A selection of old gravestones from the Chapel Yard Cemetery on Chapel Street in Inverness. Most of the standing gravestones I could read are from the late 18th and all the way through the 19th Centuries, but apparently there is still one remaining stone from the 1600s – not that I could find it though.
There has been a burial ground of some kind or other on this site since the 12th Century, where there stood a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Green, so there must have been a lot of people buried here over the centuries since, long forgotten in the mists of time.
After the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie’s followers destroyed a lot of the old tombs of ancestral families who did not support the cause – historic vandalism certainly has a lot to answer for when it comes to such wanton desecration of hallowed ground. (Looking at you here, Henry VIII, with your reformation rampage and deliberate demolition of so many religious relics in the mid-1500s.)
Looking around today it’s hard not to notice so many ‘and their children’ additions to the current old stones remaining in situ, with many children not even being named individually, but I suppose infant mortality would have been high in those days. Two gravestones photographed here that particularly caught my attention are inscribed only as follows:
‘John McLeod and Margaret McIntosh A Lovely Wife & A Dutiful Mother 1823’
‘1855 Our Little Ones’
I can think of a worse epitaph than being remembered as being a lovely wife and a dutiful mother, but how sad to have a whole gravestone dedicated only to your nameless lost children… ❤
I found this overgrown stone doorway within the old Chapel Yard Cemetery in Inverness, but sadly no door to go with it, only an iron gate. Oh well! Hopefully I can still use some artistic license and count it as a door though?
Although most of the surviving (or at least readable) gravestones are from the late 18th to 19th Centuries, apparently there has been a graveyard of some sort on this site since the 12th Century. This is the grandest example but these open air walled ‘rooms’ dotted around seem to be old family enclosures or mausoleums belonging mainly to all the ‘big’ names of the town, although there are plenty of ordinary grave markers here too 🙂
I quite like the way the branches of the tree growing so close behind it seem to create a continuation of the twisting tree design on this celtic cross gravestone, camouflaging it in a complex embrace of light and shade 🙂
Tomnahurich Hill by the canal in Inverness looks all the world as if someone has deliberately made a rounded oval mound in the middle of a relatively flat river valley, but it’s actually a natural esker, created by a glacier during the last ice age.
The 70m (230ft) high wooded hill itself is home to the city’s cemetery, currently extended outwards to include the flat land skirting around the base. There is an old carriage track that still winds at a reasonable gradient from the eastern side around the hill to the top, or if you’re feeling more energetic there are several narrow woodland footpaths linked here and there by steep concrete steps to help your ascent.
But however you decide to get yourself up there, reaching the secluded old gravestones lining the flat hilltop and taking in the wonderful view beyond is a wonderful surprise. Because at either end the otherwise heavy treetops have been thinned out and cut down enough to be able to look out easily across towards the Black Isle to the north (those particular images I’ve saved for later) and past the large WWI War Memorial cross towards Loch Ness along the Caledonian Canal to the south.
Back down the hill again (using a different set of steps and paths) and walking around the western perimeter on my way home I came across a stone entrance dug into the steep hillside with a lovely metal door which I couldn’t resist photographing for today’s Thursday Doors – result! 🙂
For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past andPresent. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.
P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip!
I’m in need of a little creative motivation just now so have signed up for Leanne Cole’s 30 Day Photo Challenge, where each day I’ll be sent an email with a challenge. I don’t know if I’ll necessarily manage 30 consecutive days, or even get them all done in order, but I’ll give it a go!
Day 1 is simply ‘one’… so it’s maybe a bit off-the-wall but here’s one stone angel missing one hand…