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Scottish Mausoleum http://scottishmausoleum.org the forgotten legacy Thu, 07 Jan 2016 17:39:28 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 138479084 Montgomerie (Skelmorlie Aisle) http://scottishmausoleum.org/aisle/montgomerie-skelmorlie-aisle/ Wed, 24 Jun 2015 18:39:59 +0000 http://scottishmausoleum.org/?p=146 Continue reading ]]> Address: Largs Old Parish Church Kirkyard, West of Lade Street, Largs, Ayrshire, KA30

Date: 1636

Built for: Sir Robert Montgomerie of Skelmorlie and his wife, Dame Margaret Douglas

Classification: Aisle

Architect: Unknown

Entry to the Skelmorlie Aisle is possible by visiting the Largs Museum between May and September during their published opening hours.

This Aisle is one of the few mausolea that are scheduled monuments in the care of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Nestled in the middle of the town of Largs in North Ayrshire is the “Skelmorlie Aisle” which is the mausoleum of the Montgomerie family of Skelmorlie. IMG_2775The aisle was originally built adjacent to the side of the old Largs Parish Church in 1636. It was built by local noble, Sir Robert Montgomerie of Skelmorlie, as a burial place for himself and his wife, Dame Margaret Douglas.

The Kirkyard

The old Parish Church Kirkyard has clearly gone through a number of evolutions. It sits central to the town and therefore would have been originally the medieval chapel. The high surrounding wall is indicative of the reformation where the Kirkyard would have been used as a public park or social ground where animals would graze, children play or business conducted. After the Reformation, the General Assembly decreed that people were not to be buried inside churches and more burials in the Kirkyard took place. It became common for dogs to dig up bones, and Kirk Sessions felt it unseemly for cattle to feed on the site of burials. Consequently the high wall was built to keep animals out (and perhaps grave robbers!).

In 1634 the aisleIMG_2776 now known locally as the “Brisbane Aisle” was built for the Shaw family of Kelsoland. In 1636 the “Skelmorlie Aisle” was built attaching the Parish Church (now known as St Columba’s) for the Montgomerie family.

In 1805, the new St Columba’s Parish Church on Nelson Street, was completed and burials ceased in the old Kirkyard. A public cemetery was completed on the Dalry Road, Haylie Brae (meaning Holy Isle hill) and it opened the same year.

Description

Externally, the aisle is simple but dignified. The west window is a “gothic survival” with crosspieces and transoms, characteristic of domestic building of the period. The rounded heads of the windows in the south wall are unusual, as is the doorway with it’s ogee head. Above the door are the arms of the builder, beautifully carved in relief. Alternate corner stones are carved with strap work design fashionable at the time.IMG_2778

The interior is a dramatic contrast to the restraint of the exterior. It is dominated by an elaborate carved stone tomb, unparalleled in Scotland. It is in the style developed originally in Renaissance Italy, but may be the work of Scottish masons using foreign pattern books. It may well have been richly coloured with effigies of Sir Robert and his wife under the canopy. The decoration includes their arms and monograms, and amongst other devices such as symbols of mortality. Dame Margaret’s panel has been decorated but Sir Robert’s panel in the middle at the front has been left blank. The coffins of Sir Robert and his wife still lie in the vault underneath the tomb.

IMG_2786The painted barrel vaulted timber ceiling is a notable example of the style of decoration fashionable in Scottish houses from about 1600 to 1650. It is dated 1638 and signed by the artist J.S.Stalker. It is painted to imitate a vault of stone with ribs rising from the corbels above the cornice. The decoration is is fitted into the compartments formed by the ribs. At the top are the coat of arms of Sir Robert Montgomerie, his wife and forebears. On either side are symbolic or biblical figures – above the tomb, to right and left, Justice and Fortitude; overhead, Isaac, Jacob and Esau on one side and temptation of Adam and Eve on the other.

The twelve texts immediately over the cornice are, with one exception, taken from the Geneva Bible (the bible used after the Reformation as the Calvinist doctrinal version, prior to the King James Version). The painted corbels in between bear the imaginary arms of the tribes of Israel.

Above the texts are the signs of the zodiac and six scenes of which those in the centre, on the either side, are allegories probably referring to the position of Largs between land and sea, while the four in the corners illustrate the seasons. The “Summer” season includes a representation of the aisle before the demolition of the old church.IMG_2780

The decoration is completed against the south gable with two half panels, one painted with the lion rampant, the other with a hand holding a sword together with these patriotic couplets:

For ware or work we

This hand should arme

That to defend our

Countrie deare from harme

(HMSO Leaflet “Skelmorlie Aisle” 1985)

Inside the Aisle is a very ornate Lairds Loft and the Stalker painted ceiling. Scottish Mausoleum has recently discovered that the coast of arms representations of the tribes of Israel are in fact (almost the same) the sons of Jacob arranged in order of birth and on the “breastplate of judgement” indicative of the early reformed emphasis on the last day of the age.

