Livingstone Graves stones

In May 2015, I was pleased to meet the acquaintance of historian, Donald Livingston Clink who has written many articles for the Clan McLea (Livingstone) Society, a worldwide Livingstone historical appreciation society. Over several emails this Summer, Donald provided a lot of interesting information relating to the Livingstone family, most of it new to me, so it all made interesting reading and his enthusiasm for the subject was apparent. In one of our earlier emails, Donald said,

“For some time now I have been researching the family of Dr. David Livingstone who spent his early life in Blantyre and whose grandfather Neil Livingston brought his wife Mary Morrison, four sons and three daughters to Blantyre by 1792. I have not however been able to locate a final resting place or a gravestone for the grandfather Neil Livingston who died presumingly in the early 1800’s. Dr. Livingstone’s father Neil Jr. is buried in nearby Hamilton and I have the info on that gravestone but none of the historians over the years seemed to have mentioned either a death date or place of burial for Neil Livingston Sr.”

Now, this got me thinking of the old Works Cemetery, which was located not too far from the Village Mill and Shuttle Row. I knew that a family member had been buried there, but the problem is now of course, the cemetery is no longer there and is now modern day, Caskie Drive. The story of where the bodies were moved to, remains a mystery, but the gravestones themselves are known to have been relocated to the nearby David Livingstone Centre. Alex Rochead had much more to do with solving this mystery. He took these photographs and using the information he obtained from the centre staff, I was able to email back Donald with the following reply.

Hi Donald  – I happened to be at a local History meeting last week and mentioned the old Works Cemetery asking, if anybody knew what happened to the people buried there and indeed the gravestones. As I was at work all this week, a friend of mine picked up the task and went to investigate at the Livingstone Centre. There, he FOUND 2 gravestones, in the Livingstone Memorial Gardens, in a most unassuming position. Both stones are certainly old and appear to be marked “Livingston”, although the inscriptions are fading. The staff told him that they were the stones saved from the nearby Village works Cemetery (presumably in the 1960s) and taken to the centre for “safe keeping”. This safe keeping, turned out to be putting them outside, in a rockery within the garden, although obviously no bodies below! They were covered with moss and very difficult to read, but after some cleaning, the dates 1799 could be read on one of them and 1818 on the other. You’ll be in a far better position to know what that means for the Livingston Clan and may I suggest that as it is known Livingstone’s relatives were buried in that works cemetery, there is every chance that in particular the 1818 date may belong to Neil Livingstone Snr.
The centre staff confirmed also that other gravestones were saved from the cemetery but since the markings were gone, they were used as flagstones, within the garden itself. It may be that the the former manager of the centre (Bill Cunningham) had the foresight to rescue or save the stones and looks like his staff put up a little plaque at the time, now also quite worn. I attach all the photos for you. Hoping this is of interest.

On social media:
  • Elizabeth Dobson Grieve My cousin in law is connected to the Livingstone family via David’s aunt Catherine. She married a MacKinnon and emigrated to Canada
  • Rose Jardine When we moved in to Rosebank Ave, 1974. there were still graves and grave stones , next to the dog kennels I’m sure the builders of the first new houses in our road lifted the graves overnight to get permission there was an objection brought with the council but the answere was that the graves were over a 100 years old , the one with the green fence was a Livingstone

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