Coronavirus and The Friends Of Glasgow Necropolis Tours

In line with the government’s advice on reducing social contact to help minimise the spread of the Coronavirus, The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis has taken the difficult decision to postpone all Walking Tours in March & April.

The health and safety of all our Tour Guides and our Tour Attendees is our absolute priority, and we would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused and we thank you all for your patience and continued support at this challenging time.

We look forward to welcoming you all back to the Necropolis and our tours in the future.

Further updates will be posted to our website as soon as they are available.

Necropolis Closed – Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 February 2020

Please note that the Necropolis will be closed on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 February 2020.

Tour by Alexander Stoddart, Sculptor in Ordinary to her Majesty the Queen in Scotland


SATURDAY 19th OCTOBER 2019 at 3pm
By Alexander Stoddart, Sculptor in Ordinary to her Majesty the Queen in Scotland

The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis are offering this rare opportunity to experience the Glasgow Necropolis through the eyes of this wonderful sculptor and our Patron, Alexander Stoddart. This is a much valued offer from our Patron to assist with our fundraising for the restoration and conservation of the Glasgow Necropolis.

Spaces are limited so book early. Booking is essential.

Please contact  with details of the the number of places that you wish to reserve.

Our current restoration project is that of the Monteath Mausoleum. Donations can be made in advance via Monteath Appeal page, or by cheque to The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis, St Mungo’s Museum, 2 Castle Street, Glasgow, G4 0RH.

ALL donations from our tours go entirely towards the conservation and restoration of the Glasgow Necropolis.

Alexander Stoddart

Alexander Stoddart

Doors Open Tours 2019

Bookings for Doors Open tours are now open.

The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis are once again delighted to be involved with Doors Open, especially in 2019 which is the 30th year of the wonderful event.

We will be undertaking friendly, informative tours of the magnificent Glasgow Necropolis.

Glasgow Necropolis Walking Tours Programme and Events

Grave Matters 6 and 7

Two new editions of our newsletter, Grave Matters, are now available.  Grave Matters is written my Morag Fyfe.

Grave Matters

Grave Matters – Issue 5

The latest edition of our newsletter, compiled by Morag T Fyfe, can be found on the Grave Matters page.



Amazon Smile

If you are shopping on Amazon, please support The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis at the same time.

AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support our charity every time you shop, at no cost to you.

When you shop at, you will find exactly the same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis.

On your first visit to you need to select The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Your selection will be remembered and then every eligible purchase you make will result in a donation.

Change of Postal Address

We have changed our postal address. Our new details are:

The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis,
c/o St Mungo Museum,
2 Castle Street,
G4 0RH

Grave Matters – Number 4 – Summer 2018

Researched and complied by Morag T Fyfe

Military pensioners in Glasgow in the 1840s.

We know that a number of men buried in the Necropolis fought in the Peninsula War or at Waterloo; there are the Cruikshank brothers in Epsilon and Sergeant James Russell of the Scots Greys in Gamma. However, at the moment we are finding that a number of men being buried are described as ‘soldier’, ‘pensioner’, ‘pensioner, late of X Regt’ and it made me wonder whether any of them might be Waterloo veterans. Between 1834 and 1844 24 men have been found. Those listed simply as pensioners may not be Chelsea Pensioners though I do wonder where else their pensions might have come from. Those who are described simply as soldiers may still have been serving in the army when they died but this still leaves a group of 14 ex-soldiers some of whom were awarded pensions when they left the army. Ignoring the five officers at the moment I was left with nine names.

A quick search of the Waterloo Medal Roll showed that none of the men could be identified there but I may have managed to find the service records of four of them in the other online military records at Ancestry and Find my Past. It can be a problem being sure that one has found the correct records but I am reasonably confident that, in this case, I have identified the correct John Pollock who was buried in the Necropolis on 17th October 1842. This John Pollock, agent and house factor late of 90th Regt was buried in Eta 16, the only one of the sample not to be buried in a Single Grave. His age was given as 51 from which one can estimate his year of birth as 1790-1791.

His service records show John Pollock joined the 90th Regiment at Glasgow in 1807 at the age of 18 and was discharged from Haslar Barracks, Gosport in 1831 as a colour sergeant. When he left the regiment he was the Pay-Sergeant for his company which suggests a certain level of education and probably explains why he was able for find employment as an agent and house factor when he returned to civilian life.

