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The Churchyard

The graveyard in Ecclesmachan is split into two sections; the oldest graves are located in the grounds of the church (mainly 18th and 19th century) and the newer graves are on the other side of the main road which passes through the village. The 'new' graveyard was created soon after the main road was straightened (circa 1890), the old road and bridge are still used for access to this section. On the 23rd June 1894 a public notice application was published in the local newspaper regarding this new graveyard.

Click here to see a recent picture of the newest section.
Click here to see a recent picture of the old road and bridge over the Ecclesmachan burn.

In the old section there are many interesting carved stones (although several of the stones are severely defaced by the elements and illegible). These stones mostly have been carved in the Scottish manner on east and west faces (although some have been laid in a flat or tablestone manner), many of them having symbolic images on them. Click here to see some recent pictures of these.

Emblems of Mortality.
The Hour Glass: Present on many stones, some with six or more. One stone has a 'winged hourglass' which is from an early tradition depicting that life both trickles and flies.
Bones: Some are single and some are crossed. Depicting that we will all end up as bones.
Skulls & Death Heads: A high number of the stones have a skull on them, some have two. One has a face carving, whether it is a death head or a portrait is difficult to determine.
Sexton's Tools: A few of the stones have spades or turf spades, some are single some crossed.
Coffin: There is one stone with a carving of a coffin.
Devil's Head: One stone has this image carved on its side.

Emblems of Immortality.
Angels: The carvings present are all heads with wings, there is a great variation in the style of hair.
Heart: There is one stone with a heart carving, this may be a symbol of the soul.

Emblems of Trade.
Hammerman: The 'arms' are the hammer and the royal crown, one stone dated 1709 has this carving
Farmer / Landowner: There is one stone (1798) with a figure seemingly sowing grain, and one (1737) with a plough carving.
Mason: Carved as dividers and a set square, there are only two stones with such emblems on them.

Other Notable Graves:
There are other notable gravestones concerning the history of the Parish, just to the east of the church there is a grave for the Rev. William Peterkin (& family), a former minister of the church (1787-1792) and author of the Ecclesmachan entry in the 'First Statistical Account of Scotland'.

The Rev. Henry Liston, minister of the church from 1793 until 1836, was buried here along with several members of his family. (Note that his son Robert Liston, the famous surgeon, was buried in Highgate Hill church, London).

James Cunningham (1833-1893), who was schoolmaster in Ecclesmachan for some 33 years. He was mentioned in an HM Inspectors report in 1875 as 'totally devoted to his work and makes his school his first work'. Several former pupils went on to be ministers, doctors, teaching professors and teachers.
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