Grave Matters – Number 1 –   Autumn 2017

Five Friends of the Glasgow Necropolis are now engaged in the massive task of indexing the burial registers from 1842 to 1995 (eventually). This covers approximately 1700 pages and comprises approximately 48000 names. In the first month (October) c220 records have either been added from scratch or expanded.

It seemed to me that it might be interesting to mention some of the discoveries that are already being made and discuss a few of the queries that have been raised as the indexers familiarise themselves with the task ahead.

One of the most striking things about the early burial registers is the number of burials which occurred in Single Graves, more usually referred to elsewhere as common graves. In the early years of the Necropolis roughly two thirds of interments were in Single Graves. Between 1833 and 1842 this means that 2625 out of 3878 persons were buried in single Graves and, as a result, are not commemorated on a grave stone. It will be very interesting to see what the final total for burials in Single Graves is by the time they are phased out in 1872. I wonder whether the final figure might be 8000 – 9000 but whatever it turns out to be it is so important to remember that none of these persons have any sort of commemorative stone in the Necropolis and are completely overlooked by visitors to the cemetery.  In fact we are not even sure where the Single Graves are. We know, from the burial registers, that there are Single Graves in most of the early compartments opened in the Necropolis but we don’t know exactly where. Two years ago the Friends managed to raise money which allowed some geophysical surveys to be carried out within the most likely areas but the results were inconclusive and we are no further forward.


The entrance to the Egyptian Vault in 2013 after renovation

The entrance to the Egyptian Vault in 2013 after renovation

Amongst the interments that occurred in 1842 was that of Major Archibald Douglas Monteath on 21st June 1842. This page is very faint and certain details have been redone in a different hand so it is definite that Major Archie was buried in Upsilon 2; but the Egyptian Vault is also recorded as his place of burial. This was a vault used for the temporary storage of coffins until a permanent place of burial had been prepared which sometimes involved excavations and/or building work. Major Archie was unmarried and had more money than sense. He left £5000 for the construction of his monument and has bequeathed to us the Monteath Mausoleum one of the most iconic monuments in the Necropolis.



The Monteath Mausoleum

The Monteath Mausoleum

Another entry found was for the 17th burial, the stillborn son of Mr Schwabe, in what is described as the Jews Ground (also numbered Alpha 1). The Jewish community in Glasgow purchased a piece of ground in the Necropolis from the Merchants’ House and the first entry in the burial register, on 12th September 1832, is that of Joseph Levi, jeweller in Alpha 1.

Jewish Burial Ground

Jewish Burial Ground

In 2015 funds were obtained for the renovation of the Jewish Burial Ground and a memorial stone to the 57 persons buried there was unveiled (below).

Jewish Burial Ground - memorial stone

Jewish Burial Ground – memorial stone

I myself am not transcribing the burial registers in the same manner as the rest of the volunteers. Instead I am making use of my access to the registers to try and fill in some gaps that exist in the database. I have been aware for many years that when the original Wellington Street UP Church was sold and demolished the bodies buried in the crypt were removed to the Necropolis and reburied in a large plot in compartment Alpha. It turns out that the burial registers record the number of coffins from Wellington Street Church reburied in each of 120 new graves within Alpha 85 in the Necropolis in 1879. I calculate that a minimum of 708 bodies were removed and reinterred. None of these people are identifiable unless a stone was subsequently erected on the new grave which named them. In a small number of cases burials continued in these graves but this soon ceased.


Compartment Alpha, Lair 85

Compartment Alpha, Lair 85

Written by Morag T Fyfe, Historical and Genealogical Researcher Friends of Glasgow Necropolis

The Bishop’s view

We are publishing a poem written by Michelle Wray after her inspiring visit to the Glasgow Necropolis

The Bishop’s view

As I gaze through the Bishop’s window.
Victorian grandeur descends into disrepair.
In the mist, falling leaves temper morning’s air.

Over the Bridge of Sighs
Chaffinches rise and fall in undulating flight.
Cathedral spires glow in autumn’s gilded light.

To the west lies the crag and tail.
Down by the Drygate, seek the Druids trail.
Among the elm and willows, the silent rest on earthen pillows.

Why only the living, swarm upon the city of the dead.
A placid angel bows its immortal head.

Michelle Wray

Chinese Translation

We’ve added a Chinese translation to the History section of our website.

Thanks to Chi Kam for translating this for us and for translating on the Tour of the Glasgow Necropolis for the delegation from Dalian, China, one of Glasgow’s twin cities – and one of the first.

The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis calls out for votes to bag a share of bag charge fund

The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local community projects. greenspace scotland is working with Groundwork to provide support to communities in Scotland. 

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis is one of the groups on the shortlist and are raising funds for path improvements within the Glasgow Necropolis.

Voting is open in stores throughout March and April. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £27 million to more than 3,500 projects up and down the UK. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Tony McElroy, Tesco’s Head of Communications in Scotland, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for March and April. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see them come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Emma Halliday, Community Enabler Coordinator at greenspace scotland, said:

“We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between.

