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Burying Ground Antiquities.



'Story from Dundee Perth & Courier Advertiser April 5th 1833'

On Friday, one of the sextons, while digging a grave came to a leaden pipe, 5ft nine inches below the surface of the burying ground running almost north and south. Only a small part of it could be got out ; but sufficient was procured to show that it is of great age. It is corroded quite through in some places. What also shows its remote antiquity is, that there is no solder employed in the joining. The plates of lead of which it is composed are very irregular in thickness, and joined together both longitudinally and end-ways, by folding over and hammering. The pipe is in the highest state of preservation at the joining, being rendered hard by the action of the hammer. This rude pipe measures seven inches in circumference outside, and the inside is covered with stalactical encrustations. It was surrounded by a compact body of blue clay in a black loam, which shows that it had never been disturbed before by the operations of the sexton. As this burying ground was originally the site of a Monastery of Franciscan Friars and convent of the Grey Sisters of St Clare, founded about 1260, by Devorgilla, grandaughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon, and mother of John Baliol, this pipe was probably employed in conveying water to the Monastery and Convent from the consecrated well of St Francis, situate about nine hundred yards to the northward, through what was then gardens and orchards and afterwards made over by Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, about 1563 to the Magistrates and Council for a burying place. The ground must of been soon after employed as such, as there are sepulchral stones still remaining of date 1574, 1584, 1587, 1591, and 1594. There is a stone which appears to bear the date 1042, and is generally pointed out as the oldest in the ground ; but, to those aquainted with antiquity, it is evident, from the form of the letters, that the date really is 1642, the top of the 6 being mearly worn out ; besides, surnames were not introduced at the apparent date of the stone. The extent of this Monastery and Convent must have been considerable, as in every quarter of the Burying Ground, although occupying a space nearly four acres, the foundations of strong and thick walls are occasionally met with.




Reproduced courtesy of the Lamb Collection, copyright Dundee District Library.