Burial Grounds and graveyards in the Trossachs and nearby, in common with most areas of the UK, are often a interesting looking glass into our history.
One difference between Scottish burial grounds or graveyards and those in other parts is that many of those in Scotland are associated with families, farms and clans rather than with any church.
This listing is far from complete, but I hope to add more as time permits. It lists those burial grounds which I have found to be of particular interest. Click the yellow labels on the map for information!
A) St Kessogs graveyard. The inscriptions on the legible headstones are listed here with access to photos of individual headstones
This graveyard is sited next to Tom na Chessaig - St Kessog's Mound which is said to be the site of Callander's original church. It sits comfortably in a lovely situation next to the river Teith and has beautiful views over the meadows and to Ben Ledi. It contains mostly late 18th and 19th c. stones with a hexagonal watch tower in the wall with the name of its designer and builder in leaded lettering over the door. In the centre of the graveyard is a railed enclosure containing three headstones.
The earliest stone I could find was "Erected by Hugh McBeth tennant of Blairchonzie to the memory of his wife Susan Buchanan who died 1774 aged 36. It stands also to the memory of the above Hugh McBeth who died in 1811 aged 73. Also to the memory of ------- ----".
Some stones are probably older than this but are badly weathered and illegible. Accessed via the gate in Bridge St.
B) Little Leny burial ground. (The Buchanans)
Little Leny Buchanan Burial Ground monumental inscriptions have been recorded.
(Another Buchanan burial ground lies near Callander but at the wishes of its owner I will not give the location. The details of inscriptions in the private ground may be found here).
Sited on the flood plain between the rivers Leny and Eas Gobhain and accessed from the old railway track, 500m on the left from the meadows. This the ancestral burial ground of the Clan Buchanan, contains the burial place of Dugald Buchanan, the Gaelic poet. The enclosure contains the older stones and on a mound to the east of the enclosure stand some later stones. At one time, Little Leny church stood on the mound, but was apparently moved to a site on the other bank after the river shifted its course.
The Trossachs and things to see and do
C) St Chugs Chapel, after which Kilmahog is named is sited to the west of the Aberfoyle Rd at Kilmahog. This little burial ground surrounds the just visible foundations of the pre reformation chapel and is thus probably of great antiquity. Most of the legible stones are of the 19th century although some of the older stones, badly weathered, appear to date from the late 1600s.
Above the gate hangs a bell. The bell was brought from Lake of Mentieth where it was used at one time to call the ferryman when a visitor wanted to cross over to Inchmahome Priory on the island!
Brig o' Turk graveyard.
D) Turn up the Glen Finglas Rd at the tea room and the burial ground is about 600m on the right just before the schoolhouse. Many interesting stones, some of which are roughly hewn flat slabs with no discernable markings. Just on the left on entering the enclosure I found the most interesting memorial, that of Duncan Campbell, who died in 1888. On the memorial he is described as "Loved and respected by all who knew him". Obviously a well loved person judging by the ornate table type, coffin shaped memorial which is adorned with a beautifuly crafted (possibly cast iron) replica of a gnarled shepherds crook.
Interesting also is an upright stone at the top of the burial ground, this one commemorating Katerina Stewart, who died 1782. The stone is flaking badly, but it appears to be inscribed in latin.
I noticed also a memorial next to the top wall which marks the grave of one Hugh MacGregor who died in 1923 at the grand age of 82 - he was 48 years a blacksmith in Brig o' Tuirk; a healthy occupation?
Just as I was about to leave this little burial ground in it's idyllic surroundings, I glanced over the wall to find I was being calmly 'observed' by two completely unconcerned deer. Peaceful indeed!
E) At the western end of Loch Katrine, and accessed on foot or by bicycle from either end of Loch katrine. (4m from Stronachlacher and 7m from the east steamer pier). This is the ancestral burial ground of the MacGregors of Glengyle. The enclosure seen today was erected by the Victorian engineers who raised the level of the loch. The rising waters threatened the ancient burial ground and so the whole enclosure was re-built on an artificial island and the entrance linteled over with the lintel from the gate of the original enclosure.
F) (West on the A34, pass the Leny Falls, pass the Stank Rd, along the straight and at the bends on the left find the Chapel of St Bride). Little is known of the chapel who's foundations can be seen at a slight angle to the enclosure with it's two gates.
There are three flat dressed slabs, now with no legible engraving, and one standing stone.
This interesting engraved stone has a gaelic inscription on the west side, and on the east side "To the memory of James McKinlay, Tacksman at Inverchagernie who died 1805 aged 65. And to his wife Elenor Cameron and their son Peter, died 1828 age 31".
James McKinlay was a "Tacksman".
Although a tacksman generally paid a yearly rent for the land let to him (his " tack "), his tenure might last for several generations. He would often be related to his landlord, the free-holder, and might, for example, represent a cadet branch of the family of the clan chief. The tacksman in turn would let out his land to sub-tenants, though he might keep some in hand himself.
The following information was researched in Perth Library by a McKinley researcher.
Callander St Brides Chapel
National Grid Reference NN 585099.
On west side of road just south of Loch Lubnaig
Sketch plan indicating position of the stones.