“We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. To find out more visit



·        The Bags of Help initiative is supported by money from the five pence charge levied on single-use carrier bags in Tesco stores.

·        So far Bags of Help has awarded over £27 million to more than 3,500 local community projects.

·        For more information please visit:


List of stores taking part:




Society of Architectural Historians Annual International Conference in Glasgow

The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis are proud to partner with the Society of Architectural Historians for the SAH 2017 Annual International Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, June 7–11. All who share a passion for the history of the built environment are invited to take part in the conference’s paper sessions, roundtables, architecture tours, SAH Glasgow Seminar and more! Register at

The Society of Architectural Historians will host its 70th Annual International Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, from June 7–11, 2017. This is the first time that SAH has met outside North America in over 40 years! Meeting in Scotland’s largest city, world renowned for its outstanding architectural heritage, reflects the increasingly international scope of the Society and its conference. Architectural historians, art historians, architects, museum professionals and preservationists from around the world will convene to share new research on the history of the built environment. The Glasgow conference will include 36 paper sessions, eight round tables, an introductory address and plenary talk, 33 architecture tours, the SAH Glasgow Seminar, and more.

Event Details

Society of Architectural Historians

2017 Annual International Conference

June 7-11 | Glasgow, Scotland

University of Strathclyde, Technology & Innovation Centre


Society of Architectural Historians

Society of Architectural Historians



Remembrance Sunday – First World War Tour

The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis will be undertaking a tour on Remembrance Sunday (13th November between 1pm and 3pm)

Tour Guides, Annette Mullen and Scott Kerr, will take you on a tour of the Necropolis telling the stories of just some of the 155 people on our WW1 Roll of Honour who are either buried or commemorated within the Necropolis.

If you want to come along, and to avoid disappointment of the tour being fully booked, please book early by sending an e-mail to

Their Name Liveth For Evermore: Glasgow City Council’s First World War Project

On Friday 16th September 2016, we’ll be taking part a Diggin In event at Pollok Park.  The event starts at 11am.

This community event brings together people and organisations with an interest in the heritage of World War I, featuring:

  • displays and presentations showcasing the wide variety of WWI projects in Glasgow
  • a screening of the 1916 documentary film Battle of the Somme
  • exhibits, activities and living history demonstrations at the trenches
  • live music

For further information please visit:

This event is part of the DIGGING IN project – see

Doors Open Day Tours – Fully Booked

All of our Doors Open tours are fully booked but there are plenty of other tours available from now until Christmas.

Crowdfunding Appeal – Special Tour by Alexander Stoddard

Alexander Stoddart, internationally acclaimed Sculptor and the Patron of the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis is taking a tour of the Glasgow Necropolis this Saturday (27th August) at 3pm.

This is our final push for our Monteath Crowdfunding Appeal, and this extra special tour is being undertaken by Alexander Stoddart, who is doing so as our Patron to support this fundraising Appeal.This is a rare opportunity and we would encourage you, if possible, to be particularly generous with your donations.

Booking Information

Prior booking is essential
Please book by sending an e-mail to and put ‘Alexander Stoddart Tour’ in the subject.

To donate online please visit:

To donate by text:

TEXT : FOGN50 : followed by £ options – £1, £5, £10, £20, £30, £40, £50, £100 TO 70070

For example: ‘FOGN50 £5’ to donate £5. If you wish to Gift Aid your donation please REPLY to the Gift Aid text.

To donate by cheque:

Please download and complete this form

Alternatively donations can simply be made on the day of the tour


This week we launch the next stage of the Monteath Appeal – a three month crowdfunding campaign being run in association with My Park Scotland.

Monteath Mausoleum

Monteath Mausoleum

THIS APPEAL IS FOR THE CONSERVATION OF THE MONTEATH MAUSOLEUM designed by David Cousin. It was was built for Major Archibald Douglas Monteath, who served in the East India Company and was buried here in 1842. This mausoleum is now in real need of conservation and some of the issues need addressing quickly. So although we have raised some £20k of the £60k required to stabilise this iconic building on Glasgow’s skyline we hope this request for funding finds you able to help with the much needed conservation.

We appreciate that the sum of money involved is substantial to complete these works. However a phased refurbishment is possible with sums raised being spent on the roof to prevent water ingress, and on stonework to stabilize the erosion and the general fabric of the building and bring aspects of the consolidation of the Monteath Mausoleum to completion in 2016.

Thank you for supporting this appeal to ensure that this important part of Glasgow’s history is here for future generations.

To donate online please visit:

To donate by text:

TEXT : FOGN50 : followed by £ options – £1, £5, £10, £20, £30, £40, £50, £100 TO 70070

For example: ‘FOGN50 £5’ to donate £5. If you wish to Gift Aid your donation please REPLY to the Gift Aid text.

To donate by cheque:

Please download and complete this form



FoGN - My Park Scotland


1st June 2016

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