Kirkyard Erosion of Gravestones

2014 Kirkyard Gravestone damaged. Photo by Paul Veverka

2014 Kirkyard Gravestone damaged. Photo by Paul Veverka

With the Kirkyard Cemetery at Kirkton Cross, High Blantyre being several centuries old, I would always expect to have seen some natural damage and erosion to gravestones and tot he wall itself. However upon a visit in mid September, I was surprised to see more damage than I was expecting, or indeed i recall from previous visits. Like other cemeteries in Blantyre, this one has no doubt suffered some degree of vandalism. Some gravestones have clearly been toppled, even since the Blantyre Heritage group put some back up in the early 2000’s. Some balance on what is only a few bricks, others on inclines, dangerously close to toppling. On this stone photographed, pieces were missing already, lost to nature and undergrowth. With each piece missing, another part of the history story for Blantyre disappears. It makes me somewhat sad.

However, it was the natural erosion of stones I was concerned about on this visit. Some inscriptions are barely legible now and others carved on sandstone, almost smooth with exposure to the elements. I had difficulty reading some that i KNOW i could read in the 1990s.

Thankfully, in 2004 Blantyre Heritage Group set up a project to record the inscriptions and locations of all the stones in the kirkyard. It is well documented in a little published booklet, although even when they did this, some inscriptions were lost for good already or illegible. The fire brigade were drafted in to hoist and lift some of the more salvageable stones back into position.


Add a Comment
  1. Mike – Roman Catholics were buried in a nearby Cemetery called Dalbeth, on the London Road leading into Glasgow. Its a few miles outwith Blantyre. The Cemetery is large and something i’ve not looked into before. This is a practice thats stopped, and people in Blantyre are now generally buried in Blantyre’s cemeteries.

  2. Would St. Joseph’s RC Chapel have a graveyard attached to it? If not, where would the Catholics be buried? Is there any online site that shows the headstones of Catholics, or any list of names? Thank you.

Leave a Reply