On March 17th, 2018, Alex and I were taken on a tour of Glasgow’s City Necropolis by Tam McCann of the Parkhead History Group and Peter Mortimer of the Bridgeton History Group. It’s well worth a wander round but if you’re able to get in on a tour, it’s well worth it. Anabel at the Glasgow Gallivanter, a participant of this site, is a Glasgow Women’s Library tour guide too.
Glasgow Cathedral Scenes
Necropolis Monuments & Memorials
Assembling at the St. Mungo Gate to the Necropolis.
Victoria Cross Memorial. Reads:
IN HONOUR OF GLASWEGIANS AWARDED
THE VICTORIA CROSS FOR VALOUR.
THIS MEMORIAL WAS ERECTED BY
THE CITY COUNCIL ON BEHALF OF
THE CITIZENS OF GLASGOW
IN REMEMBRANCE AND WITH GRATITUDE.
From the Cathedral side of the Bridge of Sighs.
As Tam says in his article:
“The façade was built as a gateway to a subterranean crypt that would hold the bodies of the deceased safely from grave robbers. But the passing of the Anatomy act 1832 meant that bodies could be released for medical science, its now used as a store room.”
Over the door reads:
THE ADJOINING BRIDGE
WAS ERECTED BY
THE MERCHANTS HOUSE OF GLASGOW
TO AFFORD A PROPER ENTRANCE TO THEIR NEW CEMETERY COMBINING
CONVENIENT ACCESS TO THE GROUNDS WITH SUITABLE DECORATION TO THE
VENERABLE CATHEDRAL & SURROUNDING SCENERY TO UNITE THE TOMBS OF MANY GENERATIONS
WHO HAVE COME BEFORE WITH THE RESTING PLACES DESTINED FOR GENERATIONS YET
UNBORN WHERE THE ASHES OF ALL SHALL REPOSE UNTIL THE RESURRECTION OF THE JUST WHEN THAT WHICH
IS BORN A NATURAL BODY SHALL BE RAISED A SPIRITUAL BODY WHEN THIS CORRUPTIBLE MUST PUT
ON INCORRUPTION WHEN THIS MORTAL MUST PUT ON IMMORALITY WHEN DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY.
A. D. MDCCCXXXIII
“BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO TRUSTETH IN GOD AND WHOSE HOPE THE LORD IS.”
The formost inscription within the arch is too worn to read here. The marker next to it reads:
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
WILLIAM PEDDIE ALEXANDER
OF GLASGOW AND CALCUTTA
BORN IN THIS TOWN 8TH MAY 1848
DIED IN BAD NAUHEIM GERMANY 25TH MAY 1902
The monument to the left is dedicated to ALEXANDER RAMSAY though the inscription is too worn to make out here. The central, very elaborate, monument is unfortunately too faded to make out any names as is that to its right.
It’s a wee bit of a climb to get to the apex of the necropolis. The monument to the right is very faded but the names JAMES MCCLELLAND and WILHELMINA BOYD SIMPSON can still be read.
These 3 monuments used to be 4, if I remember correctly, though that’s all my memory gives me for these. They are related in some way (I will find out!). The only inscription that can be (kind of) read is that of the middle memorial:
ERECTED BY THE CORPORATION
OF THE CITY OF GLASGOW
IN MEMORY OF
WHO WAS KILLED AT [Lacuna] PIT AYRSHIRE
ON THE 20TH OCTOBER 1893.
It seems as though they were victims of some kind of mining disaster.
To the left we have a monument to the Graham family. Names that can be read here are JAMES GRAHAM and MARGARET SCOTT GRAHAM. In the middle is the Malcolm family monument which reads:
SACRED TO THE MEMORY
There are too many faded bits to attempt to decipher but the names that can be made out are:
MARY SMYTHE HIS WIFE
CHARLOTTE FERRIER HIS MOTHER
JOHN MALCOLM HIS BROTHER
MARGARET MALCOLM HIS SISTER
MARY MALCOLM HIS SISTER
ALEXANDER MALCOLM HIS BROTHER
GEORGE MALCOLM HIS NEPHEW
AMELIA JANE HOLDSWORTH HIS WIFE
SAMUEL S. MALCOLM HIS BROTHER
ELIZABETH LEITH HENDERSON
ELIZABETH AMY MALCOLM
HENRY HUNTLY LEITH MALCOLM CB, CMG, DSO
[Lacuna] HIGHLANDERS, THE BLACK WATCH
[Lacuna] QUEEN’S OWN CAMERON HIGHLANDERS
LOUISA HUNTLY DUTTON.
