Andrew Harper (1807-1883)

Sunday, August 9th, 2020
Andrew Harper 's restored memorial 2013

Andrew Harper ‘s restored memorial 2013

Original inscription:   “In Memory of Andrew Harper, Merchant, Glasgow.   Born at Kilmarnock, 16 May 1807.  Died at Langbank, 29 Nov 1883. Also of Five children, who died under eight years of age.”

Added later, after 1895, “Jean Hill, his wife.   Died at Langbank, 19 Augt 1895, in her 88th year”

On base:                                  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”

(The memorial is one of a number of works of Peter Smith, himself buried further up the hill)

Andrew Harper, a provision merchant of Glasgow, was born at Holm Head,  Kilmarnock on 16th May 1807, the second son, and one of ten children, of Andrew Harper (sen.) ( 1773-?1846), weaver, and Agnes Fleming (6th May 1781-?1847).

There were three other children of the first marriage of Andrew Harper (sen.):   John, 1 Sept 1798, Sarah, 2nd June 1800, and John, 4th May 1802 – the last two, at least, born at Holm Head.   Little is known of them.

In his second marriage, to Agnes Fleming:-

Andrew’s older brother John, was born on 11th October 1805, but nothing further is known about him.   His younger sibs were:-

Robert (also born at Holm Head, Kilmarnock), 30th December 1808

Daughter to Andrew Harper, weaver, Holm Head (no name listed in the parish register) on 7th November 1810

James, to Andrew Harper, grocer, Bank Street, Kilmarnock, 1st May 1812

Agnes, to Andrew, merchant, Laigh Kirk and Agnes Harper, at Kilmarnock, 18th April 1814

Thomas, at Kilmarnock, 3rd January 1816

Elizabeth, to Andrew Harper, grocer, Strand Foot, 18th July 1818

Twins, Mary Anne and Jean (Jane?), at Kilmarnock, 26th December 1829

In his early life he was a grocer’s assistant in Paisley, but moved to the centre of Glasgow and built up a successful business as a victualler and provision merchant, eventually in the wholesale as well as the retail trade, before retiring to Langbank in Renfrewshire.   He died there on 29th November 1883, aged 76 years, and was buried in the Glasgow Necropolis. 

His father, also named Andrew, was initially a weaver; his forbears were weavers and garment makers, from the Kilmarnock-Kilmaurs and Stewarton area.     His father was married at Kilmarnock to Agnes Fleming, on 26th December 1804, his second, and her first, marriage.  It may  be supposed that he foresaw declining prospects for those occupations, for he became a grocer in Bank Street, Kilmarnock,  by 1812, (Indeed, it is said that the ‘Radical Road’ on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh was a ‘job creation scheme’ for unemployed weavers, in the 1820s).   In 1814 Andrew Harper (senior) was  recorded as a ‘merchant, Laigh Kirk’;  in 1818 he was a grocer at ‘Strand Foot’, and 1820 at ‘Step Foot’, Kilmarnock (all these addresses given in the Kilmarnock Midwives’ Register on the occasion of the births of three of his last five children}.   He was still living in Bank Street, Kilmarnock at the time of the 1841 census, with his wife and youngest 20-year old daughter, (a twin, Jean – whose married name is thought to have been Mrs Blair).

Andrew Harper (senior) finally moved to Glasgow in 1842, following the example of his sons, Andrew and Robert, who had already moved to the city about five years earlier, and were expanding similar successful businesses.   He was listed as a grocer in Glasgow at 121 Saltmarket Street from 1842-3, and in Crown Street from 1843 until 1847-48, his last definite appearance in the records, suggesting a possible date of death  about 1847, when  he would have been 73 years of age.      (A death of an Andrew Harper is recorded on 20th December, 1848, in Stewarton parish, but it is thought to be unlikely that this is the same person).   It is not certain where, and exactly when, Andrew Harper (senior) died.

Andrew Harper c 1870

Andrew Harper c 1870

Jean Hill (Harper) c 1870

Jean Hill (Harper) c 1870

Andrew  Harper, (junior) whose memorial now stands in the Necropolis (see photograph), was born on 16th May 1807, the second son of Andrew Harper (senior) and his second wife Agnes Fleming.

He spent his childhood in Kilmarnock, and the first record of his adult life (letters in the family’s possession) show that he was working in Paisley  in 1832, at Messrs Hamilton & Wilson, victuallers,  17 Moss Street, Paisley, at the age of 25.

