Thursday, 19 January 2012

Lamington Graveyard 1

The day started with bright sunshine so a good time to visit another graveyard to take pictures and enjoy the scenery, as well as the hunt for beautiful and interesting gravestones. And I feel that I've really started to treat these visits as journeys of discovery. Lamington (in Lanarkshire)is a tiny village along the A702 on the way down towards the M74 motorway at Abington. The church is clearly visible from the road and had been on my Must Go There One Day list for quite some time.

The church itself is dedicted to St. Ninians, and was largely rebuilt in 1721 although there was a church there before that and the 12th Century doorway was preserved. But this place is a very ancient burial site. In Dane Love's book Scottish Churchyards he mentions that "the oldest burial grounds were usually circular or elliptical in plan. This may be due to their occupying some prehistoric site which was itself circular in plan due to their being marked out with a length of rope centred on a standing stone or burial mound" Lamington churchyard is one of these rare remaining examples.

Next door there is a new graveyard where burials are still taking place.

When in doubt just throw all the symbols of mortality and immortality onto one stone and be done with it. That seems to be the attitude this mason took in adding a skull, a winged hour-glass, crossbones, and the gravediggers tools (spade and shovel) onto this stone.

This stone was unusual in that it offers up not one but two skulls, as well as a winged angel spreading it's large wings protectively over them. The gravestone is just about still readable as far as the first few lines are concerned. It starts: "Here lyes Alexander Stevens, who lived ............hill and died in Feb'y 1712 (or 14), aged 25? It becomes murky after that but Robert Stevens (his brother or son?) was also buried there. Hence, no doubt, the 2 skulls.

Apart from the wonderful old stones, this old ironwork also grabbed my attention. It would for a start make for a wonderful quilt pattern. It was part of a railing erected around a grave monument (Victorian) for a minister's wife, who apparently was possessed of all the good virtues a dutiful wife should have! The description made me feel totally inadequate.

A last look at the graveyard from outwith it's moss covered old wall. It might look very sunny, but it was perishingly cold and once I got home again it started to snow. My hands were frozen to the bone and I could certainl sympathize with Robert Burns, who visited this church in 1789 and said of it: "as cauld a wind ever blew, a cauld kirk and in't but few, as cauld a minister e'er spak, ye's a be het e'er I come bak" , and he was inside the building, while I shivered outside. But it was worth getting frozen for. I'll show you more pictures of the fascinating stones I discovered in the near future.


Lenna Young Andrews said...

well, the ironwork captured my attention most of all! So beautiful. I know i will see it in your artwork again before long and that is definitely cause for smile : ))

Linda said...

I do love history, especially if it gives clues to how people lived. beautiful photos, stay warm.


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