Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Peebles Graveyard 1

I've long resisted visiting Peebles Graveyard as I knew it was huge (passing it many times on my way to Peebles) and I would find it overwhelming. But today I decided to pay my first visit and simply take in as much as I could and then return for more at a later date. After all the graveyard will still be there long after I have gone. So here is a taster of the beauty on offer here. The gravestone above has a feature I've never come across before, the hands at the top. It dates from1763 and is the gravestone of James Notman tenant Eshiels who died in that year, and his wife Margaret Hall, died in 1770, as well as their son John. It is further adorned with an impressive skull and large crossbones.
There was a wealth of beautifully carved winged souls or angels. In fact I might well dedicate a future post just to these images, many of which seem to have been carved by the same mason's hand. Above is a very impressive example, both her hair and wings are gorgeous. The stone belongs to Thomas Gibsone, tenant Kirkburn and his family and dates to 1727.
On both its sides are, most unusually, carvings of the caduceus, with the winged helmet of Mercury replaced by a dove, a christian symbol.
 Another of those fabulous winged souls accompanied by the skull, hour-glass, and cross bones as well as some beautifully carved pillars

The graveyard itself, specially the old stones around the tower, is in a precarious state, with stones leaning every which way. There have even been articles about this in the local paper and one reason why this is such a sensitive subject, is that the graveyard is still in use. The people of Peebles are still being buried there to this day. Although it's known as Peebles Graveyard now, it is officially St. Andrews graveyard, named after the old parish church of St. Andrew which was dedicated originally in 1195. Sadly Peebles was burnt by the English in 1549 and the only remains of the old church is the tower (see below) which was restored by William Chambers in the 19th Century.
Here is the tower looking in a northerly direction and I briefly contemplated entering it to the Postcard for Peebles competition which is held each year to select the best Peebles photograph to make into a postcard for tourism purposes. But what would be the message for this picture: Wish you were here?. I don't think so although that is in fact very much like many of the messages on the stones. Not so much a wish but a reminder that the end will come for us all. Hopefully I will have time though to pay more visits to this incredible place!


Lenna Young Andrews said...

wow, i am impressed Frieda. I came here from your blipfoto of the tower because I wanted to see more and I am amazed at the carvings in some of the stones. I am glad you went, both for you & for me!

Linda said...

Looks like you had a fairly nice day to visit this graveyard Frieda. Thank you for sharing the beauty of these carvings, along with the information. I especially love the design/carving of the caduceus with the dove. "wish you were here"?:):):) Great photo!

Linda said...

Very nice post with all the pictures and history. Sometimes it seems they included every symbol they could on the stone but makes for interesting viewing.


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