He was still a grocer there, two years later, when banns were called in Paisley Middle Church Parish, (OPR 573/2) prior to his marriage at the age of 27, on 27th July 1834, to Jean (Jane) Hill, residing in Abbey Street, in the same parish.  They seem to have been married however, in Paisley Abbey parish (OPR 559/8).   The service was conducted by a well-known preacher, Rev. Alexander Fleming, D.D., of Neilston, who was Andrew Harper’s great-uncle, then aged 74.

Andrew Harper’s first two children were born in Paisley:   Jane (21st April 1835) and Agnes (9th February 1837).  Pigot’s 1837 Directory lists an Andrew Harper as a victualler at 1 Old Sneddon Street, Paisley.  He moved to Glasgow in 1837 or 1838, where the remainder of his family were born.   He began by going into partnership with his younger brother Robert as A. & R. Harper, victuallers, at 106 Main Street, Gorbals, but the partners soon each set up their own businesses.

His brother Robert remained working at that address until 1848, while his home was at 167, and later 194 Main Street, Gorbals.   He opened other shops at 51 Burnside place (Garscube road) from 1840-1842, and at 37 Malta Street (later Norfolk Street),  38 Cavendish Street, and  71 King Street, Tradeston, for short periods, in tandem with his principal base in Main Street, Gorbals.   Finally Robert  moved house in 1851 to 152 Buccleugh Street, with premises at 34 St George’s road, then 12 Bank Street, Hillhead, where he is last recorded in 1853-54.   He finally emigrated with his family to Australia in August 1856, where he prospered, setting up the firm of Robert Harper & Co., Melbourne,  trading in tea, coffee and spices from the East Indies, and later in oatmeal and flour.   Robert died in Australia on 9th January 1919.

Andrew Harper himself spent his first year or so in Glasgow from 1837 in partnership with his younger brother, but soon set up on his own for the next twenty years in the Gallowgate (284, then 290 or 292).  He is described variously as a victualler, or provision merchant, but also as a baker for some years in the 1840s, when he owned several subsidiary retail shops, at 2 Kirk Street, Townhead;  92 Kirk Street, Calton; 152 (or 159) Castle Street, Townhead;  and Blue vale, Duke Street.   He then acquired a wholesale provision store at 72 Broomielaw Street in 1848.  In 1851 he moved his store to 11 Stirling Street, and in 1861 to Blackfriars’ Street (41,45, or 47), for the remainder of his working life.   He was last described as a provision merchant in 1870-71.

He and his family lived initially at 37 Graeme Street, until 1859, when they moved to 136 Stirling Road (initially also known as Sackville Place), where their three daughters were all married (in 1860, 1867 and 1870).   The 1871 census showed he was still at 136 Stirling Road, (at the east end of Cathedral Street, opposite the Royal Infirmary), with his 84-year-old  mother-in-law Jean Hill (his wife was staying with their married daughter in Keith on census day).    But by 1872 he was no longer at this house;    he had bought some land, for he is now described as a ‘portioner’, (or ‘proprietor of a piece of land once part of a larger estate’), and was staying with relatives for the two or three years.  By 1875 he had moved to Rosebank Villa, Langbank, Renfrewshire, and resided there for the rest of his life.    His mother-in-law died there on 19th October 1875, aged 89.   A note is added in the Glasgow Post Office Directory for 1875-76: “letters to be left with D. Riddell (his son-in-law’s), 16 Hope Street     He died there on 29th November 1883, aged 76 years.   His widow, Jean Harper, continued to live there until she died, aged 87, on 19th August 1895.  Both were interred in his lair at Glasgow Necropolis, where five of his eight children had already been buried  many years earlier.

Rosebank Villa, Langbank, c.1880

Rosebank Villa, Langbank, c.1880

The five young children also interred in this lair (between 1843 and 1856) include Agnes Harper, 6 years (b. 9/2/1837, buried 6/6/1843); Agnes Fleming (Harper), 5 years (b. 5/2/1845, buried 13/12/1850);  John Long (Harper), 1yr 5 mths (b.8/2/1851, buried 19/7/1852); and Andrew Harper, 7 years (b. 9/3/1849, died 17th, buried 19/3/1856).  The fifth child, not recorded in the burial records, could have been his first  child, Jane (b. 21/4/1835).   .

