Scotland’s Gothic Graveyards

Cemeteries are strange places, they have their own kind of architecture. Odd little houses and beds for the dead that are quite archaic . On a recent visit to Scotland I visited two very character full graveyards indeed, Blackfriars Kirkyard Edinburgh and the Necropolis in Glasgow. Here’s a little of what I saw:

necropolis-glasgow monument

I love Victorian cemeteries best, they are the antithesis of the uniform marble headstones of present day that I find anodyne despite their ability to twinkle in the sun. My favourite kind of graveyard are those overgrown sites you stumble upon in cities like London, nominally designated ‘park areas’  who are in the process of being reclaimed by nature.  As memory markers of lives lost and times gone by being slowly subsumed by the earth, they are the very picture of living entropy. Despite the wistfulness I find them beautiful, peaceful and almost life affirming.

Glasgow cathedral & details from the necropolis

But these two Scottish graveyards despite their urban settling, were very much alive and brimming with character: The rather grandiose Glasgow Necropolis high on a hill overlooking the Cathedral had many grand tombs, memorials and obelisks raised skyward.

Glasgow Necropolis sights

Meanwhile Blackfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh was full of skull and cross bones, and macabre skeletons dancing over the graves…

Blackfriars - Edinburgh judge death

Judging by the imagery one might imagine  Edinburgh’s Blackfriars Kirkyard full of brigands,  poisoners and decadent debutantes.

Blackfriars Kirkyard- Edinburgh (2)

I very much enjoyed wandering around both of these places.  To quote Tim Burton “Most people say about graveyards: “Oh, it’s just a bunch of dead people. It’s creepy.” But for me, there’s an energy to it that it not creepy, or dark. It has a positive sense to it.” And I have to say I agree.Blackfriars Kirkyard- Edinburgh -skull

I’ve been photographing cemeteries and graveyards all around the UK & Ireland since I was a teenager. It’s an unintentional habit but I find them intriguing so I can’t help myself.  Do you have any strange places you’re attracted to? Or something like this you always tend to photograph? Tell me about it in the comments!

And if you like you can check out more Things I saw in Scotland here .

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4 comments

  1. […] If you liked this you might enjoy my recommendations from my previous Scotland trips  here. And if you like your visitor attractions spooky, I spotlighted some great Gothic places to visit here. […]

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  2. Some fascinating imagery here. I too have a fascination with what some might refer to as morbid locales.

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    1. You can’t beat ’em. Victorian graveyards are especially good. I used to live near Ladywell cemetery in London which was especially overgrown and wonderful. But the Necropolis in Glasgow is the most impressive I’ve ever visited.

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      1. I hope I get to see it one day.

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