Born at Brechin
on 28th July 1820, Andrew Jervise was of humble origin (his father was a
coachman in private service) and started his working life as a printer.
He then found some success as a poet and artist followed later by works
as an author (beginning in 1853 with The History and Traditions of
the Land of the Lindsays). Other books
and numerous articles followed (including a series on monumental
inscriptions). With the passing of the Registration Act 1854 (the
beginning of the modern BMD certification) he was offered the post of
Examiner of Registers, giving him the opportunity to travel throughout
the NE, during which time he appeared to carry out a great deal more
graveyard 'field research'. Of particular importance to this area were his two
volumes entitled Epitaphs & Inscriptions from Burial Grounds & Old
Buildings in The North East of Scotland*. Volume one was published in
1875 with the second appearing shortly after his death in 1879. Though
many of the listings were of prominent locals, he did include a number
of others which have since become of immense value as the original stones no longer exist. So in this section I will attempt to
reproduce some of these rare inscriptions. Perhaps that vital link you
have been looking for will be found here....
Here lies a pious man of respectable parentage, John
Auchinleck of Townhead of Cowie, who died in the 40th year of his age...
Here lyes a virtuous gentlewoman Helen Griegory, spouse
to James Scot, merchant, in Stonehaven, who departed this life April
1737, aged 78 years.
A well-sculptured skull (seen
here) occupies a niche on the right
of the church-yard gate; and a grave-stone, which long formed a step to
the church door, presents the date of 1640, and the words - Archibald
Bissed ane Honest Man....
Here lyes Alexander Falconer ..twelf(th) June 1664, of
age 80, and....
One tomb-stone, name defaced, is dated 1600. Upon
another slab, of date 1668, these words only are traceable, ...Ane
vertuous woman Jean Gordon....
X Heir under lyeth in hope of a blessed resurrection,
the bodie of ane honest man, David Mackie, who dyed the 4 May 1668, late
indwellar at the Milne of Covie, of age 40 years; and heir lyes his
brother Robert Mackie, who dyed 24 Novr 1661, aged 50 years. R.M. : D.M.
: A.C. Our lyfe is shorte, and tis fulle of sorrow, Vere here
today, and straight are gone tomorrow.
Sacred to the memory of Mary, daughter of Robert
Farquhar, Esq. of Newhall, who died May 1786, aged 23 years; and of
Hobert, son of Capt. Arthur Farquhar, RN, CB, &c, who died 14th Sept
1816, in the 5th year of his age; and of Dr Peter Grant, sometime
physician in Aberdeen, who died at Mansefield, 23d Feb 1837, aged 76
years; and of Amelia Farquhar, his spouse, who died at Mansefield, 1st
Dec 1838, aged 69 years.
Here under lyeth Agnes Silver, spouse to John Silver,
wright at Maryculter, who departed the 8th of Feb 1721, and of her age
Sacred to the memory of Margaret Chalmers, wife of the
Reverend Mr F Dauney, minister of Banchory-Ternan, who died 9th January
1790, in her 64th year. Also of Catharine Dauney, their daughter, and
four children who died in infancy who rest beside them.
1720 Here lies James Farquhar in Lochtoun of Leys
who died 24 Sept 1712 aged 5?. Here also lies his wife Christian Spalden
who died 25 Sept 1719 aged 58 years.
The Reverend George Mark, died 23rd December 1811, in
the 76th year of his age and the 42nd of his ministry.
The Reverend John Stirling, 27 years minister in this
parish, died 5th October 1839 in his 54th year of his age. His widow
Helen Fowler, died 4th December 1862 aged 66 years.
The Reverend David Gillatly, minister of the Shiprow
Chapel of Aberdeen, died 20th Aug 1821, aged 58 years. Erected by his
Relict and Congregation.
Here lyes under the hope of a blessed resurrection, Mary
Gib, spouse to William Meff, tenant in Binghill, who departed this life
the 18th May 1710, and William Meff who departed ......
William Dykar, surgeon, RN, died 28th June 1830 aged 74
years. Also Hannah, wife of William Dykar, daughter of the late Mr
Richard Smith, of Paper Mill, who died 2nd May 1848.
1859 Erected by James Gilchrist Gibb, in memory of
his father David Gibb, who was born in 1783, and died 1858, aged 76
years. A native of Perthshire, he removed to this place in 1828, and
commenced flaxspinning, which business he prosecuted up to the time of
his death. An affectionate husband, a kind father, and a good member of
society, he closed a useful life by a happy death, regarding the grave
as a temporary abode, and looking forward in faith to a blessed
Here lyes Margaret Mill, lawful spows to James Dickie,
sometime carpenter in Johnshaven, who departed this life the 28th
September 1713 and of hir age 47 years.
