Thursday, 16 February 2012

Crichton Graveyard

We ventured out on what was in fact my Artist's Date for the week, although contrary to Julia Cameron's instructions John came with me (Artist's Dates are meant to be solitary undertakings). I wanted to visit yet another graveyard as it seemed like quite some time since I was in one last other than the West Linton one. Can you suffer from withdrawal symptoms re graveyard visits? Whatever it was, something inside was urging me forth and it proved to be a very worthwhile exercise and soothing to the soul. Once inside we wandered around separately as I take ages to photograph, have a very close look, and write down any inscriptions I find of interest while John is more fascinated by the church buildings and the surrounding landscape. Crichton Graveyard is only about 40 minutes away and was a real treat to see.

The church itself is decorated with these amazing heads too, all in a row around the entire building. I can only relate them back to gargoyles although they look more like masks and are all different. They were very high up but the camera managed to capture quite a lot of detail of these heads as well as the other decorations. I did get nice and dizzy though, looking up continually to see them all. They made quite a pagan impression.

Here is one side of the pedastal of the Rutherfoord family. Their grave obelisk topped with urn dates back to 1799 and there is carving on all sides. At first this image mystyfied me. On the left there is a Winged Soul but what could that be on the left? Romantically my mind strayed to the Devil being represented in the shape of a goat, but the truth was more mundane. The Rutherfoords were large farmers in the area and the images on their pedestal show farming implements, as well as symbols of mortality and this is quite simply a sheep's head representing their flock. You can see the sheep in detail at the top of this blog and it's also my blip for today.

What is going on here? Is it a case of whispering sweet nothings? That's certainly what it looks like at first sight. But no, on the right is a Angel of the Resurrection blowing its trumpet to wake up the dead on the day of the resurrection, whereas on the left is the dead person himself who will start that auspicious day with a severe case of earache! This stone dates back to the late 17th Century according to Islay Donaldson's book Midlothian Gravestones.

This is an overview of the graveyard and you can see the church which was started in 1440 and is dedicated to St. Mary and St. Kentigern. It's a Collegiate Church which is the term applied to churches where priest and singing were recruited to pray daily for the souls of the great families who built and owned them. In this case the family in question is the Crichton one, who were one of the 3 greatest Scottish families of the fifteenth Century.

And finally a view over the graveyard wall in the direction of Crichton Castle. It's a ruin as you can see and run by Historic Scotland. We were tempted to walk along to see it but decided to save it for a later occasion in the summer as it's worth longer time on than we had available today, and there is apparently also a walk from there to Borthwick Castle (now a hotel). So we'll be back again.

John agreed it was worth spending time in this graveyard (he's not as enamoured of them as I am!) and also wants to come back in the summer to visit the inside of the church. It's no longer in use but you can visit inside during the summer months and even from the outside it was clear that the stained glass windows must be a sight not to be missed.

You might well see more of the pictures I took today as there were several details (there they are again!) that might inspire future Journal Quilts! Since starting the 52 Journals project I take many pictures simply because I feel they might be the beginning of a new journal.


Linda said...

wonderful photos but I really like the history and the stories too.

Maggi said...

Another great field trip, those tombstones are so interesting!

Jewels said...

Wonderful Frieda - I especially liked the first picture...and thanks for the additional information about church...

Lenna Young Andrews said...

I love how you are weaving your photographs & journal quilts together!


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