Author Topic: Oldest legible gravestones in England, Scotland, Wales, NI?  (Read 476 times)

Offline melba_schmelba

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Oldest legible gravestones in England, Scotland, Wales, NI?
« on: Monday 03 January 22 21:34 GMT (UK) »
Do we know which are the eldest gravestones with still legible names in each of the nations of the UK (excluding Roman tombs). I wonder if the use of stones only became really started again after the Norman conquest? But for several centuries afterwards most burials were still marked by wooden crosses? The eldest I have seen are mid 17th century.

Offline jim234j

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Re: Oldest legible gravestones in England, Scotland, Wales, NI?
« Reply #1 on: Monday 03 January 22 21:56 GMT (UK) »
I googled it and got this answer
What is the oldest headstone in UK?
The oldest legible outdoor tombstone where we can read the inscription is possibly this one: It dates from 1616, and is in the Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh. The churchyard was founded in 1562 and burials have been taking place since here the late 16th century.

Offline GR2

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Re: Oldest legible gravestones in England, Scotland, Wales, NI?
« Reply #2 on: Monday 03 January 22 23:24 GMT (UK) »
It all depends on your definition. If you include monuments inside churches, that will take you back much further.

In Kinkell kirkyard in Aberdeenshire there is the flat gravestone of Gilbert de Greenlaw, who was killed at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. It was recycled in 1592, when it was turned over and reused for a Forbes burial. It now stands vertical so both inscriptions can be read.

Offline melba_schmelba

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Re: Oldest legible gravestones in England, Scotland, Wales, NI?
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 04 January 22 12:50 GMT (UK) »
It all depends on your definition. If you include monuments inside churches, that will take you back much further.

In Kinkell kirkyard in Aberdeenshire there is the flat gravestone of Gilbert de Greenlaw, who was killed at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. It was recycled in 1592, when it was turned over and reused for a Forbes burial. It now stands vertical so both inscriptions can be read.
Thanks GR2, very interesting, a comment on the Gilbert side of the stone indicates the carving only survived because it was protected from the elements when turned upside down to be reused

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/116968783/gilbert-de_greenlaw

A bit about the Battle of Harlaw where Gilbert died

https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/inverurie/battleofharlaw/index.html


Offline melba_schmelba

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Re: Oldest legible gravestones in England, Scotland, Wales, NI?
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 04 January 22 13:00 GMT (UK) »
I googled it and got this answer
What is the oldest headstone in UK?
The oldest legible outdoor tombstone where we can read the inscription is possibly this one: It dates from 1616, and is in the Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh. The churchyard was founded in 1562 and burials have been taking place since here the late 16th century.
Just did a quick search of findagrave by date for Edinburgh and found a few earlier at Greyfriars

John Jackson, 1606
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/150575232/john-jackson

John Laing, 1614
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/177354784/john-laing

John Nasmyth, 1614
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/150524409/john-nasmyth

And at the Abbey of Holyrood

Margaret Hameltoun, 1592
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/150213011/margaret-hameltoun

Adam Bothwell, 1593
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/144913879/adam-bothwell

Lord James Douglas, 1608
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/142849832/james-douglas

However it appears they may have been once under a roof, which only collapsed in 1768.

Strange that these are all in Scotland, could it be something to do with the type of stone, and the generally colder conditions? Perhaps less pollution too, compared to somewhere like London or Manchester?



Offline Wharfrat

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Re: Oldest legible gravestones in England, Scotland, Wales, NI?
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 04 January 22 20:59 GMT (UK) »
Oldest I've personally photographed is from 1629 in St Mary's Churchyard, Weston, Lincs.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/202369588/william-welles (not my pic)

Indoor, I have photographed this floor slab from 1615 in Ewenny Priory in Wales.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/199974857/adam-nicholl.

There's a raised tomb also in there for Maurice de Londres who supposedly died in 1166. It is legible but I couldn't honestly say that it has always been where it is now!

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/119719672/maurice-de-londres
DILLWYN - Glamorgan, Brecon & Pennsylvania
NICHOLL - Glamorgan
WELBOURN - Lincolnshire, Canada, Australia
GILBERTSON - Glamorgan, Herts.
MORRIS - Kent
EATON - Dorset
APPLEYARD - Yorkshire
HART - Northants, Kent
FARMER - Worcs
STOKES - Cambs, Northants.
McLATCHIE - Renfrew
CHAPMAN - Kent
ROSE - SE London
JOYNER - Dorset
POWELL - Worcs.
LEACH - Pembs
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WESTON - Wapping/Walthamstow
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Offline Skoosh

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Re: Oldest legible gravestones in England, Scotland, Wales, NI?
« Reply #6 on: Friday 07 January 22 15:27 GMT (UK) »
These huge hogback Stones were dug up in the kirkyard of Govan Old Parish Church, Glasgow. they are on display inside the church, I attended a packed funeral there for Jimmy Reid so couldn't get a decent look, must go back.

https://museumcrush.org/unlocking-the-mysteries-of-the-govan-stones/

A Good New Year;
Skoosh.