn McNeil preacher of the gospel at Loanhead who died Dec 1702? in the 66 year of his age. A ? adherent to the covenanted testimony of the Church of Scotland in principle in practice and ? witness against ………..
The corps of Charles Brown who departed this …1661…..
Here lies Archibald Grieve preacher of the gospel licensed by the Reformed Presbytery at Peebles , June the 7th and who died at Pentland much lamented Oct 3rd 1760, aged 26 years. How soon this rising star did disappear He fell the church did mourn and friends did dear.
Apparently women did not outlive their husbands in the 17th and 18th centuries as evidenced by the following markers.
Here lies James Pennycook shepherd and tenant in Leaps who died in Pentland Oct 14, 1761, aged 83 years.
Also his first spouse Janet Baillie who died Oct 1710. And Marion Hodge his next spouse who died April 13th, 1732, aged 46 years.
Also two of his children Isobel and Elisabeth who died in their infancy.
Likewise his grandchild James Grinton who died March 1755 in the 8th year of his age.
1793 Here lies interred the body of John Waterston who died June 16, 1792, aged 79 years. He was first married to Katharine Lumsdain by whom he had two children James & Janet Waterston, and afterwards to Jean Graham who died without issue. This stone was erected by James Waterston his son. 8 feet square of ground belongs to this stone
This stone was erected by James Barrowman Smith Reid Combs to the memory of Isabell Fowler his spouse who died Dec 15, 1788, aged 43 years.
Also Margaret Carens his second spouse who died March 18, 1806 aged 47 years.
Also four of his children who died young.
Also two of his grandchildren Isabell Simpson who died March 5 1810, aged 7 years and Jean Barrowman who died August 17, 18??…
In memory of Isabella Thomson wife of Charles Robertson, Bilston Inn died 6th February 188? Aged 43 years and of the above Charles Robertson died at Silverburn 7th April 1906 aged 69 years.
Also his son Hugh Lamond died 12th April 1919 aged 34 years and his granddaughter Alison died 7th October 1897 aged 10 months.
Mary Meldrum his 2nd wife died 5th February 1921 aged 77
Also Colour Sergeant Alexander Robertson 98th Regiment and Catherine Robertson his sister who lie buried in St. Cuthberts Churchyard.
In the historic cemetery known as Greyfriar’s Kirkyard in Edinburgh is the tomb of the Mylne family who were architects and master masons to the Kings of Scotland. Enclosed with an iron fence the memorial is attached to the east wall of a tenement building on Candlemaker Row. The tomb contains the remains of John Mylne, Robert Mylne, William Mylne and Thomas Mylne.
The pediment at the top of the memorial hosts two cherubs flanking the heraldic shield of the Mylne family identified by a knight’s armoured helmet, and a shield containing a Patonce cross with three 5 point stars.
Directly beneath the shield is a grotesque representing a dragon. Additional examples of Memento Mori are present in winged effigies, skulls, an hourglass and crossed torches.
The main inscription written in Latin is displayed in Drapery held in the mouth of a ram: “John Mylne, who, at the expiry of fifty-five years of this frail life, sleeps softly here, sixth Master-Mason to the King of the family of Mylne, of remarkable skill in the building art, frequently Deacon-Convener of the Trades of Edinburgh, the circumspect and faithful representative of the metropolis on several occasions in the public Parliament of the Kingdom; a man adorned with gifts of mind above his condition in life, of a remarkably handsome person, upright, sagacious, pious, universally respected.
Robert, his brother’s son, emulous of his virtues, as well as his successor in office, has, out of gratitude, erected this monument, such as it is, to his uncle. He died 24th Dec. 1667, in the fifty-sixth year of his age.
John Mylne’s character is described in a smaller shield: Great artisan, grave senator, John Mylne,
Renown’d for learning, prudence, parts, and skill,
Who in his life Vitruvius’ art had shown,
Adorning others’ monuments: his own
Can have no other beauty, than his name,
His memory and everlasting fame.
Rare man he was, who could unite, in one,
Highest and lowest occupation;
To sit with statesmen, councillour to kings,
To work, with tradesmen, in mechanick things;
Majestick man, for person, witt, and grace;
This generation cannot fill his place.
Two Corinthian columns are inscribed with dedication.
The left column commemorates Robert Mylne: Sacred to the Memorie of Robert Mylne of Balfargie, Master Mason to severall Kings of Scotland; and Survieor to this Citie, who, duringe ane active life of honest fame, Builded amonge manie extensive warks Mylne’s Court, Mylne’s Square, and the Abbie of Halie rud house, Leaving by ane Worthie Wife, Eight Sonnes and Six Daughters, All Placed in the World with Credit to himself, and consecrated this Monument, To the Honour of his Ancestrie. Died Decr. 10th, 1710; aged 77.”
The column on the right: To the Memory of Thomas Mylne Eldest son of William Mylne a Deacon of the Masons in Edinburgh Who Died 5th March1763 To the Memory of William Mylne Master Mason Eldest son of Robert Mylne of Balfargie Who Died 9th March 1728.
A cartouche at the base of the stone is inscribed: Reader, John Mylne, who maketh the fourth John,
and, by descent, from father unto son,
Sixth master mason to a royal race
Of seven successive Kings, sleeps in this place.
This historic Church of Scotland is located on the High Street in Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland. It is believed that a chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas has existed there since the early 12th Century.
In 1406, Sir James Douglas built and founded a Collegiate Church in the same location. The church and graveyard were located in the centre of town on the north side of the High Street ensuring that no individual living within the parish of Dalkeith was required to walk further than three miles to worship.
The ruined apse and chancel (areas containing the altar and the choir) contained two recumbent stone effigies marking the burial locations of Sir James Douglas, 1st Earl of Morton, and his wife Joanna, daughter of King James I.
Considered monuments of idolatry by the Reformation, the apse was abandoned and sealed from the rest of the church by a wall in 1592. Some parts of the building were allowed to fall into decay following the Reformation and eventually the roof collapsed. The old section of the church remains without a roof.
In 1650 Oliver Cromwell and his troops crossed the border into Scotland with the intention of capturing the city of Edinburgh and set up headquarters in the parish church. Soldiers broke open the poor box, set fire to furniture and used the space to stable their horses. The sacristy (a room where vestments and other things of worship are kept) was used as a prison.
In the early 18th century, the sacristy which had continued to be used as a jail became a burial vault for the Buccleuch family (Scottish peerage and local landowners).
The church was greatly altered in 1854, and the walls of the original church were embedded within the present building. A fire which destroyed the steeple in 1885 caused two 300 years old bells to crash to the ground.
The church was restored once more in the 1930s, and in 1979 the church was renamed St. Nicholas Buccleuch.
In 2005, the 21st Earl of Morton unveiled the newly-repaired Morton Monument. The 16th century figures had been carefully restored and looked magnificent. Morton said at the ceremony: “I think this has been a great achievement for all the people concerned in putting this together. It is a great achievement for the people of Dalkeith.”
The Alms Collection House, adjacent to the main gate, is thought to be the only building of its kind: built specifically for the purpose of collecting alms.
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’
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.
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.