greyfriar’s grandiose grave garden

colourful graveyardColourful is not the first word that comes to mind where graveyards are concerned. But it should. At least in Dundee.

The Howff is probably the most colourful graveyard in Scotland – lush, vibrant and opulent.

And yes, it is a graveyard, right in the middle of Dundee City Centre.

It started with one rather dull colour – grey. And an eclectic and powerful woman, Devorgilla, mother and grandmother of a Scottish King. She founded the Greyfriars Monastery and another powerful and eclectic woman took it further.

In 1564 Mary Queen of Scots granted the land to the monks for use as a graveyard. The parish graveyard of St Clement’s was already full and had turned into a health hazard one feels uncomfortable to imagine.

Later the Dundee Trades used it as a meeting place, therefore the name The Howff (i.e. meeting place).

A long history, many lives, tragedies and deaths have written many stories in stone in this graveyard. The bloom is short-lived, not eternal, nor lasting like the tombstones. A transitory joy in a place dedicated to memory. But beautifully done.

Life and death are close here, where as many as 80 000 burials have taken place. (1)

Now the graveyard is flourishing in any colour imaginable. The beauty of Dundee in Bloom. (2)

And severe grey contrasts the colour to perfection.

  1. Dark Dundee – The Howff
  2. Dundee in Bloom

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