The monument to the right is for the Cassels family and reads:
ROBERT CASSELS, IRONMASTER,
DIED 12TH FEB. 1890, AGED 78 YEARS
MARY WILSON, HIS WIFE,
DIED 22ND AUG. 1890, AGED 73 YEARS
THOMAS WILSON, THEIR SON,
DIED 11TH MAY 1871, AGED 25 YEARS
HELEN RAE COCHRAN
WIFE OF ROBERT CASSELS, J
DIED 7TH APRIL, 1878, AGED 23 YEARS
DIED 16TH APRIL 1878, AGED 17 DAYS
SON OF ROBERT CASSELS,
DIED 8TH JULY 1905, IN HIS 54TH YEAR
DAUGHTER OF ROBERT CASSELS,
DIED 20TH NOV. 1940, AGED 82 YEARS
JOHN R. CASSELS
JANE TORRANCE CROSS
DIED 24TH OCT. 1880, AGED 32 YEARS
JANE CROSS WILSON
HIS YOUNGER DAUGHTER,
DIED 16TH MARCH 1904, AGED 23 YEARS
THE ABOVE JOHN R. CASSELS
DIED 25TH MAY 1906, AGED 62 YEARS
ROBERT WILLIAM CASSELS HIS SON
PRIVATE 10TH ROYAL FUSILIERS
FELL AT THE BATTLE OF THE ANCRE
17TH NOVEMBER 1916, AGED 40 YEARS
JOHN KNOX’S towering monument. The inscription on one side reads:
TO TESTIFY GRATITUDE FOR INESTIMABLE SERVICES
IN THE CAUSE OF RELIGION, EDUCATION, AND CIVIL LIBERTY;
TO AWAKEN ADMIRATION
OF THAT INTEGRITY, DISINTERESTEDNESS, AND COURAGE,
WHICH STOOD UNSHAKEN IN THE MIDST OF TRIALS,
AND IN THE MAINTENANCE OF THE HIGHEST OBJECTS; FINALLY,
TO CHERISH UNCEASING REVERENCE FOR THE PRINCIPLES AND
BLESSINGS OF THAT GREAT REFORMATION,
BY THE INFLUENCE OF WHICH OUR COUNTRY, THROUGH THE
MIDST OF DIFFICULTIES,
HAS ARISEN TO HONOUR, PROSPERITY, AND HAPPINESS.
THIS MONUMENT IS ERECTED BY VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION
TO THE MEMORY OF JOHN KNOX;
THE CHIEF INSTRUMENT UNDER GOD, OF THE REFORMATION IN SCOTLAND,
ON THE 22ND DAY OF SEPTEMBER 1825.
HE DIED REJOICING IN THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL [Lacuna] AT EDINBURGH,
ON THE 24TH NOVEMBER A. D. 1572, IN THE 67TH YEAR OF HIS AGE.
“On Wednesday several potions of the statue of the great Scottish reformer, John Knox, arrived in Glasgow. they were contained in six carts, and the remaining parts of it will occupy the other three. The weight of the entire statue is calculated at between nine and ten tons. Its height is 12 feet. It is composed of nine pieces. The height of the column on which it is fixed is 55 feet. Thursday two of the pieces were fixed upon the pedestal. One of them, weighed at the Gallowgate toll, was found to be 27½, and the other 26 cwt. Mr Forrest, the ingenious artist, superintends in person the placing of the statue. The remaining pieces arrived on Friday morning.”
– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Wednesday 8th February, 1826, p.4.
A friend had suggested I look out for gravestones with seashells decorating them. He wasn’t sure if they had any particular meaning. I did make a point of asking on the tour but was told they probably really are just for decoration rather than indicating a seafaring link to the occupant.
The inscription on the left reads:
TO THE MEMORY OF
JOHN BUCHANAN, OF GLENLORA.
DIED 29 AUGUST 1852.
DIED 6TH APRIL 1869.
WIFE OF JAMES OGILVY MACK,
DIED 4TH DECEMBER 1867.
AND OF THE ABOVE
JOHN BUCHANAN, LATE OF GLENLORA
DIED 27TH SEPTEMBER 1880
DIED 19TH JUNE 1883.
That of the marker on the right reads:
TO THE MEMORY OF
JOHN MCKERRELL, ESQ.
AND LATTERLY OF
JAMES BROWN ESQ.
DIED 14TH OCTOBER 1880
ALSO OF HER ONLY CHILD
DAUGHTER OF THE ABOVE NAMED
JOHN MCKERRELL, ESQ.
DIED 1ST DECEMBER 1907.
The John Knox monument is to the left here. The letters are disappearing from the Rev. Dr. Duncan MacFarlane’s monument which reads:
OF THE VERY REVEREND
DUNCAN MACFARLAN. D.D.
BORN 1771.- DIED 1857
SUCCEEDED HIS FATHER AS MINISTER
OF DRYMEN 1792.