Only three daughters, (the third, fourth and fifth of his eight children), survived into adult life:-

Mary Ann, born on 23rd May 1839, married David Stirrat on 21st June 1860, in the family home at 136 Sackville Place, Stirling Road, Glasgow, and soon after emigrated to Queensland, Australia, where they developed a ‘station’ at Mount Alma, near Calliope, about 20 miles from the coast.  She died there on 22nd June 1889, aged 50.

Janet (or Jessie) was born on 17th June 1841, and married the Rev. William Gillespie on 12th May 1870;  she died at Bearsden, Glasgow, on 28th March 1938, aged 96.

Jean Smith Harper (or Janie), the writer’s great-grandmother,  was born on 4th May 1843, and married a neighbouring grain merchant, David Riddell of 446 Gallowgate, on 14th November 1867;  she died at Rutherglen on 10th April 1916, aged 72.

It must have been a great sadness that his only two sons who might have succeeded him, Andrew and John, were two of these eight children buried here.   But there was nevertheless a continuing family connection to the grocery trade, with John Riddell’s grain merchant business in the Gallowgate, and whose son David, Andrew’s son-in-law, was entering the trade.

It might be of interest to note that a photograph handed down through the family showed its original state, with a shorter inscription, (between 1883 and 1895);  the writer searched for it in 1995, and again in 2002, finding it lying toppled, upside down, separated from its pedestal, and on the uphill side of a grassy terrace, two levels below its expected position;  it was noted that his wife’s name had been added since the first photograph was taken.  In 2013, during a guided tour of the newly refurbished Necropolis, it was noticed by his great-great-grandson, repaired and restored, upright, and most likely replaced in or near to its original position, on the downhill side of the access pathway leading left from the bridge, looking towards the Cathedral and Royal Infirmary.

With acknowledgements to:   the restorers of Glasgow Necropolis;  family history research by the late Andrew Harper Dinwoodie (great-great-grandson);   with additional material from the Glasgow Post Office Directories held on the National Library of Scotland website.             Hugh Parker Dinwoodie (g.g.grandson), Nov. 2013

Andrew Harper's restored memorial 2013

Andrew Harper’s restored memorial 2013

Andrew Harper's toppled memorial 1995

Andrew Harper’s toppled memorial 1995

Andrew Harper's toppled memorial location 2002

Andrew Harper’s toppled memorial location 2002


Hugh Hamilton

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

By Morag T Fyfe

At the southernmost point of compartment Delta stands the monument commemorating Hugh Hamilton though it is now so badly weathered that the inscriptions are illegible. Fortunately George Blair recorded the texts in an article published in the Reformers’ Gazette in 1850, at the same time deploring the state of the monument then only about twelve years old. The monument faces south towards the Façade and on that face is the following inscription:

Born 25 June, 1791, died 25th Dec., 1837.
“Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he
That is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” Proverbs
xxviii, 6.

On the east and west sides are the following inscriptions:

An Enlightened Admirer
Of the
British Constitution,
He earned an honourable reputation
Amongst his fellow citizens,
By the grave(?) and fervid eloquence
With which he advocated
Our mixed form(?) of Government.


Sincerely attached
To the
He zealously its claims
To support and extension;
Contended earnestly for its pure
Faith, and simple ritual;
And exemplified its precepts
By a walk and conversation
Recoming(sic) the Gospel.

Nothing is known about Hugh Hamilton personally but his association with the Glasgow Conservative Operatives’ Association means that he appeared a number of times in the newspapers of the day. The Association seems to have been formed in December 1836 and lasted until May 1843.

Between 1836 and 1838 Sir Robert Peel held the position of Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow. In order to mark his election it was proposed at the Town Council meeting of 22 December 1836 that he should be admitted a Freeman Burgess of the city but this was rejected by a majority of councillors. When this became known the newly constituted Glasgow Conservative Operatives’ Association decided to open a subscription to raise money to purchase a Merchant Burgess ticket and present it to him when he came to Glasgow for his inauguration as Lord Rector.

Peel’s inauguration took place on 11 January 1837 and on the 13th twenty deputations from a number of organizations in Glasgow and further afield came to Blythswood House, where he was staying, to present him with congratulatory addresses. Due to pressure of time the only address which was presented to him and to which he replied there and then was that of the Glasgow Conservative Operatives’ Association; all the other addresses were acknowledged in due course in writing but Peel specifically asked that the Operatives should make their presentation to him. Hugh Hamilton presented him with a silver box containing the Burgess Ticket and an address signed by over two thousand Operatives. William Keddie, secretary to the Association then read the address and Peel made a suitable reply.