Ane honest man in hop of a glorious resurrection, George
Fetvs (Fettes) husband to Margaret Anderson, who departed this life
January 24, 1729, of his age 60.
In memory of Joseph Grant, author of "Tales of the
Glens," and other pieces in prose and verse, who died April 14, 1835,
aged 30 years. Erected by his father and mother, Robert and Isobel
Grant, Affroak, Banchory-Ternan:-
Tho' young inn years, and not unknown to fame;
Tho' worth and genius both had told his name;
Tho' hope was high,, and certain honor near;
He left the world without a sigh or tear;
Yes! trusing in the Saviour's power to save,
No sting had death, no terror had the grave;
His parting words, in prospect of the tomb,
Wer, "Dearest Mother, I am going home!"
Grant died while the Tales of the Glens were passing
through the press. It is an interesting little volume, and preserves
many pieces, in both prose and verse, illustrative of the history and
traditions of the Mearns. Since the stone was raised to Grant's memory,
the deaths of his father and mother have been recorded upon it. The
former died in 1868, aged 82, and the latter in 1855, aged 71.
J Abernethy, tenant, Gateside, died 1705, aged 26
If at this humble urn
An honest relative should come and mourn -
"Here rests my friend" - they weeping at my grave
Shall cry, - It's all the Epitaph I have
The following inscription (round the margin of a flat
stone) appears to be the oldest in the churchyard,
Here sleeps H Auchenlect, late citizen of Dundee, and
shipmaster there, a man of blameless life, who died in 1610, in his 48th
St Cyrus Nether or Lower Kirkyard, Kincardineshire
Alexander Roberts, died 1798; his wife Catherine Straton,
I honour wait on pedigree,
And ancient blood we boast;
I claim descent from Adam,
Who of mankind was first.
From Noah next my line I have,
Through Cambria's hardy sons,
To Scotia's bleak, but friendly clime,
In earth to lay my bones.
David Spankie, writer in Montrose, son of William S,
tenant, Brae of Pert, was drowned, 2nd August 1807, while bathing, aged
Low here his mouldering body laid,
Now wrapt in death's oblivious shade;
I trust his soul dwells with the bleast,
In mansions of eternal rest.
Let every one who reads his fate,
Reflect on life's uncertain date;
And learn to run their worldly race,
That they through Christ may die in peace.
His parents hope to meet again
Their son, beyond the reach of pain,
And sin, and death, when saints shall rise,
To reign immortal in the skies
Robert Brown, died 1822, aged 88. "He was an elder in
said parish for 51 years."
St Cyrus Upper Kirkyard, Kincardineshire
From a flat stone:- Hier Lys Iohn Hoge, svmtyme in
Gapes Hall, who departed this lyfe the 24 of Svptember, and of age 57,
in the year of God 1703:-
Grim death arests me hier to ly,
To rest vntil the judgement day;
Yet me to life God will restor,
Vhom I vill praise for ever more.
("Gapes Hall," or Gapieshaugh, was Straton property from
before 1631, until about 1669, when it belonged to a Mr George Gordon.
It is now part of the Ecclesgreig estate.)
Heir lyes the corps of Androv Taylor in Over Kinmundy,
who departed this lyfe the 23 Apryli 1712.
Flat stone in the burial ground:- David Walker, farmer,
Mill of Montquigh, died 1775, aged 76:-
No lingering sickness, or long warning pains,
The pious want to purify their Stains;
To pray forbearance from impending fate,
And urge repentance on a death-bed state,
Heaven found him fit in any hour to die,
And sudden snatch'd him kindly to the joy.
When the Fraser Aisle was undergoing repair, two
mutilated gravestones, were found with the following remains of
Here lyes Isobel Fr...er spous...... aster Iohn.....
minister of Duries, who departed this life the 13 of May 1716, in the -2
of her age.
(This is possibly the gravestone of the first wife of Mr
John Reid, for according to Scott's Fasti, he left a widow. The same
authority states that Mr Reid, previously schoolmaster at
Banchory-Ternan, was appointed minister of Durris in 1675, and that he
was deposed in 1716.
....... Magister Andreas
....... Magistrie Ioannis
....... ris Ecclesiae Dur
....... sacrosancte .........
....... helogiae studiosus
....... decimo die Sept
........ 26. 17..
Flat stone:- Here lyes the body of William Hogg, late
farmer in Mickle barns, who died 26 Feb 1751, aged 72 years. We See
impartial death cuts down.
