Friday, 30 December 2011

Alexander Sanderson

After the snow the graveyard is now back to normal. There was a bit of frost on the ground but all the inscriptions could be read again. Here is the full text for the above stone:


In Memory of

Alexander Sanderson

who died the 9th day of June

1851, aged 78 years

Janet Sanderson spouse

to Alex Sanderson

who died 24 of August

1827 aged 47 years also

Charles Sanderson, son to

Alex Sanderson, wright

in Linton, who died Mar

ch the 6th 1809 aged 3 years

Also John Sanderson his

son who died June the 11

1810 aged 8 years
At the top is a very ornate urn which you can see above.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Robert Aitken

The snow has completely disappeared and the gravestones are once more in proper view. I don't usually feature too many modern gravestones but for this blog I will eventually record all the stones in West Linton graveyard so when my eye fell on this impressive one, with beautiful patterns, I could not resist.

It was erected for Sir Robert Aitken and the full inscription reads:


loving memory


Robert Aitken

born May 1863

died 18th April 1924

and his wife


Mary Lobb

who died

13th February 1937

Also their daughter

Margery Grace Black

born 5th November 1897

died 11th July 1961

Apparently Sir Robert had something to do with the Imperial Bank of India in his day.

Don't you just love the Celtic knot patterns on this stone? Very inspirational.

Monday, 19 December 2011

William Cairns gravestone in the snow

I have to apologize for not updating this blog for quite some time. We had lots of snow here in West Linton and that's not a good condition for registering the gravestones and more especially reading the information on them. But on the other hand the graveyard looks very scenic in the snow and I was in fact the very first person to disturb the snow since it started to fall last week.

This is the gravestone of William Cairns. I love the way the snow is providing covering for the skull. To read all the information about this gravestone you can refer to an earlier post here.

Saturday, 10 December 2011


Somehow snow is so very appropriate in graveyards. The transient nature of snow seems to resonate with the message Memento Mori as seen on a large variety of gravestones. West Linton graveyard looked beautiful first thing this morning.

I love the way the snow seems to wrap itself around the stones and specially the ornamention such as the urn.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Elizabeth Ballantine and family

The picture above was taken several days ago before the snow began to fall.
This impressive stone has the following inscriptions:

Erected in 1860

in affectionate remembrance of

Elizabeth Ballantine

eldest daughter of George Ballentine

late of Langleyhill and wife of John Alston

late of Peggy's Lea, who died at Pakes Hill

18th May 1856, aged 76 years

and of

her eldest daughter Agnes Alston

wife of Thomas R(or B?) ouch, who lies 16 feet south of this

who died at Grange 6th September 1837

aged 32 years

and of

her son Hugh Alston

who died at West Linton 23rd September 1885

aged 75 years

and of

her daughter Marion Alston

who died at Peebles 21st February 1894

aged 80 years

The righteous shall be hid in everlasting remembrance.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

John Allan

John Allan has a remarkable gravestone in West Linton graveyard. He's buried very close to the side wall to the right if you enter from the Main street and towards the back near the wall separating the graveyard from the Lower Green.

The inscription is very hard to read, only an occasional word can now be traced and I have Sheila A. Scott's book Peeblesshire Monumental Inscriptions - pre-1855 to thank for the text. Once I consulted the book I could even deciper some of the text on the stone. She doesn' mention the date of the gravestone but by closely looking at it I could see the year 1798.

The gravestone belongs to John Allan Leat Col (which is Colonel) Master in Collie Burn. This probably means he was in charge at Coalyburn Mine, which is the open cast mine the remnants of which can still be seen in our neighbouring field. The nearest house to ours is in fact called Coalyburn, so this gravestone is of very local interest.

His gravestones is adorned with this wonderful compass rose

as well as this circle of instruments which include (again according to Sheila Scott) 2 picks, a shovel, hammer and a couple of wedges, no doubt the tools of his trade.

This is the reverse of his gravestone with pillars, a winged (although the wings are hard to distinguish) soul and crossbones. There was also text on this side, now sadly lost to us. A detail of the top of this side can be seen at the very top of this post and became my blip for today!

Friday, 2 December 2011

James Scott's family

Trying to keep up with updating this site during some very busy weeks and today it's the time for the family of James Scott. He himself doesn't seem to be buried here.