OF GLASGOW COLLEGE 1823
THE ORIGINAL PARISH OF GLASGOW.
Henry Monteith’s monument, on the left side here, reads:
DIED A.D. 1848
AGED 83 YEARS
[Lacuna] BELOVED DAUGHTER
and to the right, reads:
MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
Wingate memorial to the left reads:
IN MEMORY OF
Then it’s very difficult to make out but we have the names JOHN, WILLIAM, MARGARET HILL, AGNES COOK, GEORGE HILL, MARGARET and CHRISTINA.
The extremely ornamental monument to the right is dedicated to:
JOHN HENRY ALEXANDER
15TH DEC. 1851
Aged 55 Years.
Fallen is the curtain – the last scene is o’er:
The favourite actor treads life’s stage no more.
Oft lavish plaudits from the crowd he drew,
And laughing eyes confess’d his humour true.
Here fond affection rears this sculpted stone
For virtues not enacted but his own –
A constancy unshaken unto death.
A truth unswerving and a christian’s faith.
Who knew him best have cause to mourn him most:
Oh weep the man more than the actor lost.
Unnumber’d parts he play’d yet to the end,
His best were those of Husband, Father, Friend.
William McGavin’s elaborate memorial reads:
who died on the XXIII. of August,
aged Fifty-nine years.
Monument has been Erected
by his fellow Citizens.
William Rae Wilson’s family crypt. Tam tells us in his article:
“No wood, iron or lead has been used in making this monument, all joints are concealed. The family arms of Rae and Wilson are depicted in white marble inside.”
This striking monument reads:
TO THE MEMORY OF
WALTER MACFARLANE, SARACEN FOUNDRY, POSSILPARK, DIED 18TH OCTOBER 1885, AGED 69 YEARS.
MARGARET RUSSELL, HIS WIFE, DIED 3RD MAY 1918, AGED 85 YEARS.
HELEN CROSS, DIED 25TH APRIL 1925, AGED 66YEARS.
WALTER MACFARLANE, J.P., D.L., SARACEN FOUNDRY, POSSILPARK, DIED 3RD JULY 1932, AGED 79 YEARS.
JESSIE MAY, THEIR DAUGHTER, KILLED BY ENEMY ACTION, 7TH APRIL 1941, AGED 47 YEARS.
MARION CROSS MACFARLANE CASSELS, O.B.E., THEIR DAUGHTER,
AND WIFE OF J. H. H. CASSELS, DIED 31ST DECEMBER 1986, AGED 79 YEARS.
COLONEL WALTER MACFARLANE, D.S.O., D.L., J.P, SON OF WALTER AND HELEN MACFARLANE, DIED 18TH MARCH 1965, AGED 81 YEARS.
Front and back of Glasgow’s lost Firefighters’ memorial which reads (front):
TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN PROUD AND LOVING MEMORY
OF THE OFFICERS AND MEN
OF THE GLASGOW FIRE SERVICE
AND THE GLASGOW SALVAGE CORPS
WHO PERISHED IN THE
CHEAPSIDE STREET FIRE
28TH MARCH 1960
GLASGOW FIRE SERVICE
SUB OFFICER JAMES CALDER
SUB OFFICER JOHN MCPHERSON
FIREMAN JOHN ALLAN
FIREMAN CHRISTOPHER BOYLE
FIREMAN GORDON J. CHAPMAN
FIREMAN WILLIAM W. CROCKET
FIREMAN ARCHIBALD DARROCH
FIREMAN DANIEL DAVIDSON
FIREMAN ALFRED C. DICKINSON
FIREMAN ALEXANDER A. GRASSIE
FIREMAN GEORGE D. MCINTYRE
FIREMAN EDWARD R. MCMILLAN
FIREMAN IAN A. C. MCMILLAN
FIREMAN WILLIAM R. WATSON
GLASGOW SALVAGE CORPS
SUPT EDWARD C. MURRAY
SALVAGEMAN JAMES A. MCLELLAN
SALVAGEMAN GORDON C. MCMILLAN
SALVAGEMAN JAMES F. MUNGALL
SALVAGEMAN WILLIAM OLIVER
The back of the memorial reads:
IN PROUD AND LOVING MEMORY OF
THE OFFICERS AND MEN FROM
THE GLASGOW FIRE SERVICE
WHO DIED TRAGICALLY AND HEROICALLY
WHILST RESCUING A COLLEAGUE
AT A WAREHOUSE FIRE IN
ON THE 25TH AUGUST 1972
DIVISIONAL OFFICER ANDREW P. QUINN
LEADING FIREMAN ALASTAIR CROFTS
FIREMAN IAIN R. BERMINGHAM
FIREMAN ALLAN FINLAY
FIREMAN WILLIAM MCL. HOOPER
FIREMAN DUNCAN A. MCMILLAN
FIREMAN JAMES W. ROOK
NOVEMBER 18TH 1972 – SUB OFFICER ADRIAN MCGILL
WHO DIED SAVING A MEMBER OF THE
PUBLIC AT A FIRE IN MARYHILL ROAD
ALL OF THE ABOVE ARE POSTHUMOUS RECIPIENTS OF
QUEENS COMMENDATION FOR BRAVE CONDUCT
GLASGOW CORPORATION MEDAL FOR BRAVERY
CARNEGIE HERO TRUST AWARD
THE OFFICERS OF THE GLASGOW FIRE SERVICE
WHO DIED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF
THEIR DUTY AND ARE INTERRED ELSEWHERE
DECEMBER 2ND 1960 – STATION OFFICER DOUGLAS MEARNS
WHO DIED ON BOARD MV PAGENSAND, PRICE’S DOCK
NOVEMBER 15TH 1967 – STATION OFFICER WILLIAM CLARK
WHO DIED TOGETHER WITH FOUR CHILDREN WHOM HE WAS
TRYING TO RESCUE AT A DWELLING HOUSE FIRE IN CUMBERLAND ST.