In March 1837 the Glasgow Conservative Operatives’ Association held a grand dinner in the Town Hall attended by about 300 persons at which Hugh Hamilton was in the chair. The following month he was one of the speakers at the first dinner of the University Peel Club founded in 1836 and now the University Conservative Club.

That seems to be all that is known about Hamilton until an obituary appeared in the first report of the Glasgow Conservative Operatives’ Association in 1838. The obituary provides no personal details but confirmed Hamilton as a founder member of the Association and President of it. The final mystery of Hugh Hamilton’s life is ‘where is he buried?’ There is no sign of his burial in the burial registers of the Necropolis.

Hugh Hamilton Memorial

Hugh Hamilton Memorial

William Ramsay Hutchison

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Andrew Guy Hutcheson MC

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Thomas Harvey

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

William Jarvie Harrower

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Roger Hennedy 1809 – 76

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Roger Hennedy was born in 1809 at Carrickfergus, near Belfast, of Scottish parentage. His family had changed the initial letter of their surname from K to H. This may sound more Irish but it is strange as Kennedy had been quite a common name there since the ‘plantations’ of Lowland Scots to Ulster, initiated in the reign of King James VI.

Hennedy followed an unusual career path for a professor of Botany. His life is traced by his friend William ‘Crimea’ Simpson, the famous war artist, in a biographical note published in an ‘In Memoriam’ edition of his Clydesdale Flora (Hennedy, 1878).

From the age of two he lived with his grandfather, who ran a local store, and as he grew up Roger helped him. After his grandfather’s death he became apprenticed as a block cutter to a local calico printer. However, finding his master ‘tyrannical’ he ran away to Scotland where he completed his apprenticeship with a Rutherglen firm of calico printers. In 1832 he left to join the Customs in Liverpool, but finding this uncongenial he soon returned and joined a firm of muslin printers, again as a block cutter.

By this time, however, lithography was replacing the block cutting method of printing in the textile industry and he adapted to the change. He became very skilled at the new process and he designed new patterns, mainly of floral designs, which he then transferred to the stone. His developing skill in drawing led to a closer interest in plants, and in 1838 “owing to a lull in his work, he went to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae and took up the study of Botany merely to pass away the time”. It was here that he also developed a special interest in diatoms, for which he was to become a recognised authority. However, he continued his career as a designer of muslin patterns, working for two other firms before setting himself up with a partner in manufacturing sewed muslins. His botanical interest consumed all his spare time, and in 1848, following the founding of the Athenaeum, he started to teach a small botanical evening class. A year later he also started lecturing at the Mechanics’ Institute.

On 2 July 1851 the Natural History Society of Glasgow was formed by nine “gentlemen interested in the pursuit of natural science” and Roger Hennedy joined them a few days later when John Scouler addressed them and was elected their first Honorary President (Sutcliffe, 2001). Scouler had been a Professor in Dublin since 1834, having previously been Professor of Natural History at Anderson’s University. Hennedy, however, still continued in the muslin trade. According to the Post Office Directories (which are not always reliable) he set up his own business as a sewed muslin manufacturer in Queen Street in 1856 and this continued until 1871.

Meantime in 1863 he was appointed Professor of Botany at the then Andersonian University, a post he held until his death in 1876. William ‘Crimea’ Simpson attended his first classes at the Athenaeum and they became firm friends. They went on excursions together, Hennedy botanising and Simpson sketching. They both got to know Hugh MacDonald, author of Rambles Around Glasgow (MacDonald, 1854), who, like Hennedy, had been apprenticed as a block cutter to a calico printer.

In MacDonald’s book there are references to the two of them, although not by name (vide Simpson, 1903), on an excursion to Robroyston and Chryston, when Simpson was on a return visit to Glasgow. “Our flower-loving friend is now in all his glory poking and prying along the vegetable fringe that skirts the path. Every now and then we are startled by his exclamations of delight, as some specimen of more than ordinary beauty meets his gaze”.

MacDonald stresses the breadth of Hennedy’s natural history interests, and ends in his inimitable melodramatic Victorian style when Hennedy picks up a toad: “Of course, we shrink back in disgust, but that won’t satisfy our philosophical friend who talks contemptuously of ignorant prejudice [and gives] an account of the monster’s habits and mode of living” before letting “the loathsome creature crawl away”. Meanwhile “Our artistic companion … set himself down … to transfer a fac-simile … into his sketch book”. The book includes a copy of the sketch Simpson had made of Cardarrock House on this outing.

