the vanished well

Aberdour was a place of worship for centuries, here the pilgrims would come in large numbers but not to see a shrine or the church itself, they came to see the holy well that is no more. It once existed behind this wall in what is now a private garden but has long since been... Continue Reading →

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romantic ruin by the sea

St Bridget’s Kirk is one of the truly magical places in the Kingdom of Fife. The former Abbey is overlooking the Firth of Forth, in good weather you can catch a glimpse of the railway bridge. What used to be the center of the old village of Dalgety lies now on the outskirts of Dalgety... Continue Reading →

beauty and reality

Ballachulish, the town at the straights of Loch Leven, has always been synonymous with slate. The famous quarry was established in the late 17th century and is not used any longer, but during the heights of the Industrial Age about 800 men worked in the quarry and the connected businesses. They were mainly producing roof tiles. ... Continue Reading →

gravestone symbols

Muiravonside, surrounded by the river Avon, is the most eastern parish in Stirlingshire, it feels rural here and the graves are old. The early history of the parish is obscure, there are remains of fortified mounds near the river Avon, at Easter Manuel and Sighthill both close to the Edinburgh-Glasgow road and at Castlehill further... Continue Reading →

English Enemies

Torphichen was once headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller in Scotland, a place of power and influence. The sign of the order was the v-shaped cross, and its full name Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. Their cross is still part of everyday life on St John’s Ambulances. They were a... Continue Reading →

former glory

Former glory, a term often applied to buildings, to countries, to people and it is hardly less appropriately used for graveyards. Where else to ponder about former glory but on a graveyard on a dreich day, the very place that changes things and signifies the end to almost everything. Bo’ness’s original name is Borrowstouness but... Continue Reading →

and the sea gave up the dead

Larbert Old Parish Kirkyard Larbert Old Parish Kirkyard has a number of very interesting gravestones, interesting for various reasons but there is one that conjures amazing images, smells and sounds of a far away world; it tells of travel, adventures and discoveries. The gravestone of James Muir. Richly decorated stones can be admired throughout the... Continue Reading →

chosen isolation

Isolation – the absence of others. A state of mind and body very much sought after by the early Christians. This was not the (splendid) isolation of the 19th century. This was the decision to live as a hermit, a recluse, a man alone with his faith and God. Nothing splendid about that.  Muthill was one... Continue Reading →

for the devil to hide

Scotland has a few round and a few octagonal churches. The thought behind both unusual forms is the same: in a building without corners, the devil has nowhere to hide. It could of course also have practical or aesthetic reasons but the old myth of the devil hiding in corners is very much alive in... Continue Reading →

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