The photographs below, taken by us in 2015, how the inside of the Aisle:

Ceiling centre

The centre ceiling of the interior of the ribbed vault – painted by J.S. Stalker around 1638.

Family coats of arms

A close up of the family crests of those who were buried within the vault below the Lairds Loft   

Lairds Loft

The Lairds Loft. The laird would enter from the left in private, probably protected by a wooden screen, then go up the stairs to the right and watch the Sunday service unobserved from the privacy of the loft. Below the loft is the burial vault of their ancestors allowing a pre-Reformation idea of praying for the dead to continue past the Reformation.

Burial Vault

The burial vault below the Lairds loft (no access permitted)

Panel 4

Above and below – the painted panels along the wall showing biblical or local rural scenes from life in Scotland in the 17th Century and verses mainly taken from the Geneva bible.

Panel 3 Panel2 Panel1

Stalker

The artist – J.S.Stalker 1638

The Importance of this Mausoleum

The Skelmorlie Aisle was built two years after the sepulture known as the “Brisbane Aisle” (not an Aisle). This means the two types of mausoleum were concurrent. This is the only known example of the two types of mausoleum, and being concurrent, in the same Kirkyard in Scotland. Much work has already been undertaken with regard to aisles and their development post-Reformation, but there is currently a real lack of understanding of sepultures and their concurrency with aisles.

More study of this mausoleum should be conducted in tandem with the Brisbane Aisle.

Further Information

Scheduled Monument Legal Document

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Carswell http://scottishmausoleum.org/ayrshire/carswell/ Wed, 24 Jun 2015 18:21:44 +0000 http://scottishmausoleum.org/?p=138 Continue reading ]]> This mausoleum, not listed on any of the databases, is at the north east highest point of the Largs public cemetery on Haylie Brae.  It is headed “Morris Carswell” and “1880”.

IMG_2915Morris Carswell appears to have been a Glasgow shipping magnate who either came from Largs or had a love of Largs. Two of his ships listed as lost at sea were the “Largs” and the “Gogoburn”.

This is a Victorian monumental mausoleum that is still in use and in great condition. The latest graves from inside are dated in the early 2000’s and relate to several families.

Aside from this, we currently know very little about this mausoleum. More research required! Meantime, enjoy the pictures below.

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Shaw http://scottishmausoleum.org/sepulture/shaw/ Sun, 21 Jun 2015 18:25:03 +0000 http://scottishmausoleum.org/?p=127 Continue reading ]]> Address: Largs Old Parish Church Kirkyard, West of Lade Street, Largs, Ayrshire, KA30

Date: 1634

Built for: The Shaws of Kelsoland, then was used after 1695 by the Brisbanes

Classification: Sepulture

Architect: Unknown

The Kirkyard

The old Parish Church Kirkyard has clearly gone through a number of evolutions. It sits central to the town and therefore would have been originally the medieval chapel. The high surrounding wall is indicative of the reformation where the Kirkyard would have been used as a public park or social ground where animals would graze, children play or business conducted. After the Reformation, the General Assembly decreed that people were not to be buried inside churches and more burials in the Kirkyard took place. It became common for dogs to dig up bones, and Kirk Sessions felt it unseemly for cattle to feed on the site of burials. Consequently the high wall was built to keep animals out (and perhaps grave robbers!).IMG_2762

In 1634 the sepulture now known locally as the “Brisbane Aisle” was built for the Shaw family of Kelsoland. In 1636 the “Skelmorlie Aisle” was built attaching the Parish Church (now known as St Columba’s) for the Montgomerie family.

In 1805, the new St Columba’s Parish Church on Nelson Street, was completed and burials ceased in the old Kirkyard. A public cemetery was completed on the Dalry Road, Haylie Brae (meaning Holy Isle hill) and it opened the same year.

