The Garden Guide

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

Glasgow Necropolis Entrance

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The Neeropolis is entered by a magnificent archway and gates, over which is the following inscription:- THE NECROPOLIS, OR ORNAMENTED PUBLIC CEMETERY, WAS CONSTRUCTED BY THE MERCHANTS' HOUSE OF GLASGOW, IN THEIR PROPERTY, TO SUPPLY THE ACCOMMODATION REQUIRED BY A RAPIDLY INCREASING POPULATION, AND, BY EMBELLISHING THE PLACE OF SEPULTURE, TO INVEST WITH MORE SOOTHING ASSOCIATIONS THAT AFFECTIONATE RECOLLECTION OF THE DEPARTED WHICH IS CHERISHED BY THOSE WHO SURVIVE. A.D. MDCCC XXXIII. "E'en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries." A carriage road commences at this portal, and gradually ascends the hill in a winding direction, so as to exhibit every part of the cemetery to a stranger, without obliging him to quit his carriage. Having reached the summit, we may either return by the same road and gate, or by another road which leads to a gate on a different side of the hill. The principle on which the line of road is traced out is determined by the character of the surface and the end in view, and is therefore unexceptionable. The trees are scattered over the ground at irregular distances, in the manner of a natural grove, but here and there they are more or less grouped, so as to produce occasional scenes of darkness and gloom. There are but few evergreens, but these, we were informed, would not grow; even some old Scotch pines had a scathed appearance. The natural surface shows rock protruding through it in many places, and rock appears almost at every turn of the road, so that we never for a moment forget that every tombstone has a solid foundation. In consequence of this, every one. of the monuments, large and small, as far as we could observe, is perfectly erect; and not like great numbers of those in Pere la Chaise and Kensal Green, leaning to one side; and, consequently, when composed of several pieces, with the joints opening to admit the rain and frost, and insure speedy ruin. The design, also, of the monuments is of a very superior kind, there being scarcely one in the whole cemetery of those chair-back-like forms so common, in all churchyards; and which, having no base or plinth below to support what is above, appear to have been forced into soft ground, instead of being built up from a solid foundation. All the monuments in the Glasgow cemetery convey the dignified idea of being built, and have not the mean appearance of being thrust in like stakes, or laid down like pavement. Even the lettering is, in many cases, cut in the stone, or raised in metallic forms; modes which, as we have above observed, ought never to be neglected when an architectural character is to be maintained. The family burying-places are bounded in general by low architectural parapets, and not, as is frequently the case, with high iron railings; which seem to us to derogate from the sacredness of the scene, by supposing it possible that the cemetery would be visited by persons incapable of conducting themselves properly.