1 (Upright stone)
Jas McKinlay tacksman Inverchagernie 4.2.1825 aged 65, his wife Elenora Cameron,
Also his son Peter 4.6:1828 aged 31
(The west side of stone bears a gaelic inscription)
2 (Flat Stone)
John McKinlay 13.8.1732 aged 52, Eliz Ferguson; 17503 Flat Stone)
1766 J Mc C W; Jas McKinlay,
His wife Chr Wright,
His son John 2.1.1765 13 months4 (Flat Stone) J Mc : _(-789), (J Mc)
John McKinlay in Ardullary 20.9.1711 4.1789 aged 78. The site of this chapel is in Callandar parish. For other McKinlays farmers in Annie (a farm close to the burial ground, across the road) see no 76 p 105 ante (Peter) and testaments.p 92 ante (Donald, Finlay & John, 1680, 1662 & 1656). The Stirling Antiguary iii 1904, article by Robt McLaren, says four sons of a Finlay McKinlay settled at Annie, of whom a grandson John in Annie born circa 1645 had three sons:
Donald born 1669Jas "the trooper"
John born 1679.
"The trooper" went to Ireland then to America and was an ancestor of president McKinleyJohn born 1679 died 1732 and is referred to in inscription 2 aboveHis descendant John who died1812 was the last McKinley in AnnieCathrine, daughter of the last John, was wife of Robert McLaren, the next tenant of AnnieCathrine° s mother, four brothers and two sisters emigrated to the USA, where their descendants were still scattered about in1904.
Five of Robert McLaren's sons went to America - one a farmer in Michigan, the others farmers in Ontario.
Don't park on the dangerous bend - Stop in the lay-by on the left at the straight stretch after the 'Log Cabins'sign and walk the last 100m!
G) Rob Roy's Grave - in Balquhidder churchyard. There is a small enclosed group of graveslabs just in front of the door of the old church ruin. It contains three slabs. in the centre, Robert (Rob Roy) MacGregor, d. 1734. On his right hand, his wife Helen (Mary), date unknown, and on his left lie his two sons, Coll d.1733, and Robert, d. 1754.. (See the history section - Rob Roy MacGregor).
The oldest Slab in the graveyard marks the grave of Alex Ferguson of Ardendamh died about 1663.
Also look for the intricately carved headstone to Christina McNaughton behind the modern church at the highest corner near the wall . The carved figure on the headstone was taken from a photograph of the woman in life. Excuse my poor drawing - it's just to giveyou an idea of what to look for.
H) Ardcarnaig. (Inverlochlarig) - The burial ground is situated below the road at the west end of Loch Doine just before the cattle grid and bridge over the burn. The ruinous enclosure contains only one grave slab which is almost unreadable.
I spent some time trying to make sense of the engraving and managed to make out the following:
The stone is headed 1777 with the words "EINDOE AND SPARE NOT", the historic motto of the MacGregors even before the more familiar "MacGregor Despite Them". On the main part of the slab there appear to be the names of about 12 people with the surname Campbell, one of whom seems to be "Archibald - - - - - -Campbell". This was at first surprising, as I know this area to have been owned by a MacGregor - of whom the Campbells were the main persecutors. Further careful study however revealed the words " - - - - - -Campbell who died - - - -1714 aged 76 - - - - - -For all virtues he - - - - - - died". I realised then that the date 1777 at the head of the stone was probably a later addition and that these people were probably of the Clan MacGregor who had been forced to call themselves Campbell after the name MacGregor had been proscribed (banned). "MacGregor Despite them".
The proscription of the MacGregor name was only repealed in the late 18th century!
I later discovered that this burial ground was owned by 'The Children of the Mist' (the MacGregors), and was probably built by John MacGregor (or Murray) of Glencarnaig whilst the name 'MacGregor' was proscribed - and that in this enclosure is buried Iain Og Macgregor who was a chieftain of the Clan from about 1700 to 1744 and who fought in the 1715 Jacobite rising.
J) McLaren of Ardveich Burial Ground.
From the A84, turn east at Lochearnhead and continue for about half a mile until you pass the beautifully restored thatched cottage on the left. after another 100m, watch for 'Earnknow' on the left. This is a private track so leave your car at the road. At the top of the private track and on the right just before the farmhouse is the McLaren (McLauren) burial ground. Legible stones date back to the 18th century. The last burial here was a grand old McLaren lady who lived in the thatched cottage (un-restored at that time) until her death. She was the last McLaren to be entitled to rest here. More information here
K) The McNab Burial ground.
As you enter Killin from the west and pass over the bridge, at the centre of the bridge on the right is a gate. Park your car first and obtain the key from the information centre at the bridge. Walk down the island from the bridge for 500m to find the burial ground. The enclosure contains some interesting carved stones marking the graves of the McNab chiefs for 350 years. There are about 15 graves in the enclosure of which seven are clan chiefs. The less 'noble' persons are buried beyond and around the walls. This island is the only land now owned by the Clan McNab.
The photograph shows the enclosure from the outside at the eastern end of the island. There are 2 stone heads atop the wall, one at each end of the enclosure.
The drawing shows the entrance from Dochart bridge to the island burial ground.
There is an ancient McNab burial groung on the south side of the road on a little grassy knoll with trees. There are several gravestones here, some of them legible some less so and all appear to be to members of the McNab family.
Some bear the McNab Crest 'Dread Nought'
A war memorial is every much a part of a town's history as are castles, graveyards and old burial grounds. In the centre of Callander in Ancaster Square is the towns memorial to its fallen of two world wars. You may find the images and inscriptions of the memorial useful in your family history research. Visit the memorial.
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