Description

IMG_2763This sepulture is known as the Brisbane Aisle and and was originally built in 1634 for the Shaws of Kelsoland. In 1695 it was taken over by the Brisbane family. The date 1634 as inscribed on a heraldic datestone at the east side of the structure, above a sealed portal. A heraldic panel is inscribed with “P.S” and “I.S”, indicating the Shaws of Kelsoland. An armorial device with mullets (stars) for the Shaw and annulets (rings) for the Montgomeries of Braidstone is Present. A carved armorial device on the west side carries the initials “P.S./I.M./I.S”. Major-General Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, 1st Baronet GCH, GCB, FRS, FRSE (23 July 1773 – 27 January 1860) a British soldier, colonial governor and astronomer, is interred within the aisle.IMG_2764

The aisle is small and rectangular in plan, gabled, with finely squared ashlar masonry, bolection moulding at the wallhead, and covetto moulded skewputts and apex stones. The east-facing gable carries 19th-century exterior wall-mounted marble memorial panels with block pediments. The striking slab roof is at a lower pitch than the steeply-pitched gable ends, probably as a result of repairs. (Wikipedia)

IMG_2768The east facing gable end also has a metal bar bolted and padlocked across the internment – this may be further security or it may have been a fixing for a mort safe in the days of the old Kirkyard

The Importance of this Mausoleum

This sepulture was built only two years before the Skelmorlie Aisle was built attaching the Parish Church. This means the two types of mausoleum were concurrent. This is the only known example of the two types of mausoleum, and being concurrent, in the same Kirkyard in Scotland. Much work has already been undertaken with regard to aisles and their development post-Reformation, but there is currently a real lack of understanding of sepultures and their concurrency with aisles.

More study of this mausoleum should be conducted in tandem with the Montgomerie mausoleum (Skelmorlie Aisle).

Further Information

Scheduled Monument Legal Document

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Brisbane http://scottishmausoleum.org/sepulture/brisbane/ Sun, 21 Jun 2015 17:28:23 +0000 http://scottishmausoleum.org/?p=123 Continue reading ]]> Address: Largs Old Parish Church Kirkyard, West of Lade Street, Largs, Ayrshire, KA30

Date: 1636

Built for: The Shaws of Kelsoland, then was used after 1695 by the Brisbanes

Classification: Sepulture

Architect: Unknown

Description

For full details, please see entry under Shaw

Further Information

Scheduled Monument Legal Document

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Crawfurd http://scottishmausoleum.org/sepulture/crawfurd/ Sat, 06 Jun 2015 17:27:35 +0000 http://scottishmausoleum.org/?p=101 Continue reading ]]> Address: Kilbirnie Auld Kirk, Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, KA25 6HP

Date: 1594

Built for: Captain Thomas Crawford and his wife Janet (Ker of Kersland)

Classification: Sepulture

Architect: Unknown

Description

This is the earliest known example of a post-Reformation Scottish freestanding mausoleum (sepulture). It is a small stone carved rectangle tomb with a window either side to view the effigies of the interments inside (see right). m3

It is situated a few yards from the south side of the church.

The mausoleum measures 9 feet 6 inches long by 6 feet in width, and is 6 feet 6 inches high.

The following description and illustrations are from the book entitled “The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland from the 12th to 18th Century” dated 1874 by David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross:

At present it has a flat roof, but it was probably finished originally with some kind of pyramidal form on top.

 The inscribed panel seen in the View reads as follows, and tells its own story:—

HEIR – LYIS – THOMAS – CRAVFVRD – OF – lORDANHILL • SEXT – SON – TO • LAVRENCE CRAVFVRD • OP – KILBIRNY – AND • lONET • KER • HIS • SPOVS – ELDEST – DOCHTER – TO –ROBERT – KER • OF – KERRISLAND • 1594.

 illustration1Above is the motto of the Crawfurds—“god schaw ye right.” In the centre of the inscription, and dividing it into two parts, “is a shield bearing quarterly Crawfurd and Barclay; a sword proper, hilted and pommelled, forming its transverse division, and for crest the helmet of an esquire.”

The ornamental features of the tomb, it will be observed, are entirely Scottish, and consist partly of the revived ornaments of an earlier date. This monument, of native design, presents a striking contrast with the Renaissance structures of the period.

illustration2In the interior of the mausoleum repose the recumbent statues of Thomas Crawfurd and his spouse (Fig. 1315).

The figures are somewhat rude in execution, but are quaint and interesting. They were drawn on the spot by Mr. Johnston, under favourable circumstances, when the tomb was opened for repairs. At other times they are only seen through the gloom of the faintly lighted structure.

Note: The arms of Crawford and Barclay were added at a later date Sir David Barclay of Ladyland and Auchinheiff (now ‘Auchenhove’) succeeded his brother Hugh (in 1597) and married Elizabeth Cunningham, the widow of John Craufurd of Craufurdland who had died in 1612, aged only 21, from an injury received at foot-ball.

The History

The history relating to the people behind this mausoleum is extremely important in helping us to understand how the post-Reformation Scottish mausoleum evolved into the modern mausolea we see all over the western world.

This mausoleum was built for Captain Thomas Crawfurd and his wife, Janet Ker of Kersland. Details of his early career are posted on wikipedia under Thomas Crawford of Jordanhill.

m2In 1586, Janet Ker died and it appears that at some point the Captain decided to build this mausoleum to house her body. The building was completed in 1594.