The text reads:


by James Scott

in memory of his father

Thomas Scott who died in August 1840

also Isabella Smellie

his mother who died in June 1852

also Margaret Scott

his daughter who died February 1849

also Margaret Stewart

his wife died in November 1855

Monday, 28 November 2011

Isabella Oliver

This gravestone/monument attracts attention due to the large scale of the urn like object on top of the gravestone. You can see it in detail below. I'm not even sure it is an actual urn. The gravestone is located next to the right-hand side wall of the graveyard, coming in from the Main Road entrance.

The text reads as follows:



William C. Oliver

in memory

of his daughter

Isabella Oliver

who was born

at Denholm

Parish of Cavers (?)

5 September 1815

and died at Rutherford Inn

12th July 1856

Saturday, 26 November 2011

John White and Robert Cameron + family

A partially broken gravestone which has engravings on both sides and was renewed for more use in the 19th Century. Of course I can't be sure but I strongly suspect the Robert Cameron, mason, mentioned on the Renewed side was the original mason who did most of the later inscriptions. The engraving changes in style with the mention of his death.

The text on the oldest side of the stone states at the top:

John XXXIV - 15

.........shall turn again into dust


to the memory of

John White portioner Lindon

who died the 10th July 1718

aged 79 years


Elizabeth Donaldson

daughter of Thomas Donal

dson who died the 28th April 1842

aged 1 year and 4 months

You don't hear the word portioner a lot nowadays but it means the proprietor of a small portion of a larger piece of land. See this link.

On the other side of the stone it says:



by Robert Cameron

in memory of his mother

Elizabeth White

she died on 2th March 1855

aged 68 years. Also

Donald Cameron his father

who died on the 1st May 1861

aged 60 years

Also the above

Robert Cameron

mason, Linton, who died 23rd January

1912, aged 78 years

and who is interred immediately at the back

of this stone.

It remains a mystery how the Donaldsons mentioned on the first side of the stone were related to either the Camerons or the Whites.

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Muir family gravestones 3

Time for the last of the Muir family gravestones, all located together in a group of three, as can be seen in the previous 2 posts. Normally I wouldn't feature such a relatively recent gravestone but it seemed a shame to leave it out, specially as it shows this family didn't just stay in West Linton, they got a lot further afield.

Here is the text:


loving remembrance of


Thomas Ballentine Muir

late of Sao Paolo, Brazil

born Robinsland, West Linton

died in London, 8th Dec. 1933

aged 64 years

Also of his wife, our mother

Jean Gray Dyer

born Eddleston 23rd March 1870

died Sao Paolo, Brazil, 13th July

1945, in her 74th year.

Jane Craig Dalziel Muir

daughter of William Muir

Robinsland, died at Edinburgh

14th February 1938


Which is a word that's hard to translate (from the Portuguese) but roughly means a nostalgic longing. It is more fully explained here. What a beautiful word this turned out to be. I loved reading the Wikipedia explanation and the accompying painting. You learn something new everyday and I'm so pleased to get acquainted with such a lovely expression.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

William Muir

If you refer back to the previous post you will see that this gravestone is in the middle of the 3 Muir graves.

Here is what it says:

In loving Memory


William Muir

farmer Robinsland

who died 1st April 1868, aged 40 years


Martha White

his wife, who died at Longyester

24th July 1904, aged 66 years

Also their children

John Muir

died 19th March 1857, aged 23 days

Agnes Muir

died 10th June 1883, aged 5 years

Catherine Muir

died 7th July 1863, aged 6 weeks

William Forrest Muir

died 5th February 1875, aged 8 years

and 5 months

Grace Morrison Milne

wife of James Muir

died at Glenfarg, 3rd December1929

James Muir

eldest son of William Muir

who died at Linden Lea, Peebles

26th May 1831, aged 76 years

Elizabeth Muir

died at Linden Lea, Peebles

10th March 1934.

Those who sleep in Jesus will

God bring with him.

Yet another tragic reminder of the many children who died in infancy in the 19th Century.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Muir family gravestones 1

Some of the gravestones in West Linton graveyard are grouped together and that is usually because they concern members of the same family, such as the Muir one, who are the subject of this post and the next few.

This is the oldest Muir gravestone, located on the far right of the group of 3 shown in the top picture.