NOVEMBER 3RD 1969 – SUB OFFICER ARCHIBALD MCLAY
WHO DIED WHILST FIREFIGHTING AT STV. STUDIOS, HOPE ST.
MARCH 20TH 1971 – STATION OFFICER JAMES MATHIESON
WHO DIED WHILST FIREFIGHTING AT A DWELLING HOUSE IN DEANSTON DR.
The inscription on this Celtic cross memorial reads:
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
8TH JANUARY 1849 – 30TH JULY 1927
AND OF HIS WIFE
ISABELLA MARY MACINDOE
18TH JUNE 1861 – 29TH APRIL 1941
This struck me as particularly pretty Celtic cross. The inscription reads:
TO THE MEMORY OF
BORN 28 OCTOBER 1796
DIED 13 NOVEMBER 1874
JANE FINLAYSON HIS WIFE
BORN 24 JUNE 1798 DIED 11
AUG 1874 JANE STEEL WIFE
OF WILLIAM J GOVAN BORN 12
AUG 1847 DIED 15 NOV 1876
WILLIAM GOVAN BORN 27 NOV
1819 DIED 25 SEPT 1883
BORN 26 JUNE
1811 DIED 28 FEBRUARY
1884 JANE JESSIE ARTHUR
HIS WIFE BORN 11 OCTOBER
1818 DIED 26 FEBRUARY 1865
ALSO HIS WIFE CATHERINE
CROALL MATHERS BORN
27 JANUARY 1836 DIED 10
Memorial to members of the WHITELAW family.
The memorial crypt of MAJOR ARCHIBALD DOUGLAS MONTEATH of which Tam writes in his article:
“Major Archibald Douglas Monteath served in the East India Company. Allegedly, Monteath made his fortune when an elephant carrying precious gems belonging to a Maharajah was captured and ‘relieved’ of its load by him. When he died £1,000 was left to build his monument. There was a shortfall, however, the Merchants’ House gifted the extra land needed and this spectacular mausoleum was built. Based on the Knights Templar Church of the Holy Sepulchre, though experts dispute whether it is modeled on the Jerusalem Church.”
I love how nature is left to do its thing in the Necropolis. Makes for a more beautiful setting in which to be interred and visit loved ones.
There are lots of nice wee details on this gravestone which reads:
IN LOVING MEMORY OF HIS SONS
BORN 30 AUG. 1872, DIED 3 FEB. 1875.
BORN 29 JULY 1876, DIED 16 APRIL 1877.
BORN 4 MARCH 1875, DIED 22 APRIL 1878.
ALSO HIS FATHER-IN-LAW
DIED 12 MARCH 1884, AGED 58 YEARS.
JAMES, HIS SON,
DIED 20 JUNE 1885, AGED 15 MONTHS.
33 thoughts on “Glasgow’s Cathedral & City Necropolis”
I came across this in a small publication I bought years ago called Understanding Scottish Graveyards by Betty Willsher, page 28. The Scallop Shell was carried by pilgrims to the shrine of St.James of Compostela, but may be purely decorative when carved on monuments; nevertheless, it sometimes takes a prominence which seems significant, and it was a common practice over the centuries to place shells on graves.
The ones with lists of babies and children are always awfully sad. I love the angel on the Whitelaw memorial. For years it has held a pink flower, but the last few times I have been there it hasn’t. I wonder who was bringing the flowers – and why they stopped.
It was hard going typing out the inscriptions, especially those that gave the circumstances of the demise. The fireman that died with the 4 children he was trying to save still has me welling up 😢