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Scottish Review

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Monuments and Monumental Inscriptions in Scotland
By Rev. Charles Rogers in 2 volumes (1871)


Preface

Monuments are as milestones in the pathway of civilization. In early times memorial stones were not reared. When tribes became communities, unhewn stones were set up to perpetuate their heroes. As nations arose, cairns were heaped in celebration of national triumphs, or to denote the graves of Princes. When the Israelites crossed Jordan, they placed twelve stones in memorial of the event; on their establishment as a nation they erected tombs in honour of their prophets. Decorated mummy tombs were common in ancient Egypt; the pyramids, which are clearly monumental, were built about two thousand years before Christ. The Assyrians constructed imposing edifices in celebration of their kings. The Greeks adorned their tombs with elegant sculptures; these at length assumed magnificent proportions, such as the celebrated Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. In Italy the Romans substituted the adorned sepulchral chambers of Etruria by spacious structures, which while honouring the dead suited the convenience of the living. Alike among eastern and western nations the barrow, or sepulchral mound, was superseded by the cromlech, which in its turn was exchanged for the Runic cross and other sculptured forms.

The memorial stones which form the subject of this work belong to a class usually termed modern. They
began to be reared in the thirteenth century, but were then reserved for kings and warriors and churchmen. At the Reformation churches and abbeys were found studded with the cenotaphs of ecclesiastics; these, with the statues of saints and martyrs, were held as idolatrous, and thrown down. For two centuries afterwards, monumental tablets were disallowed in churches; while even in churchyards ornamental monuments were discommended. In respect of such memorials a more cultivated taste arose some sixty years ago. To encourage that taste, and to aid in preserving existing monuments, this work was originated. But the publication may be found useful to some who take no concern in monumental affairs; to the student of Family History it will yield convenient assistance—while to those interested in the memorials of National History it will convey information otherwise inaccessible.

An absolutely complete work was scarcely to be attained. For his performance the author claims only such an approach to completeness as might be accomplished by unwearied diligence. His inquiries were commenced in 1861. In August of that year he addressed a circular letter, accompanied with a schedule, to the whole of the parochial clergy. A schedule was afterwards despatched to the parish schoolmasters. In the principal Scottish journals information has been repeatedly solicited. Local antiquaries have been addressed. A tour was prosecuted throughout the principal counties, including nearly every portion of the Lowlands. If the author has had frequently to regret that parochial functionaries have been unable to spare an hour or two in procuring information for a national work, and on a subject associated with the memory of their predecessors, he has on the other hand had occasion to rejoice in many intelligent and obliging coadjutors. For materials used in the present volume he has been under especial obligations to the Very Reverend Dean Ramsay. David Laing. Esq., LL.D., and John Alexander Smith, Esq., M.D., Edinburgh; William Euing, Esq., Glasgow; David Semple, Esq., Paisley; William McDowall, Esq., Dumfries; A. Campbell Swinton, Esq., of Kimmerghame; the Rev. John Struthers, Prestonpans; and Mr. Andrew Currie, sculptor, Darnick.

Every work bearing on the history of Scottish tombstones, and the various local and provincial histories have been examined; while the inscriptions and epitaphs contained in the collections of Monteith and others have been carefully utilized. Of modern publications none has proved more useful than Dr. Hew Scott's "Fasti Ecclesis Scoticanre," a work which in minute and accurate details of ecclesiastical biography is altogether unrivalled. For greater convenience of reference an index is appended to each volume.

Snowdoun Villa,
Lewisham, S.E.,
September, 1871.

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