Thomas Crawfurd was a fervent supporter of the protestant Reformation. The Barclay family in Kilbirnie were faithful catholics and so the two families were often at loggerheads.

In late August, 1588 a spanish armada ship was wrecked off the west coast of Scotland at Portencross. It had been hoped that when the Armada landed in England, King James VI would switch allegiances to the catholic cause and a land army would be launched from the north. When the Armada failed, the plot collapsed and Hew Barclay of Kilbirnie attempted to hide some of the crew whilst ensuring that the senior officers were able to make Edinburgh to try to see King James.m1

Thomas Crawfurd had been trusted by the King for many years and he counselled against having any conversation with the Spaniards. They were promptly tortured to extract the details of how large was the Spanish force. Details of the confessions were sent to Queen Elizabeth I in England.

Hugh (Hew) Barclay of Ladyland was apparently a poet of “considerable power and humour” and a fervent papist, meeting an unusual death by drowning on Ailsa Craig.

He became involved in a plot in 1592 and upon discovery he was imprisoned in the Tolbooth in Edinburgh, but was released, by the King’s directions, in 1593 following assurances of good conduct. Hugh again became involved in plotting, for which he was imprisoned for a time in the Castle of Glasgow, but escaped and fled to Spain where he was in communication with the Jesuits.

In 1597 he returned and took possession, with several others, of Ailsa Craig. He was intent on using it as a provisioning and stopping off point for a Spanish invasion that would re-establish the Catholic faith in Scotland—a plot originally established by the Earls of Angus, Errol, and Huntly. He was discovered on Ailsa Craig by the Protestant Minister of Paisley, Andrew Knox, and upon being discovered and reflecting upon his previous assurances of good conduct, he either tried to escape and had an accidental death or he deliberately drowned himself in the sea off the island.

It was recorded that Knox actually reached Ailsa Craig first and Hugh drew his sword, found himself under determined attack and falling into the sea, drowned. Knox was charged with Hugh’s death by his friends, however upon appeal to the King in Council, his actions were justified as loyal and good service done to His Majesty and country. The King forbade any to molest him, and charged all magistrates and others in office to assist in protecting him.

The Importance of This Mausoleum

As noted above, this was the world’s very first post-Reformation Mausoleum. It is significantly earlier than any other, the next known one was the Melville Mausoleum built in 1609.

The Crawford Mausoleum is also the only known Mausoleum to have been built prior to the Union of the Scottish and English crowns, making it entirely unique.

It is hard to guess what prompted Thomas Crawfurd to build this particular type of tomb. We know he was a staunch reformist and so he was certainly obeying the directions of the General Assembly in not seeking burial inside the church. He was also probably attempting an emulation of the tomb of Jesus as per the revisionist religious attitudes of the day. Presumably he could have built an aisle attached to Kilbirnie Parish Church, but he chose not to – perhaps this was because he viewed such a practice as too near to Catholicism, and these were difficult times (being only 6 years after the Armada).

In the Largs Parish Churchyard, the Aisle (1636) was built by the Montgomeries who were arguably an important noble family, yet in the same churchyard two years earlier the Brisbane’s had built a Sepulture – and they were a minor noble family. It could be therefore that Captain Thomas Crawfurd was classed, or indeed classed himself, as a minor noble.  The sentiment against monumentalism in mausolea did not really reach it’s height until the William Birnie pamphlet was printed in 1606 (“Defyle not Christ’s Kirk with your Carrion”), so perhaps this is a little unlikely. Furthermore, there was no specific religious message for passers-by on this sepulture, unlike the Melville one, which tends to suggest that Crawfurd was not a forerunner of the early 17th Century sepultures. The Crawfurd motto and arms were added in the early 17th Century when relationships between the protestant Crawfurds and catholic Barclays were under happier times.

Nonetheless, the Crawfurd Mausoleum is relatively unprotected and unloved. It is not a Scheduled Monument as in the case of the nearby “Skelmorlie Aisle” (the tomb of the Montgomeries) and the Brisbane “Aisle” (the sepulture of the Brisbanes) in Largs. The condition of the mausoleum continues to disintegrate with ongoing acid rain, other weathering and neglect. The carved stones at the foot of the monument have grown over and the lettering on the side is disappearing.

We would like to see this important national legacy protected and studied further to establish the part it has to play in the development of the post-Reformation mausoleum.

Additional References:

For a video of the mausoleum click here

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Recently Added to Scottish Mausoleum http://scottishmausoleum.org/uncategorized/welcome/ Mon, 25 May 2015 09:39:38 +0000 http://scottishmausoleum.org/?p=10 Tip: For family surname searches use the search bar below.

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