Saturday, 3 September 2011

Kirkurd Graveyard

Kirkurd is a very small community of a few houses and farms but it does have a lovely church, build in 1766, surrounded by a graveyard with some very old gravestones. The Border hills loom up behind it and the setting (as is usual for graveyards) in the landscape is lovely. It's strange (at least to me, in this day and age) that the dead usually had the best view, despite not being able to enjoy it. But of course when these dead were buried, belief in the Resurrection was universal and I suppose rising from the grave again and then being greeted with a wonderful view was something to strive for.

This is the church door, which is firmly closed to all comers, although strangely enough it does have a very modern spotlight above it, much to my irritation as it spoils the picture! The church is no longer in use and seems instead to be utilized for storage (yes, John and I had a very close look!). The stained glass windows are protected from the outside by some sort of metal mesh, and I suspect they are gorgeous, if only we could have a look from the inside.

The above detail of the door became my blip for today and I strongly feel it's also a quilt in the making one of these days. What exquisite detailing, made more beautiful by time passing over it. Distress and decay have added sadness and nostalgia.

Inside the graveyard there is a separate little building dedicated to the Carmichael family which is adorned with little wall plaques, of which this skull is the best preserved one. There is also a hand holding a sword, as well as a pelican feeling its young on its own blood. Both well know religious symbols. It won't be much longer before these carvings will disappear completely.

A great gravestone with symbols of both mortality and immortality combines. On the left mortality with the skull and crossbones, and on the right immortality in the shape of the winged soul making it's way to heaven. On top of both the inscription: Memento Mori.

The text can barely be read now and I have the Peeblesshire Monumental Inscriptions book, compiled by Sheila A. Scott, 1993 (and would you believe I bought this book from a genealogical research place in Australia!!!) to thank for the full text which reads:

Here lyes John Ritchie who died Sept 7th 1703 his age 58

Finally this grave monument, dedicated to a Minister. Their gravestones and/or monuments can usually be found closest to the church walls, or actually against it, as in this case.I suppose it was one of the perks of the job! The text on the stone refers to some historic religious church split of which there have been many here in Scotland. Here it is:

"In Memory of the Rev'd Walter Paterson ordained at Kirkurd in 1837, died 22nd June 1849, aged 59. The church highly esteemed him for his great talents, learning and integrity and his bereaved flock lament the loss of a kind friend and faithful minister.

In the memorable struggle of 1843 he joyfully cast his lot with those who suffered for the rights of the Christian people and the crown-rights of their Redeemer.

Erected by the Free Church Congregation of Kirkurd in 1851.


Georgie Horn said...

I love to visit old cemeteries and to pay homage to those that came before us. I've only had a chance to blog about one such visit...check it out if you'd like:

Terri said...

Totally fascinating Frieda! I can't believe you got that book from Australia!
I love seeing what you find in graveyards. The symbology is so interesting.I love your blip for the day, and think it would make a fabulous quilt!

Maggi said...

What an interesting church and graveyard, it's so beautiful there! The blip was an awesome pic, can't wait to see what you quilt with it!


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