This graveyard is right in the
heart of the city adjoining the main thoroughfare, Union Street. It is a
very old churchyard dating from at least medieval times with a long and
distinguished history. Many prominent citizens of the city are buried
there. The present graveyard layout dates from 1829 and was designed by
architect John Smith. There are a little over 1000
gravestones to be found - though the proportion of unreadable ones is
higher in this resting place as many of the flat ones have been walked
over (or sat upon) for generations. There are approximately 4000 names
still to be found on the inscriptions.
The church itself has an interesting history - more so
when you consider that the building consists of two churches - the East
Church and West Church, this arrangement dating from 1596. The present
building is obviously constructed of differing architectural styles. The
earlier West Church dates from 1755 while the more modern ornate East
Church was constructed in 1876.
An interesting graveyard with many distinguished
stones spanning the centuries. Those against the west wall are
particularly interesting. One grave of particular note within the
grounds is that of Mrs Duthie, donator of the grounds
which formed the Duthie park to the west of Aberdeen. A woman to
whom all Aberdonians owe a great debt.
Main paths are flagstones, though be aware - a number round the
church are actually gravestones! Because many are so badly worn I'm sure
lots of tourists walk over these graves without realizing it.
There are also fragments of gravestones to be found in odd corners of
the same paths. Look carefully and you may spot some.
This churchyard, despite its central location has in the past had a
bit of a reputation for being a haunt of undesirables. However the
police and council have tightened up on this and on my visit I saw no
evidence of anything untoward. A number of civic improvements such
as new paths and benches have been placed within the grounds and this
has improved the overall look and feel of the site.
Use a little common sense and don't enter the place when no one is
around at twilight. During the middle of the busy day there should be no
problem. It's a common haunt for lunchtime workers when the weather is
As I said, there are many fine stones. Quite a few belong to local
merchants, burgesses, church officials and university professors.
However there's also a good mix of 'ordinary' folks as well. Are yours
Certainly worth a visit - if only to examine the wide
range and types of gravestones. Speaking of which, check out the monument to Robert Hamilton,
one time professor of mathematics at
Marischal College located on your left as you enter via Union Street.
This was built from public subscriptions.
How's that for a modest tomb?!
If you require a specific gravestone photo from the above send me your relevant details and
I'll e-mail you what I have. Contact me
Click on photos below to enlarge