The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Northern England and Southern Scotland in 1841

Glasgow Necropolis

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Necropolis. - This is situated adjoining the ancient cathedral and its extensive burying-ground, which occupies a gentle declivity on one side of a valley, while the Necropolis, which may be considered as a continuation of this burying-ground, covers a rather steep rocky hill, sprinkled with trees and modern tombstones, on the other. The impression made by the first view of this hill, studded with trees and tombs and scars of solid rock, when looking from the town, with the cathedral in the foreground, is grand and melancholy; and the effect is heightened as we pass along an elevated road towards a bridge which crosses the valley at the point where the Necropolis commences, and is, as it were, joined to the ancient churchyard, so as to unite the tombs of many generations with those of generations yet unborn. This circumstance is finely noticed in the following inscription on the bridge: - THIS BRIDGE WAS ERECTED BY THE MERCHANTS' HOUSE OF GLASGOW, TO AFFORD A PROPER ENTRANCE TO THIS NEW CEMETERY, COMBINING CONVENIENT ACCESS TO THE GROUNDS, WITH SUITABLE DECORATION TO THE VENERABLE CATHEDRAL AND THE SURROUNDING SCENERY; TO UNITE THE TOMBS OF MANY GENERATIONS WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE, WITH THE RESTING-PLACES DESTINED FOR GENERATIONS YET UNBORN WHERE THE ASHES OF ALL SHALL REPOSE UNTIL THE RESURRECTION OF THE JUST; WHEN THAT WHICH IS SOWN A NATURAL BODY SHALL BE RAISED A SPIRITUAL BODY,- WHEN THIS CORRUPTIBLE MUST PUT ON INCORRUPTION,- WHEN THIS MORTAL MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY,- WHEN DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY. A.D. MDCCC XXXIII. "Blessed is the Man who trusteth in God, and whose hope the LORD is." (This, and the inscription over the gate, were kindly procured for us by David Gibson, Esq., the active, intelligent, and enthusiastic secretary of the Glasgow Horticultural Society.) The road to this bridge is straight, and on a raised mound nearly level, so as to be considerably above the lower part of the ancient churchyard, and with the hill of the Necropolis rising boldly in front; so that the spectator, finding himself in a commanding position, and looking down on the one cemetery, and up towards the other, has his mind filled with the subject to the exclusion of every other idea, and feels, in short, the effect on his mind to be sublime. Before entering the cemetery gates, the first thing which struck us as remarkable was the totally different character from what they are in every other British cemetery that we have ever seen, of the tombs and gravestones, even at a distance: there appears to be no mean, trivial, or vulgar forms among them; the trees among which they are scattered being what may be considered large rather than small, and, at all events, having nothing of the character of young trees, the appearance recalled to mind some of the descriptions of the cemeteries of antiquity.