Flat stone:- 1715: IF: CF: Here under lyeth Iohn Fraser
in Mill of Doors, who departed the 6 day of July 1711, in the 63 year of
Here lies William Badenoch, minister of the church of
Cortachy in the county of Angus for 12 years, and of this church for 8
years, who closed his life of 58 years, Feb 5, 1746. Here also lies
Dorothy, his only daughter, a brief 8 months' of delight who died March
26, 1742. To her husband, with whom she lived happily for 6 years, and
to her little daughter, torn from her breast, Barbara Forbes, not
without tears, erected this monument.
Here lyeth Mary Moreson, laful spouse to John Forbes in
Mains of Balfuig, who dyed the 30 Jan, .... Here lyes J : Forbes,
who died in Kinstair, Jany 11, 1751.
Sacred to the memory of the Revd Alexander Johnston,
late minister of Gospel at Alford, who died the 2d of March 1778.
Margaret Syme, his spouse, who died the 16th September 1802.
Here lys below this stons,
Pious, wirtus, Jean Wisharts bons,
Wife to John Bain
Some time in Bridgend
All that was dicent & descret
Did in her parts & in her person meet;
She mead apper thro hir wnbilemeshd life,
The tender & the loving wife,
Who departed this life the 4 day of Febry 1759, aged 42 years
Here lies Jean Connan, who departed this life April 5, 1751, aged
Expect, but fear not Death, Death has not power,
To cut the threed, till Time point out the hour,
Death's patent's void, till Time set to his seal,
From whose joint sentence there is no appeal.
Hold Death in mind, hold Time in high esteem,
Time lost since thou cannot recall, redeem,
Waste not thy Time in vain on trivial things,
On Time the chain of thy salvation hings.
Alexr Thomson, farmer in Mains of Balfluige lies here
interrd. He died May 2, 1767, aged about 80 years. He was a dutiful
husband, an affectionate parent, an obliging neighbour, & kind & affable
even to the poorest. Jean Gairdne, his relict, who lived with him near
50 years, has purchased this stone in his memory, not without grief
indeed; but considers that tis most certain all must die.
Here lys Jean Aitken, lawfull daughter to George Aitken
in Hoodhouse of Alfoord, aged three years, dyed May 17, 1724.
* These volumes were both limited editions. Volume I -
250 copies, Volume II - 400 copies. Since they have never been
republished these books command very high prices - when you can find
them. Recently however volume I has become available as a facsimile copy
and can now be obtained for just a few pounds. You'll find it online at
Amazon and other similar booksites. Perhaps the second volume will also
be reproduced. Watch this space! The above entries will be extracted
from both volumes.
The next inscription is partly round the margin, partly
upon the face of a well-proportioned slab of red sand stone. Near the
bottom of the stone are the initials, A G, the date of 1630, also boldly
executed carvings of a blacksmith's shovel, tongs, a hammer, the horns
of an anvil, a horse shoe, &c. The first portion of the inscription is
cut in relief, and the last three lines are incised:-
Heir . lyes . Adame . Glyge . smith in . the . Hill ....
Morphye . some tyme . Howsband . to . Isobel . Low who . departed . the
. 10 . of . Awgwst Adam . Gle.... Died in April 1698 . aged . 86
John Gleig died May 15, 1737, aged 83, Isobel Gleig died March 4th 1761,
" John Gleig," (great-grandson of "Adame Glyge"), was
the father of Provost Gleig of Montrose. Elizabeth, daughter of Provost
Gleig, married James Burnes, cousin-german to Burns, the Poet. Mr Burnes,
who was a writer in , and sometime Provost of Montrose, had a large
family, among whom were Sir Alexander and Charles who both fell at Cabul;
Sir James, K.H. ; and Adam. The last-named succeeded to his father's
business in Montrose, where he died in 1872. He was much esteemed for
his upright conduct, as well as for his great humour, and generosity of
Dr Gleig, Bishop of Brechin (the father of the present
venerable and accomplished Chaplain-General of the Forces), and the Rev.
Mr Gleig, parish minister of Arbroath, were both descendants of "Adame."
Their fathers were both blacksmiths by trade; the former followed his
useful calling at Boghall in Arbuthott, and the latter at Balrownie in
Menmuir. Some members of the Montrose branch of the family were famous
for the manufacture of "Jews' Harps," or trumps - a fact which
has made the name of Gleig familiar to the lovers of that
instrument in many parts of Scotland.
Isabella Duncan, daughter to Ann Jamie, Johnshaven, died
1820, aged 17 years.
Ly still, sweet maid, and take your rest,
God takes them first whom he loves best.
On back of same stone,
A Brother lies interred here,
Two Fathers, and a Mother dear;
In love they lived, in peace they died;
Their lives were craved, but God denied.
