Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Back in Penicuik Graveyard

It's been quite some time since I visited Penicuik graveyard. Two months in fact as I tend to pop in when I'm visiting the dental hygienist. The dental surgery is located opposite the graveyard which I hope means exactly nothing! But there are some unnerving connections such as the frightening set of teeth on the skull above which together with the crossbones and the hour-glass all remind us that we are mortal and our time will one day run out (hopefully when we still have our own teeth!). Just to underscore that message, it also states it out loud in the text: Memento Mori.
It was a lovely day (we're having a wonderful stretch of beautiful weather at the moment!)and the graveyard was very peaceful, but sadly even in the intervening 2 months more stones have keeled over and others have split in two. The little building you see above is the Clerk family mausoleum which is overgrown with self-seeded trees that have taken root in the walls and roof. This building (you can also see it at the bottom of this blog) was build to enable the family to still bury their dead indoors so to speak. After the Reformation in the sixteenth Century imagery was no longer allowed in churches itself as any "sinful" decoration might detract the worshippers from God and therefore burials too should no longer take place inside as had been the custom until then. So wealthy families who still wanted memorials more impressive than mere gravestones erected little buildings for themselves. This one dates from 1684.
The only other visitors I come across in this graveyard are the rabbits who skip away on my arrival but gradually return as I stroll quietly about. They, or rather their warrens, do damage to the graveyard as they must be undermining the stones gradually. But at least they don't cause this damage on purpose. The many beer cans found strewn about, give evidence of less respectful visitors too. How I wish the council would do just a bit more to preserve this important historic site.
All I can do is come back time and again and record as much of what remains as possible so that at least the memory of how it used to be will be preserved for the future.


Linda said...

this post gave me a chuckle Frieda:):)I do hope you left the dentist's office with all your teeth. It's such a shame when a beautiful reminder of history is left to continually decay. I'm so glad you're capturing the stories in writing and photography. Glad you're having such good weather!

Anonymous said...

Makes me sad to see it left to ruin. The history and the art should be protected. Thank goodness for the photos. glad you've taken an interest and shared with the rest of us.


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