The text reads:



James Muir, Tenant in Robinsland

to the Memory of his son John who died

on the 25th May 1841, aged 23 years


Elizabeth Forrest, his wife

who died 19th Nov. 1850 aged 59 years
Also to the memory of the above

James Muir who died at Robinsland

13th May 1868 aged 69 years

Elizabeth Muir

their daughter who died at Earnslaw

Berwickshire, 1st Feb. 1896, aged 75 years

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Spitalhaugh servant

As I said in my previous post we aren't quite finished with the Spitalhaugh burial enclosure as there is a plaque located on one of the side walls, as seen above and in detail below. The text is very hard to read but I think it says the following:

In Memory of

Isabel Cairns

born 10th Sept. 1813, died 27th oct. 1883

for fiftyone years

in the service of the late

Sir William Fergusson Bar't (this stands for Baronet) of


and his family

by whom this is erected

Well done, good and faithful servant

enter thou into the joy of thy Lord
Can you imagine, of her 70 years on this earth, she spend 51 working as a servant to the same family who couldn't even resist mentioning their title on her wall tablet, as well as on every single one inside the enclosure. Talking of worldly thoughts!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Spitalhaugh 3

Continuing the memorial tablets set into the wall of the Spitalhaugh burial enclosure this is the next in line. It's a very appropriate stone to commemorate during this week (tomorrow it will be the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of the 11th year of this century). The text reads:

In dilectem memorial

James Adam Hamilton Fergusson

lieutenant H.L.I.

born 22nd March 1892

son of Sir James R. Fergusson Bar't

killed at the battle of the Aisne in France

20th September 1914

Dulce et decorem est pro patria mori

Which translates as: it is sweet and fitting to die for your country. The H.L.I. stands for the Highland Light Infantry, now no longer in existence as such.

This stone is leaning against the wall now but was once a tablet set into the wall just like the other ones in this and the previous post. The text reads:

Charles Hamilton Fergusson

Major Seaforth Highlanders

youngest son of

Sir William Fergusson Bar't

of Spitalhaugh

born May 27th 1849, died May 23rd 1918

The last stone reads:

Katherine Hamilton Fergusson

2nd daughter of

Sir William Fergusson Bar't

of Spitalhaugh

born 3rd November 1840 died 23rd December 1932

We'll leave this burial building now but we aren't quite finished with it yet! More in the next post.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Spitalhaugh 2

Another picture of the entry to the Spitalhaugh Burial Enclosure and as you can the original spelling seems to have been Spittlehaugh. The spelling varies from one gravestone to the other and as seen directly below even on one and the same stone.

This is the main gravestone in this enclosure and also the oldest one. As you can see from the previous post Helen Hamilton Ranken has two monuments to her name. This, the original one, explains just how important her position was as the heiress of a large estate (Spitalhaugh) which through her, came to her husband Sir William Fergusson.

Here is the full text:

Here lie the remains


Helen Hamilton Ranken

heiress of Spittlehaugh

and spouse of

William Fergusson

Professor of Surgery

in King's College, London

born in Edinburgh 12th March 1806

died in London 19th June 1861

and of

Charles Hamilton of Spitalhaugh

great-grand father of the above

4th son of John Hamilton of Gilkersgleugh

Lanarkshire, born 1696, died in August 1776

Jean Ramsay his spouse, daughter

of Andrew Ramsay of Abbotshall, Fifeshire

born 1714, died 11st Sept. 1797

Andrew Hamilton of Spitalhaugh

born 25th October 1753, died 3rd May 1807

Katherine Hamilton

born 18th May 1742, died 4th Oct. 1816

Jean Hamilton

born 20th July 1743, died May 1804

and four other daughers who died young

Barbara, Elizabeth, Charles

and Henrietta.

This seems to say one of the daughers who died young was called Charles, normally a boy's name.


beloved wife of

Sir James R. Fergusson Bar't of Spitalhaugh (see next stone)

and daughter of

William Forbes Esq. of Medwyn

b. 1845, m. 1877, d. 1878

A very short marriage indeed!

This stone reads:

In Memory of

Sir James Ranken Fergusson

2nd Baronet of Spitalhaugh

born 10 August 1835 died 28 October 1924

"After life's fitful fever he sleeps well"

There is still more to see in this enclosure and that will come in the next post.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Spitalhaugh Burial Enclosure

This is another separate building in West Linton graveyard and it is dedicated to the families living at Spittlehaugh (as it is called on the facade of this building, you'lll see different spellings too)

This is what you see when you open the cast-iron gate.

This is memorial stone for the father of most of the other people mentioned in this enclosure as you will see underneath and in future posts. It's the first stone on the left as you enter and I'm going around in a clockwise direction from this one is this and future posts.

