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'Register of Tombstones and Monuments in Dundee Burial Ground 1832'

Prior to the year 1832, there were no written records relating to the Howff, or Dundee burying ground except the Register of Interments which had been kept for a number of years, after and even up to the tear referred to (1832) in a very limited and imperfect manner. Shortly after the present Town council entered into office by an election under a poll warrant from the Crown, their attention was directed to the state of this general cemetery, and as the first measure, a ground plan, with all the erections distinctly marked and numbered, was drawn by James Sampson under the direction of the Towns architect and the Hospitalmaster. The principle under which this plan was laid down, was by commencing the first number at the south west entrance at Blackness aisle, running northward, in a straight line as the irregularity of the erections would allow, and the second running southwards as nearly parallel to the first as possible: and then turning northward again. The highest number being at the northeast corner of the ground. In order to preserve this principle all new erections are marked not by ascending numbers, but as number 2nd and 3rd of the number upon the nearest stone according as the line runs northwards or southwards. Example No 22, 22 no 2nd new erection 23, 24, 24 no 2nd new erection; ensuring by this means where the number of the stone is known, and a reference to the plan made, an easier and quicker knowledge of the spot required. The present register was then begun by carefully copying the numbers, dates of erection and name of the erector, as far was legible: and a short description of the stone when these particulars could not be deciphered. The name, profession, residence of the present claimants and connection with the first erector have been collected from various sources, but chiefly from Thomas Shepherd a sexton who has been in the ground for about 25 years, and whose statements wherever it was practicable, were compared with the statements made by the parties themselves.

In framing a register of this nature where the claims, and links of relationship upon which these claims were founded, could only be got from such sources, it was frequently difficult to fix upon the individual having the best right; But it has been the use and practice of the ground to hold the right as belonging not merely to the principle branch of the family ( as heritable property) but as shared in by the other branches of the family. The register has been framed upon this principle which being sanctioned by usage may also be justified from the limited extent of the ground for the population of the town, and also from the space that is allotted to each erection ( Six feet in breadth and seven in length) being in ordinary cases more than sufficient for the purpose of interments if confined to one family alone.

In the column of the register for observations epitaphs & all the Latin inscriptions as far as they were in any degree legible, or intelligible have been copied. The most part of the English ones prior to the year 1700; and a selection of the more modern ones, this though chiefly a matter of curiosity was also thought useful as perhaps in some cases tending to establish or let aside disputed claims.

Peter Dron


37 high Street

1st Nov 1833



Reproduced courtesy of Dundee City Archives.