Simpson corresponded with both Hennedy and MacDonald from the front during the Crimean War, and Hennedy’s herbarium includes a specimen of a Linum sp. collected on 13 December 1854 from “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” (vide: The Charge of the Light Brigade). Hennedy also became closely associated with Walker Arnott (Regius Professor of Botany, University of Glasgow). They conducted a scientific correspondence for over 20 years and also went on excursions together, Hennedy then especially collecting diatoms. On one occasion they were near a group of colliers who were puzzled by their antics. Hennedy overheard one of them saying of him: “that wee ane’s daft, he’s clean gyte; see, he’s gathering glaur and pittin’d in a bottle”. His interest in diatoms is commemorated in Navicula hennedyi and Toxarium hennedyanum. The eminent phycologist William Henry Harvey named an Australian genus of Rhodophyta (Red Algae) in his name – Hennedya – as well as a species first found off the Isle of Cumbrae – Actinococcus hennedyi, the valid name of which is now said to be Haemescharia hennedyi.

An interest in mosses also brought him a commemorative generic name: Hennediella. This genus is found mainly in North America, but as an alien elsewhere, including the British Isles. It has recently been recognised as a more important genus than originally thought. It is even referred to in A Short History of Nearly Everything (Bryson, 2003) and a revision has been published listing 15 species (Cano, 2008).

Hennedy recounted to Simpson how he collected a large specimen of Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis) one Sunday morning, at a time when the Sabbath was strictly observed. With bad timing he found himself walking through a village as the ‘Established’ Kirk was ‘skailing’ and he passed a long procession of serious faces. To his even greater embarrassment he then passed the Free Kirk as the congregation was coming out and he was mortified when they showed their astonishment at seeing him walking along with his copious plant on such a day! Simpson records that Hennedy was of a rather solitary nature, and spent his time studying alone well into the night. He had little regard for money and often gave his time freely to his students. His wife, Margaret, the daughter of David Cross of Rutherglen, is recorded as: “a lady whose energy and industry in relation to her husband’s work deserves better mention that can possibly be given…” (Simpson in Hennedy, 1878).

The family lived at Grafton Place, close to the College, and the 1861 Census Returns show they have five grown up children living with them. Three girls and one son, William, are recorded as working with their father as “sewed muslin manufacturers”. William appears to have had some botanical interest as the herbarium includes three of the rarer alpines on Ben Lawers and a specimen of the Fortingall Yew collected by him. Their second son, David, a salesman, is recorded in the Post Office Directories from 1869 as D. Hennedy & Co., with the same business address, in Queen Street, as his father. By the 1871 Census, when Roger Hennedy is a Professor of Botany, the other children have left home. Shortly after this they moved to Whitehall, Bothwell and, according to the Post Office records, son David continued to live there until 1891. Roger Hennedy died in 1876 at his home in Bothwell.

Roger Hennedy  Grave– Upsilon 144

The accompanying sketch of Hennedy is by Simpson, who explained how it was made: “He would never have allowed a portrait of himself to be done. I chanced to be on a visit only a few weeks before his death. … As the family were anxious to have some resemblance of him, I made notes of his face, without his knowledge, … and have been able from them to make something of a likeness”. In 1886 it was “decided a memorial for the late Mr. Hennedy should take the form of a marble bust to be placed in Anderson’s College” (Proc. Nat. Hist. Soc. Glasgow 1886). Although this was done, its present whereabouts is not known. However, Simpson also made an oil painting from the sketch, and this is held in the Collins Gallery.

Hennedy Bust (discovered in Texas, USA)

[Slightly amended version of an account by Eric Curtis in The Glasgow Naturalist Vol 25, part 2 (2009); reproduced with permission. Hennedy’s herbarium is now at Glasgow Museums Resource Centre]


Bryson, Bill (2003) A Short History of Nearly Everything. Doubleday, London, New York.

Hennedy, R.(1878, In Memoriam Edition). Clydesdale Flora. David Robertson, Glasgow.

MacDonald, H. (1854, First Edition). Rambles Round Glasgow. James Hedderwick, Glasgow.

The “In Memoriam” edition of Hennedy’s Clydesdale Flora can be viewed or downloaded at

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