John Pollock - Service Records

John Pollock – Service Records

His service is listed as six years in the West Indies where he was present at the surrender of Guadeloupe by the French in 1810, one year in North America [Canada], six months in France and three years in the Mediterranean.  When Pollock enlisted in 1807 the 90th was already in the West Indies stationed on Saint Vincent and Pollock arrived there on 9th July 1808. The regiment left for Canada on 20th June 1814 and moved from there to Ostend in August 1815 to form part of the Army of Occupation of France; thus Pollock missed participating in the Battle of Waterloo by two months. The regiment spent 1820-1830 in the Mediterranean but Pollock only spent three years there and the reason becomes clear when one reads about his medical state. Before being discharged he had to go before a medical board who certified that he was suffering from ‘hepatic disease’ and chronic rheumatism. His ill health was agreed to stem from a ‘protracted attack of remittent fever at Zante in 1824’. Zante, or Zakynthos is one of the Ionian Islands where the regiment arrived in 1821. Remittent fever is a symptom, not a disease in itself so it is impossible to know for sure what Pollock was suffering from but malaria or typhoid fever may be likely. Bearing in mind Pollock only served in the Mediterranean for three years it looks as though he returned to Britain after his illness in 1824.

There is no longer a gravestone on Eta 16 but the burial registers record the burial of Margaret Wright, relict of John Pollock in 1843.


Bleachfields – William Adam of Milnbank

On the 31st October 1843 William Adam of Milnbank Bleachfield was buried in the Necropolis. His coffin was originally placed in the Egyptian Vaults until his grave in Kappa was ready. On reading this entry I wondered where this bleachfield was and assumed it was probably south of Glasgow near Giffnock or Thornliebank. I was rather surprised to discover that it lay about a fifteen minute walk north-east of the Necropolis between the Molendinar Burn and the Monkland Canal.

Extract from 1st edition of 6 inch Ordnance Survey map showing Milnbank and Burnbank. (NLS Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC-BY-NC-SA) licence.

Extract from 1st edition of 6 inch Ordnance Survey map showing Milnbank and Burnbank. (NLS Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC-BY-NC-SA) licence.

A William Adam, bleacher, first appears in the Glasgow directory for 1828-29 where he is found at Burnbank Bleachfield while two years later he has moved slightly west to Milnbank. This William Adam is probably the same person as the William Adam bleacher at Milnbank whose trust disposition and inventory were registered at Glasgow Sheriff Court on 22nd January 1835 suggesting he died late in 1834 and is probably the father of our William Adam buried in 1843. In the Post Office directory for 1830-31 not only is William Adam shown as located at Milnbank but the firm of William Adam and Son of Milnbank makes its first appearance. This firm can be traced in the Post Office directories at Milnbank until the last online directory of 1910-11 but I do not know what its history is after that.

The Adam of Milnbank family finished up with three lairs in Kappa and two in Epsilon. There are at least thirty three members of the wider family buried or commemorated in the Necropolis between 1836 and 1968.


Bonnetmakers and dyers – Trades incorporations

The Necropolis was established by the Merchants House of Glasgow but there is also a Trades House which is home to the fourteen incorporated crafts of Glasgow. Like the Merchants’ House it has lost much of its original purpose but remains an important charitable organization. One of our members, who belonged to the Bonnetmakers and Dyers Incorporation, recently asked whether we knew of any members of that craft buried in the Necropolis. A quick search did not turn up anyone and it became obvious that, although many of the men buried in the Necropolis must have been members of one or other of the craft incorporations, this fact was not normally recorded on the gravestone. I did manage to identify two members of the craft by dint of checking the most prominent members of the craft like the Deacons and found Sir Matthew W Montgomery, LLD, DL, Lord Provost of Glasgow 1923-26 and Sir Andrew Hislop Pettigrew, DL, LLD of Pettigrew & Stephens of fond memory.


John Wright of Galston, poet


Taken from The whole poetical works of John Wright ... with a portrait of the author, and a sketch of his life, 1843.

Taken from The whole poetical works of John Wright … with a portrait of the author, and a sketch of his life, 1843.

