ghost of a spinster

Lady Louisa of Traquair was the 15th and last of the Lairds of Traquair. She had remained unmarried for all her long life and when she died at the age of 99 the estate went to the female line of the family, the Maxwell Stuarts. Her predecessor, the 14th Laird of Traquair had no head... Continue Reading →

kirk o’ the forest

They called it "the forest", plain and simple, there was never another one that size and importance. The Ettrick forest is extraordinary in the history of Scotland, its worth was political, biological and geographical. When one spoke of the forest, everyone knew which one was meant. There was only one of these dimensions; it reached... Continue Reading →

in the supermarket’s car park

Saint Clement's burial ground, Dingwall This place feels ancient and somehow out of time with the car park and the neon signs of a big supermarket surrounding it. The church is 19th century but this has been a place of worship for much longer. The dead have been buried here for centuries as is indicated... Continue Reading →

on a winter’s day

Sometimes Scotland overwhelms you with an incredible infusion of light, especially in winter when the days are short and the sun is a rare event in grey times. Light that sparks the joy of being. Just like that. Even on a graveyard. Daviot church on an afternoon in January can be breathtaking, in any other... Continue Reading →

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 →

for the villagers, not the Hamiltons

Kinneil church Kinneil the village is considerably older than Borrowstounness but it declined while Bo’ness prospered. The church dates back to the 12th century and was a landmark for ships entering the harbour until it was officially supressed in 1669 Kinneil House The Kinneil estate behind which the church and graveyards lie, towers prominently high, sixty... 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 →

Rhynie’s Gothic grave and sarcophagus

Rhynie is first and foremost known for its Pictish symbol stones, on display next to the graveyard in the adjacent car park under an open wooden construction. The graveyard itself is old, too. The place-name Rhynie or sometimes also spelled Rhyny derives either from the French word roinneau, meaning a small promontory or from the word rig, meaning... Continue Reading →

wild bishop

This is a tale about a chapel, a saint and a bishop and rather surprisingly in that context, a tale about destruction, castration and a proud heart. The Isle of Skye at its wildest! The tale unfolds on graveyard on a small island in the river Snizort , just a few miles off Portree, and... Continue Reading →

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