Friday, 17 June 2011

Lyne Church

Today was the date of my 200th blip and I wanted to do something special for this occasion. Something historical seemed appropriate so we paid a visit to Lyne Church, positioned along the A72. I had always admired this very small church whenever we passed on the road but till now we never paid it an actual visit. Blipfoto has been a real incentive to pay more attention to our surroundings so this too was appropriate for my 200th picture.

The above image (my blip today) is from the grave monument of Jannet Veitch, the daughter of a local farmer, whose home is still standing nearby even today. She died at age 16, or to be more precise and as poignantly stated on her stone 16 years and 6 weeks, on the 31 January 1712.

This gravestone is of historical importance as it portrays Adam & Eve. Such gravestones were once common throughout the Lowlands of Scotland. This is one of the earliest ones and is the only know example in Peeblesshire. It has been extensively restored and is now surrounded by a toughened glass display case, which is good for preservation purposes but bad for photographs.

You can see the detail of Adam and Eve on the picture above. The gravestone is full of symbolism and I'm grateful for the Peeblesshire Archaeological Society for the following information: Adam and Eve represent original sin. The gravestone has symbols of mortality such as an inverted skull with the words Memento Mori and an hour-glass with Fugit Aetas (Eternity flies). Belief in eternal life is declared in the poignant verses on the other side of the stone: Life is the road to death, and death heavens gate must be, Heaven is the thron of Christ, and Christ is life to me.

There were several skull and crossbones to be found in this graveyard too (see my recent post about Temple Graveyard) but unlike that graveyard there were no winged angels in evidence at all. I wonder if this is because the Lyne Church was build after the Reformation in Scotland ( the church as seen today was erected between 1640 and 1645 by John Hay of Yester, who was to become the first Earl of Tweeddale) and is thus a Protestant church, whereas Temple started life a lot earlier and is Catholic in origin.

This skull is also quite different from the other ones I have seen so far. The skull is looking sideways. Could that have any special significance?

The last thing we did before leaving Lyne Church and its surroundings was climb up a nearby hill (Abbey Knowe), as directed by an information board. Three small, probably children's graves, were discovered there recently, although no remains were found, just the graves. They were probably part of a cist cemetery from the 600s-700s. So melancholic, looking out over the landscape and the remnants of an ancient Roman hillfort. The stones seen in the front of the picture were originally used to cover the graves. It was dismal, specially as the much more recent remains of a sheep were nearby, adding to the sad atmosphere.

I've discovered there is a website dedicated to Scottish Graveyards and I'm quite determined to go and visit more of them, and research the skull and bones images on gravestones, and I'll keep you posted. Also I need to ask myself why exactly I'm so fascinated by graveyards, what it is about them that seems to speak to me and entice me in? It seems so strange even to myself as I also know that I'm entirely unconcerned which what will happen to my remains, when the time comes. I also don't believe in any afterlife. So what is it with me and graveyards?!


Lenna Young Andrews said...

I don't know Frieda, maybe the history of the graveyards is what entices you? I have certainly learned a lot just reading your posts! I came from blip to your blog this time and wow! It really was interesting reading. xo

Julie said...

I don't think it's you Frieda. I also find graveyards fascinating, especially the older ones. There is so much art and history in them, not to mention poetry and human interest. Add to that the peace and wildlife that you often find in church yards there is a lot to draw you in. Are you familiar with the work of Susan Lenz in America? She has made hundreds of rubbings from the artworks and epitaphs on gravestones and has included them in quilts. Her blog is Art in Stitches


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