Here lies an honest gentleman, Roger Lindsay, once in
Barras, who died in the year of God 1619, aged 61, and his spouse
Elizabeth Simpson. James Lindsay, his son, in Brigend, died anno 1661,
aged 52; and his spouse Margaret Innes, and his eldest son James
Lindsay, and John Lindsay, his brother, who caused this stone to be laid
on his two wives, Margaret Molison, and Agnes Mill, or Milne.
Here rests in the Lord, John Wallentine, late Mosgrive
in Arnhale, who departd this lyf 23d Febryr 1679, and his aged 65 years.
And his spous Agnes Lowe, who departed this lyf the 12th June 1682, and
hire age 68 years:-
My parents here in hope doth rest,
Again to rise, and be for ever blest;
.... live in hope here to lye,
And rise and reing with them eternaly
The stone from which the above is copied is elaborately
ornamented with mortuary and other carvings, the more interesting of
which are (upon a shield) a well carved human hand, holding a coil of
rope, on the left of which is a short pole, or stake. These objects
possibly refer to the occupation of "mosgrive" - the rope fro measuring
the moss, and the pole for marking the boundaries. The surname of
Valentine, which is still common, is of considerable antiquity in the
district. I am inclined to think that is had been assumed from one of
the Thorntons of that ilk, whose Christian name was Valentine. Robert,
one of the last recorded Valentines, was farmer of Bogmuir, where he
died in 1868, aged 82.
A stone initialed M.A.S. : E.A., and dated 1753, bears
In this tomb are laid the remains of Alexander Scott,
A.M. a most distinguished and learned professor of the more liberal and
other arts and sciences, especially mathematics. He was born at Nether
Mill of Balmain, 14 Dec 1708, and died at Bankhead of Birse, 18 Feb
1751, in the 43d year of his age:-
The mind which learning can inspire -
The mind that soars beyond the sky -
The mind that's pure - in lustre far
Excels yon starry orb on high.
Margaret Low (1761):-
Death's equal hand reacheth a fatal blow
To all, even Kings unto his Sceptre bow;
Be wise, frail man, live dying so thou'lt give,
To death is wounds, and afterdying live.
On a collection of portraits of original feuars of
Laurenckirk originated these names,
David Beattie, factor (Father of James Beattie,
Professor of Natural History, Marischal College, Aberdeen and uncle of
the author of "The Minstrel.") [This
entry is thought inaccurate - David Beattie is believed to be the elder
brother of James - thanks to David Beattie (a descendant of the
aforementioned gentlemen!) for the correction]
John Scott, parochial schoolmaster. (Long Baron Bailie
of Laurencekirk. One of his daughters became the wife of Mr P Mason,
corn merchant, Montrose.)
Bailie Garden. (Mr Garden, who was an Aberdeen advocate,
and Baron Bailie of Peterhead, became factor for Lord Arbuthnott. He
married a daughter of the Rev. Mr Moir of Ellon, and having removed from
Mains of Fordoun, he died at Birness, in Logie-Buchan. He was connected
in some way with the Gardenstone family and a portrait of Lord
Gardenstone, which belonged to him, was given to the town of
Laurencekirk by his youngest daughter. Mr Garden was maternal
grandfather of Mr John Garland, Cairnton.)
Mr Badenoch, Johnstone. (Paternal uncle of Mr J Badenoch-Nicolson
of Arthurhouse and Glenbervie.)
Alex. Smart, Powburn. (Grandfather of the late Mr Alex.
Smart, writer, Stonehaven.)
Mr Dewar, Aberdeen.
John Rae, manufacturer. (Grandfather of the late Mr
Alex. Smart, writer, Stonehaven.)
Mrs Cruickshank, aged 78. (Innkeeper).
William Cream, innkeeper. (Father in law of Dr Fettes,
Baron of Bailie of Laurencekirk).
John Silver, baker.
Peter Ramsay, mason.
James Laurence, blacksmith. (Formerly at Charter Stanes,
afterwards at Laurencekirk. It was after him that Charter's Square, in
the village, was named. Among the many odd stories that are told of
"Charters," it is said that the Rev. Dr Cook and he having quarrelled on
some occasion, and the Doctor having asked him, in a lofty tone "Do you
know who I am, sir?" "Charters" rejoined - "Brawly that! - you are my
servant ae day i' the week, an' the ither sax if I want you!")
William Rue, tailor.
John Charles, tailor.
John Rae, gamekeeper.
James Hay, forester.
James Murray, forester.
Robert Trail, hedger.
Lord Colville, Ochiltree. (Said to have been a local
Mr Brich, artist, 1790.