Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Humbie Graveyard

Today was a rather momentous occasion as I have reached a blip milestone. I have been blipping for 2 entire years, never missing one single day and having to back blip only once in all that time. For those of you new to the Blipfoto concept, the idea is to upload one picture to the day the picture was taken. This is the only rule but I, like many other blippers, have given myself an additional rule i.e. to do it every day! I discovered Blipfoto back in November 2010 when I saw a small notice in the sidebar of the Scotland on Sunday newspaper. I checked it out and became hooked! The result has been many happy photographic expeditions to get special pictures but also an improved appreciation of our own home, garden and environment. Not to mention a desire for cameras! I'm contemplating a bridge one at the moment for my Christmas wish list!

But for my 730 day anniversary I wanted to make it special and thus we went off this morning to visit Humbie graveyard. It's not far from the Fala graveyard we visited not that long ago but this one is in East Lothian. It's beautifully situated along Humbie Water and both church and graveyard are still in use to this day. There has been a church here for centuries but the present one dates from 1800.
There was too much to see in this graveyard for one blog post so I will be coming back to other gravestones in the near future, however for today I'm concentrating on just one but it's a very special one. You can see it above and if you're wondering why I'm photographing it at an angle it's because the wall of the present church is in the way.

The way this monument looks I very strongly suspect that this monument was once inside the church that stood before the present day one was erected.

The shield at the top is for the Skirving and Anderson families and there is a scoll that reads: FIT INDE FIRMIOR ('He becomes stronger thereby'). Part of the right hand side of this monument seems to have disappeared  to make room for the monument next to it. I'm sure there is a lot more that can be discovered about this stone and I'll try and research it in more depth.

The back of this monument shows bricks as you can see above and I've never come across this before. It makes much more sense that the monument was purposely left outside the church when a new church was erected as after the Reformation in Scotland burials inside the church which had been the norm before, were frowned upon.

The family who were buried here must have been both a wealthy and influential one as this monument is hugely impressive. The text on the scroll as far as I can decipher it reads as follows:

Here lyes James Skirven of Pioulandhill
who departed y life in anno 1668
with Margaret Rigg his spouse
who departed in anno 1644
with James Ro't Adam Hary George
W'm & John Jean Agnes & Mary
children of James Skirven & Mary
Archibald Broun
Anderson sone of y'e's James

On the edge above it reads: William Schr'vins died december 1825 aged 82 years, and above that the inscription: Souen in Weaknes, raised in pouer I. Cor. 15.43 At the very top is the date 1682. The last 2 inscriptions must be later additions as the whole style of the monument says 17th Century to me. 
Here is a detail of one of the puttis holding the engraved scroll, with a fun little fig leaf to preserve his modesty! His head is decidedly too big for his body but his wings probably held him upright!
At the top is a figure that can only be a green man, with leaves coming out of his mouth. The Green Man is a popular figure in East Lothian, a region of Scotland that is very fertile and the home of many farms to this day.  He also seems to have a moustache and a rich hair do (probably a wig in keeping with the 17th century hair styles). I'm becoming more and more fascinated by Green Men and am reading as much as I can about it. There are many on show in Rosslyn Chapel and they sell a wealth of books on the subject there.
In the corner is that inevitable reminder that we will all die, in the shape of a skull. It somehow seemed very appropriate as my 2 year blip.The orange comes from the alga Trentepholia and there was much of that around as well as various lichen, contributing to the photographs!
Finally it looks likely that this monument had a pedastal but if it was ever in existence it's now firmly underground leaving only a winged soul behind who is literally biting the dust.

There were many more old and fascinating things to see in Humbie Graveyard and I will return both there and here with more pictures.


Linda said...

I enjoyed this post. The photographs are beautiful and the history/text as always very interesting. Nothing like a good graveyard shoot to make my day. Thanks for the fun.

Christine Moon said...

Love it! Keep up the graveyard photos!


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