A number of early nineteenth century poets can be found in the Necropolis. Dugald Moore, William Motherwell, and Alexander Rodger are all commemorated by gravestones but John Wright was laid to rest in an unmarked Single Grave in compartment Iota on 23rd May 1844. Wright was born in Sorn parish in 1805 and moved to Galston, his father’s home town, as a young child. His formal education only amounted to a few months and he did not learn to write until in his teens. His long poem ‘The Retrospect’ was published in 1830 with the encouragement of Professor John Wilson (Christopher North of Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine).

He married in 1832 and had several children but by 1841 he had abandoned his family. Judging by the memoir that prefaces the collection of his poems published by his friends in 1843, The whole poetical works of John Wright … with a portrait of the author, and a sketch of his life Wright may have suffered from some form of mental illness exacerbated by heavy drinking. He died from bronchitis, probably in the Royal Infirmary if we take at face value the fact that one of the men who arranged his funeral was Mr Brown of the Royal Infirmary.

A new profile has been added to the website, for Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing and family buried in compartment Beta. Crum Ewing was the nephew and heir of James Ewing of Strathleven one of the founders of the Necropolis.


Anyone who would like to help with this indexing project is very welcome to join us by contacting me at

Grave Matters – Number 3 – Spring 2018

Written by Morag T. Fyfe

Since Grave Matters 2 was produced indexing the burial registers has slowed a little due to various computer problems and holidays. Nonetheless there have still been a number of interesting discoveries made.

Egyptian Vaults

Egyptian Vaults

In Grave Matters 1 I briefly mentioned the Egyptian Vaults (shown above before their recent restoration) in which the coffin of Major Archibald Monteath was stored until his monument was ready.  The Egyptian Vaults have a T shaped groundplan with a passage leading in from the entrance and short cross passages at the inner end forming the head of the T. Looking through the gate it is possible to make out the lifting rings for the individual vaults set into the floor. From the burial registers there is evidence that there were at least nine individual vaults available though the number of the vault used is not always specified in the burial register. Between 1838 and 1843 the vaults were used 38 times. They were still in use in 1862 but I don’t yet know when their use ceased.

One of the indexers was intrigued by an unusual name when he came across the burial of Alexis Snodgrass Papillon on 21st December 1842. Subsequently I referred him to the Jamieson/Papillon profile on our website for more information and he spotted a discrepancy in Alexis’s given age.

The burial register records Alexis’s age as 35 while the grave stone says 33; so which is right? It is not uncommon for ages on the stone and in the burial register to vary and there can be a number of reasons why this is so.

Papillion Grave

Papillion Grave

First of all it needs to be borne in mind that before 1855 there are no birth certificates as we know them; most people were baptised and their baptisms were hopefully recorded in the church’s baptismal register, and sometimes their actual date of birth might also be recorded. I do not think it was usual for most parents to obtain a copy of the baptismal entry from the minister so persons did not usually have written evidence of when they were born to allow them to calculate their age.

From the Old Parish Registers for Glasgow parish we know that Alexis was baptised on 10th December 1806 which implies she was born November/December 1806 (though that may be a misleading assumption to make). However let us assume, for the sake of argument, that she was born on 9th December 1806. This would have made her 36 years and 6 days old when she died on 15th December 1842 and means that neither her age in the burial register nor her age on the stone is correct.

Her burial was organized by her brother J P Jamieson and her mother was still alive in 1842, so Alexis’s date of birth and exact age ought to have been known to them. The fact that her age is a year out in the burial register suggests one of two things to me – either in the fraught days leading up to her death that year her December birthday was overlooked, or the year of her birth was misremembered and it was thought she had had her 35th birthday that year instead of her 36th.

Turning to the discrepancy on the gravestone, it will be noticed that the first name on the stone is that of J P Jamieson who died in 1869. The fact that his is the first name suggests the stone was not erected until after his death. Was there a temporary grave marker there before? As Jamieson was the last surviving member of his family in Glasgow it seems likely that the stone was erected by his executors and I wonder how much they knew about his sister, who had been dead for twenty seven years? So, all in all, it doesn’t surprise me that Alexis’s age on the stone is wrong.

Amongst the familiar causes of death that have been recorded a couple of more unusual ones stand out. On the 29th September 1843 William Murdoch a 20 year old tailor was buried and his cause of death was given as yellow fever. Four days later, on 3rd October the burial of another tailor, Charles Cranner, who also died of yellow fever was recorded. Considering yellow fever is a mosquito borne disease found in Central America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa the chances of William Murdoch and Charles Cranner contracting it in Glasgow seem extremely unlikely. It makes one wonder what they did die of that could be mistaken for yellow fever.