The text reads:

To the memory of

Sir William Fergusson

Sergeant Surgeon to the Queen

1st Baron of Spitalhaugh

born 20th March 1808, died 10th February 1877

also of

Helen Hamilton Ranken

his wife

born 12th March 1806, died 19th June 1861 (she also figures on another stone in this enclosure, as per my next post to come)

and of

William Ranken Fergusson

their second son

born 25th February 1837, died 1st April 1864

Their remains are interred below

For as in Adam all die, so

in Christ shall all be made alive.

The text reads:

Helen Seymour Fergusson

youngest daugher of

Sir William Fergusson Bar't

of Spitalhaugh

born 14th February 1844, died 17th August 1938

The text on this stone reads:

Jane Porteous Fergusson

eldest daughter of

Sir William Fergusson Bar't (this means Baronet)

of Spitalhaugh

born 9th August 1838 died 16th March 1900

More about the people buried in this enclosure in the next post. I have used the spelling for Spitalhaugh as it appears on the stones but it's not consistent as you will see.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Edward Tod and Agnes Laing

Taking photographs of gravestones at the height of autumn seems very suitable. Somehow this season belongs to graveyards. The fallen leaves heighten the sensation of transience, time passing and lives lived. The above picture is also my blip for today, as I loved the combination of moss, decaying leaves and the trees on the hill behind. This gravestone leans against the wall dividing the graveyard and the Lower Green, It's hard to tell whether it was always situated here or has been moved to lean against the wall at some later date.

At the top there is a banner with the word XXX Memory XXX
followed by the text:

Edward Tod

who died at

Broomlee Lodge 19th March 1887

aged 57 years

and of

Agnes Laing

his wife who died 2nd June 1886

aged 50 years

and of their children

Elspeth Jane

died 17th February 1865, aged 3 months


died 9 (?) November 1878, aged 6 years


Jane Fordyce Croall

died 25th April 1885, aged 15 years

This is a close-up view of the gravestone, to show you the text more clearly. It doesn't look like there was more under the moss, and the relationship of Jane Fordyce Croall to the rest of the people mentioned on this stone, will remain a mystery. Her name gives no indication of how she belongs to them.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Donald Mitchell

This gravestone is to the side of the Spitalhaugh burial enclosure (about which more in the very near future. The text states:

In Memory of

Donald Mitchell

shepherd Whitfield who died 24th Feb. 1868

aged 30 years



his daughter, wife of Lawrence Forrest

who died at West Linton 28th June 1880

aged 20 years.

Maggie must have been 8 years old when her father died and married early only to die, like him, when very young. There might have been more text at the bottom but there is now no sign of it anymore and moss has taken over. It seems logical to assume Maggie's mother must have been buried there too but sadly we will now never know.

Friday, 28 October 2011

John Paterson and Jean Tweedie

The text reads:


in Memory of

John Paterson

who died the 23 March 1831

aged 84 years


Jean Tweedie his Spouse

who died the 18th Sept. 1821

aged 79 years

William Neil, died at Montreal LC

21st July 1834 aged 55 years

Elisabeth Patterson Neil died at Long Grove

Iowa, US, 2nd December 1866, aged 86 years

Jane Watson Neil, died at Welland, UC

18th January 1865, aged 51 years

Isabella Keel Neil died at Thurald UC

4th February 1861, aged 41

From this I deduce there are 3 generations mentioned here, John Paterson and his wife Jean Tweedie, their daughter Elisabeth Patterson (I presume this is a misspelling and she is a Paterson) Neil and her husband William Neil, and their two daughters Jane and Isabella.

Elisabeth Paterson apparently emigrated to the US as some stage either with her husband or she met her husband there.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Lawson Burial Monument 2

This is another view of the gate into the Lawson Burial building. See my previous blogpost for more pictures of this and the first 2 monuments set into the wall. Here are the other two.

This gravestone seems to vie with that of Margaret's one (see previous blogpost) for who was the most virtuous woman. In fact I'm assuming that Isabella was most likely Margaret's mother although John Lawson (her husband and Margaret's father) was married twice (see his gravesone on the previous blogpost. Here is the text (if you can bear it!!):


to the memory of

Mrs. Isabella Robertson

wife of

John Lawson Esq. of Cairnmuir

writer to the Signet (some sort of senior lawyer)

She died 27th August 1822

aged 42 years

Her husband and children

have inscribed a most Sincere

though imperfect Record

of her Many Virtues.

She was a dutiful daughter

A loving sister

a most affectionate wife

a tender Parent

a Kind Friend

a sincere Christian

Unaffectedly pious, human,

benevolent and charitable.

