Tag Archives: Scotland

The Mylne Tomb

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.

geograph ccl kim traynor
Creative Commons License, Kim Traynor. Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2034883

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.

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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.

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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.

cartoucheTwo 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.”

Edinburgh places and people

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.

 

 

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12th Century Church

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.

High St East_St. Nicholas 1

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.

High St N_St Nicholas

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).

High St East_St. Nicholas_vault

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.

almshouse

The attached graveyard was blogged previously, see https://wordsonstone.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/st-nicholas-churchyard/

 

 

 

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.

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.

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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.