Treasured Remains - Historic Kirkyards
The historic kirkyards of the Clyde and Avon Valley
Historic graveyards provide us with an incredible and unique insight into the past. The stones can often tell us much more than simply what is written, and they provide us with clues about the wealth, position and occupation of the person.
They may contain historic buildings, or examples of carvings and text from times and places without many other records, and they can show how areas, styles and customs have changed over the centuries. There are a multitude of reasons why a graveyard could be significant.
These hidden heritage gems are dotted throughout the Clyde and Avon Valley, often in unexpected places. Eight historic graveyards were identified in the the Conservation Strategy for Historic Graveyards in the Clyde and Avon Valley, undertaken by Kirkyard Consulting and Strathclyde Buildings Preservation Trust, available to read below.
Varying from little known burial grounds tucked away, to better known and traversed graveyards, they are; St Michael’s Churchyard, Cambusnethan; St Patrick’s Churchyard, Hamilton of Dalzell Mausoleum and Pet Cemetary, Dalzell Estate; St Ninian’s Churchyard, Stonehouse; Stonehouse Cemetery; Glassford Churchyard and Cemetery; Dalserf Churchyard; Mauldslie Estate Private Burial Ground; and New Lanark Burial Ground.
Like many historic graveyards, some of the sites in the Clyde and Avon Valleys have fallen victim to time, with many suffering neglect, fallen (or pushed) down stones, weathering and the encroachment of nature. Luckily, sites like Dalzell have benefitted from restorative work, aimed at preserving some of the most treasured or damaged stones from further wear, and in some cases restoring them to their former stature.
Find out more about each site below.
St Michael’s Churchyard, Cambusnethan
Founded by St Nethan in the 8th century, the ruins of St Michael’s church and its surrounding churchyard is located in a remote, rural setting in North Lanarkshire. It is notable for its collection of medieval carvings, including a fragmentary replica of the Cambusnethan Cross, a free-standing cross.
St Patrick’s Churchyard, Hamilton of Dalzell Mausoleum and Pet Cemetary, Dalzell Estate
This site comprises of three different elements within the designed landscape of Dalzell Estate, which lies next to the RSPB Scotland Baron’s Haugh Reserve: the churchyard of St Patrick’s Kirk; the Hamilton of Dalzell mausoleum; and the informal pet cemetery dating back to the 20th century.
St Ninian’s Churchyard, Stonehouse
Situated on the edge of Stonehouse, St Ninian’s Churchyard is believed to be a 9th century foundation, although the ruined church visible today dates from at least the late 17th century, when it was noted that it was in disrepair.
Founded in 1906, Stonehouse Cemetery lies on the edge of Stonehouse in a rural setting. It was laid out as a lawn cemetery, containing around 577 memorials and Stonehouse’s war memorial.
Glassford Churchyard and Cemetery
The ruinous old church of Glassford stands about half a mile to the East of the modern village and comprises a churchyard containing around 156 memorials that span the 18th to 20th centuries. An adjacent modern cemetery contains 150 gravestones.
Dalserf Churchyard is the only site out of the eight historic graveyards identified that still has an active church. Located within the attractive rural village in the Clyde Valley, the churchyard contains around 347 gravestones dating from the 18th century to the modern day.
Mauldslie Estate Private Burial Ground
Situated immediately south-west of Carluke and close to the River Clyde, this private burial ground sits on a tree-covered mound formerly within the Mauldslie Castle Estate, and remains in private ownership.
New Lanark Burial Ground
The little known New Lanark Burial Ground was established as a non-denominational burial ground for the planned industrial village of New Lanark, now a World Heritage Site, by utopian socialists David Dale and Robert Owen.
The report, showing the historical significance of these sites, the fascinating features within them, and their conservation needs is available to read below. As a result of this report, work has now taken place to restore and reconnect people to the graveyards.