Whilst looking at the Pictish Stone in this churchyard I had to take a look at the unusual headstones, including a series of tablestones.
I am always curious to see what symbols have been used on the headstones. Here the hourglass is used which symbolises a short life or swiftness of time. The cross and skulls as well as angel wings are common. But my favourite was the pressing iron and shears that indicate the grave was that of a tailor.
Sometimes the dates indicate some illness struck a family; above the two children died within a month of each other. The son only 4 days short of his 7th birthday and his sister not even 5½ years old. What illness struck them down? Measles? Smallpox? Influenza?
The grounds of this cemetery appear to be well looked after, the grass is short and the area around the stones is cleared, but it is sad to see some of the old headstones broken and discarded, some in piles, others propped up against the walls of the ruined church. Lichens and moss make some of them illegible.
A war grave stands proud in the cemetery. Though it too raises questions. How did the young soldier die? And what is 3/5th Black Watch? ¹
When we take such great care to protect one ancient stone (the Pictish Stone) we also need to protect stones that in the future would also relate our history.
¹ 3/4th, 3/5th, 3/6th and 3/7th Battalions
Formed at home bases in March and April 1915. All moved to Bridge of Earn and later in 1915 to Ripon.
8 April 1916 : renamed 4th to 7th Reserve Bns; on 1 September 1916 4th absorbed all others.
Moved to Edinburgh in May 1918.