The price of a virtuous woman is for above rubies

The head of her Husband doth safely trust in her

She stretches out her hand to the poor, yea she

reacheth forth her hands to the needy

Her children arise up, and call her Blessed

Her husband also and he praiseth her

Prov. Chap 51st, verse 10, 11, 20 and 28.

The final grave monument in this small enclosure is the last one on the right hand side as you can see on the picture at the very top of this blog. The text says:

In memory of

Frederick William Watkins R.E

died 17 September 1874

and the

Reverend John Watkins M.A.

died 9 August 1906

successive owners of Medwyn-head

and the

last descendants of the Lawsons of Cairnmuir

to possess any part of the ancient inheritance

of that family.

Requiescant in Pace (May they rest in peace)

These must have been the sons of Margaret Spottiswoods Watkins (see my previous post) who was the daughter of John Lawson (also mentioned in the previous post. Her only brother (the heir, one must presume) died in Canada without any offspring, before she did, so she became the Lawson heir and passed this inheritance on to her sons. Neither of them seems to have had any offspring either.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Lawson Burial Monument

There are two small buildings situated within the walls of West Linton Graveyard. The first one seen above is sited to the right immediately after you enter the graveyard through the gate on the Main street and there are 2 separate compartments with individual gates as seen above.
By the way, shortly after I had taken these pictures someone (more than likely the Council, who is responsible for the upkeep of the graveyard) barred the gates with metal rods. I have the feeling there are Health and Safety issues. I'm so glad I managed to photograph everything inside before that happened!

This is the weapon set into the wall above the left-hand entry. Could it be the coat of arms of the Lawson family? I must investigate that further!.

This monument is on your immediate left as you enter the enclosure and it's as full of text as it's possible to fit onto it. Here it is in full:


Sacred to the memory of

Margaret Spottiswood Watkins

wife of

Francis Wilmer Watkins E.S.O., H.E. I.C.S.

and daughter of

the late John Lawson Esq.

of Cairnmuir

who departed this life at Conchieton in Galloway

on 11st June 1849

in the thirty-fourth year of her age

and was interred in this place.

Dearly loved and loving

as a wife, a mother, a sister and a friend

in the prime of life

she resigned all in humble faith

in the mercy of her God

through the atonement of her redeemer.

Our High affliction which is but for a

moment, worketh for us

a far more exceeding and eternal

weight of glory

While we look not at the things which are

seen but at the things

which are not seen for the things which

are seen are temporal

but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor.IV - 17 - 18

Sacred also

to the memory of

William Lawson

her only and beloved brother

who departed this life

at Cairnmuir Zorra, Upper Canada

on the same 11th day of June, 1847

in the thirty-sixth year of his age.

Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan

him, but weep sorg for him

that goeth away for he shall return

no more, nor see, his native country (Jeremiah XXII. 10)

Wherefore let them that suffer age according to the will of God commit the

keeping of their souls to him in well

doing as unto a faithful Creator

I Peter IV. 19

This is the grave monument of Margaret and William's father, set into the wall directly opposite the entrance to this little enclosure. It's difficult to read but here is what I think it says:

John Lawson Esq of Cairnmuir

who died June 1st 1834

aged 57

This stone is erected by

his affectionate widow

Janet, second daughter of

James Brown Esq. of Edmonston

Lanarkshire and relict of the

above John Lawson of Cairnmuir


21st may 1852

aged 54 years

More gravestones from this enclosure will follow in the next blogpost.

Friday, 21 October 2011

James Melrose and Bessie Purdie

I spend the morning in West Linton Graveyard where I now feel very much at home. But despite that I still haven't seen all the gravestones in detail and today I discovered this very old stone, dating back to 1707 and decorated beautifully with symbols of mortality such as skull, crossbones and Memento Mori text. Also on the other side of the stone, the pillars at the side (think "theatre of life"), as well as the winged soul at the top of this side, a symbol of immortality.

On the other side of the stone is the actual information about who was buried here. And to make it extra clear what the occupation of James Melrose was there is a carved shoemaker's knife at the top of the gravestone The text on this gravestone is now barely legible and I have Sheila A Scott's book Peeblesshire Monumental Inscriptions pre 1855 to thank for the additional information on the text that no longer could be read.

Here it is:




Hear lyes

James Melrose


...........died.... 1709

and also Bessie

Purdie his spouse

who died 11th Sept 1725 (??)

aged 79 (?)

There are more words and they look as if they were added at a later date but try as I may, I can't make any sense of them.