Two stones, one flat, with a monogram, the other with fielded panels.
In memory of Robert Strachan, 1653
With his own arms on two shields marshalled with those of his two wives.
When improving the Howff in 1834 the sides of this monument were much decayed, but one of these were fragments of a Greek inscription which could not be deciphered, and on the other a Latin inscription.
"_____ΟΝ . ΔΕ . ΒΟΥΛΟΊΜΗΝ . ΑΝ . ΑΕΊΟΥΜΗΝΟΝ_____
____ΤΟΝ . ΕΜΟΝ . ΟRΑΣǾΑI. ΔIΑ .ΚRΟΥ____ΧΑΡΙS"
"Memoriae sacrum Jacobi Strachani. vir integerrimi qui obiit Anno Domini_____aetatis LXXV ja___illus in__eres___mors"
Source: The Book of the Howff, ©Libraries, Leisure and Culture Dundee, Local History Centre & is reproduced with kind permission.
Mr Edmund Faulkes, Teacher of Classics at the High School of Dundee very kindly tackled the above Greek inscription and has given permission to reproduce his explanation.
"I have worked it out – and garbled Greek it was - but this is the definitive Greek and the translation.
First the text should read :
[ΤΥΜΒ]ΟΝ ΔΕ ΒΟΥΛΟΙΜΗΝ ΑΝ ΑΞΙΟΥΜΕΝΟΝ
ΤΟΝ ΕΜΟΝ ΟΡΑΣΘΑΙ. ΔΙΑ [ΜΑ]ΚΡΟΥ [ΥΑΡ Η] ΧΑΡΙΣ
ΤΥΜΒΟΝ ΔΕ ΒΟΥΛΟΙΜΗΝ ΑΝ ΑΞΙΟΥΜΕΝΟΝ
ΤΟΝ ΕΜΟΝ ΟΡΑΣΘΑΙ. ΔΙΑ ΜΑΚΡΟΥ ΥΑΡ Η ΧΑΡΙΣ ".
(Unfortunately I do not have the required fonts within the editing software to display this correctly so have replaced the text with the above image).
"Clearly some of the letters were copied down incorrectly or were worn and it was clear that the copyist wasn’t totally familiar with the Greek alphabet. First text shows the letters I have altered in red. Second the inscription as it ought to be written, 3rd in lower case Greek letters.
It is taken from a play by Euripides the Hecuba lines 319-320.
It has a very suitable sentiment for a tombstone:
If it were me, I would not care if, when alive, I lived a poor man’s life, but when I die,
I would like my tomb to be seen more worthy. For this kindness means a lot.
The first line is the previous two lines of the play, the second line is the translation of the Greek on the tombstone".
Again, many thanks to Mr Faulkes for his translation as he has solved a mystery that has existed for over 180 years.
Hiere lyis an godly and verteous man named Robert Strachan wright burges of Dundie who departed this lyf the 28 of Apprill 1653 being of age 73 yeirs
Heir lyis ane godly and verteous man named Robert Strachan younger wright who departed this lyf the 15 day of Sept 1690 being of age 70
Here lyes Robert Meal taylor in Dundie who died February 3rd 1744 and of his age 57 years.
1653 Robert Strachan, wright.
Revised by Robert Meal taylor, Dundie in 1744
Source:Register of Tombs and Monuments in Dundee Burial Ground, 1832