Another young man who met an untimely end was William Muir a 23 year old painter who was buried on 24th March 1842. His cause of death was very informative as it said ‘accident from explosion of boiler on board Telegraph steamer at Helensburgh’. This was the second time the victim of a steam ship explosion was buried in the Necropolis. In 1835 the boiler of the Earl Grey steamer blew up when she was alongside at Greenock killing six people and severely injuring fifteen. One of the injured, Ebenezer Bell, later died from his injuries and was buried in the Necropolis.

The Telegraph was a wooden paddle steamer built by Hedderwick & Rankin in 1841 for the Glasgow-Helensburgh service. She was lightly built for speed with an experimental high-pressure engine in order to compete with the railway. On the 21st March she had just disembarked some passengers at Helensburgh and was backing away from the quay to proceed to Gareloch when her boiler violently exploded. The force of the explosion completely shattered the hull and threw the engine and boiler, which were combined into one piece and weighed 8 tons, 100 feet from the ship. Sixteen people were killed immediately and about fifteen seriously injured while the final death toll reached twenty.

William Muir was one of a group of six or eight painters (reports vary) travelling to Gareloch to work on the painting of a new ship launched by Hedderwick and Rankin in October 1841 called Precursor (below). Precursor was a completely different type of vessel to Telegraph, the river steamer. Her first owner was the Eastern Steam Navigation Co and she plied the Suez-Calcutta route until she was withdrawn in 1858. Another passenger travelling to Gareloch was Peter Hedderwick partner in Hedderwick & Rankin who also lost his life that day.



I recently came across the burial of a little boy called Arthur Welesley Watson and I immediately wondered why he was named after the Duke of Wellington. Judging by young Arthur’s age at death he had been born in May 1842. By this date Wellington was an old man though he did not retire from political life until 1846 and it is difficult to imagine what caused a Glasgow father to name his son after Wellington by then. On checking the database I found we also had an Arthur Wellesley Ritchie (c1854-1879).

I then started to wonder about other children with famous or unusual forenames. From 1851 to 1872 the minister of the Barony Church was the Rev Dr Norman Macleod and five men buried in the Necropolis bear these forenames. It is impossible to prove that they are named after the minister but both Norman Macleod Stewart (1853-1854) and Norman Macleod Crawford (1872-1873) were born during Macleod’s ministry in the Barony.

One of the men for whom I feel most sorry is Primrose Bell, a Glasgow merchant who died in 1841 aged 76.   It wasn’t uncommon for a younger boy in the family to be given his mother’s maiden name at baptism which is presumably what happened here.

Some unusual names are also found amongst the women. In their case one finds feminized versions of male names like Angusina Margaret Mcdonald (c1905-1970) daughter of John Mcdonald and Margaret Mcleod and Gavina Norie Paterson (1861-1880) daughter of Gavin Paterson and Annie Muirhead. Girls were also given surnames as forenames. Mrs Mathieson (c1880-1918) was born Connel Mary Cargill daughter of David Cargill and Connel Auld and grand daughter of William Auld and Connel Simpson. Unusual forenames like Connel are a godsend to family historians.

We recently received an enquiry from an author about whether it was likely that a couple who died in the 1960s would be buried in the Necropolis. Thanks to the indexer working on the 1960s burial registers I was able to reply that it was possible to be buried in the Necropolis at that period but I queried whether it was likely. The 1960s registers normal recorded whether a burial was taking place in a newly purchased lair or not and, as the addresses of the deceased were recorded, it is possible to get a picture of who was buying a lair in the Necropolis at that time; generally it was local families from Dennistoun and Townhead. Most of the lairs sold were in compartments Quartus or Secundus both in the lower quarry area.



One of our volunteers recently took a Canadian lady on a tour of the Necropolis looking in particular for any Masonic gravestones. This is not a topic about which we know very much and we would be grateful for any help in identifying possible Masonic gravestones.

Some new profiles have been added to our collection: Rev Robert Cunningham (1799-1883), William Graham (1817-1885), Alexander Mackenzie (d. 1875) and his cast iron monument and Sir David Richmond (1843-1908).


Anyone who would like to help with this indexing project is very welcome to join us by contacting me at


Back to top
Friends of our site: - create a QR code online . . . . . Probieren Sie den Online Jackpot auf unserer Website aus