Strathaven Memorials

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Strathaven's Russian Princess

Strathaven Cemetery


 Memorials to Rev. William Proudfoot and Henry Walker.  
Photographs by Archie Watson, East Kilbride.

Rev. William Proudfoot

In 1821, William Proudfoot was called to the parish. He was a native of Closeburn, Dumfrieshire, where he received his initiatory education, which was completed at the University of Edinburgh . . . He acquired, from the assiduity and affection with which the duties of his office were discharged, the designation of "The Poor Man's Friend," He married, in 1815, Henrietta, the daughter of Robert Forrester, Secretary to the Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh. She died 25th June 1857, Mr. Proudfoot having predeceased her on 26th November 1849, in the 65th year of his age, and the 36th of his ministry. Mr. Proudfoot published Exhortations to my People not to Secede; and An Account of the Parish in New Statistical Account 1835" Sketches of Strathavon and Avondale, Mary Gebbie, 1880. 

Henry Walker of Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland

On Sunday morning between 12 and 1 a.m. the office at the rear of Meadowbank House, Strathaven belonging to Mr. Fleming, Grazier, was discovered to be in flames. A farm servant named Henry Walker was known to be in bed in a loft above the boiler-house and means were taken at once to apprise him of his danger. No response was received and after the fire was extinguished his remains were found terribly charred some distance from his bed, as  if he had been trying to make his way out when overcome by smoke. The villagers turned out to render aid, but the office was entirely consumed. In the byre were seven cows and a bull. The bull made its way out badly burned. The cows were destroyed, together with a lamb, a valuable setter dog and a machine in an adjoining shed. The cows consumed were all highly priced. The loss is covered by an insurance. Much sympathy is expressed to the poor lad Walker. His master and acquaintances speak of him in the highest terms as a sober, industrious lad. He had lately joined the East U.P. Church, and was an Irishman. Hamilton Advertiser, 2 June 1883.

Strathaven Old Cemetery

Strathaven Old Cemetery contains some interesting 17th,18th and 19th century tombstones. The oldest visible is dated 1659, although others which have sunk with the passage of time could be earlier. Those of the Covenanting or 'Killing Times'  commemorate two martyrs executed within Strathaven Castle and William Dingwall who fell at the Battle of Drumclog. There are some mainly 18century symbol stones. Symbol stones depict the deceased's trade and/or skull and crossbones and winged angels. The skull and crossbones represent the power of death on man's mortality whereas the winged angels represent man's immortality with the winged spirit or soul overtaking the power of death. "Strathaven Old Graveyard is approximate to the site of the pre-reformation Chapel of St. Mary" (History of Strathaven and Avondale, W. Fleming Downie).

The author of the Third Statistical Account of the Parish (1835) Rev William Proudfoot, Minister of this Parish from 1821 - 1850 is also commemorated see memorial picture above. In recording burials; Rev. William Proudfoot states "The number of burials cannot be accurately stated, as they are not regularly recorded in the parish register. In 1829, 114; in 1830, 114: in 1831, 134: in 1832,199. (This season we were visited with Asiatic Cholera, of which 50 of our people died). In 1833: 156 and in 1834: 115."


Leiper Tombstone - Old New Graveyard: There have been Leiper's in Strathaven for centuries. These have important connections with the American War of Independence. Thomas Leiper born at Strathaven on 15 December, 1745, emigrated to America (1763) and settled in Philadelphia (1765). Thomas was one of the organisers of the First City Troop Philadelphia (1774). He saw action as fist sergeant of the Troop at Trenton, Princetown, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth and special service at Yorktown. Elected president of the Common Council, Philadelphia (1801-1805), (1808-1810) and 1812-1814) and constructed the first railroad in Pennsylvania (1809-1810). He was, for sixty years, actively successful in business as a merchant and manufacturer and honoured by his city and state for patriotic services and unselfish devotion to the cause of liberty and his country. He died at Philadelphia on 6 July, 1825, aged 80 years. His house in Philadelphia, a fine example of 'Federal Period' architecture (1785) named 'Avondale', situated on Avondale Avenue, off Route 252 above Crum Creek, Wallingford, Pennsylvania (where his stone quarry and mills were located) is preserved and maintained by the 'Friends of the Leiper House, Inc.,' and the township. 

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The tomb in Strathaven's Old Graveyard of the Barrie Family - Writer's in Strathaven - a legal practice established in  the 18th century continuous to the  20th century.

The ashes of Miss Margaret Barrie are interred here. Miss Barrie bequeathed to the former East Kilbride District Council the former Minister's Glebe at the junction of Threestanes and Lethame Road, and  'a cool million pounds' to The National Trust for Scotland, their biggest ever single bequest at that period of the latter 20th century. The Trust, in recognition of Miss Barrie's generosity chose to bestow the sum of 10,000 as a gift in support of  the work of Strathaven's Town Mill Project.                                                             

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George Allan only child of 
The Rev James Allan
Died 6th May 1887,
Aged 13 years & 4 months

"The Brighter Life The Longer Immortality."

Rev. James Allan, Minister in the former Quoad Sacra Church, Chapel Road resided at 'Beaconsfield', Crosshill Crescent built as the family's residence. Rev. and Mrs Allan's only child 'George' sustained fatal injuries while  playing a game of football. George died on Friday, 6 May, 1887 aged just 13 years. In perpetual memory of their son Rev. Allan bequeathed "a sum not exceeding 4,000 on the purchase of lands to be called "The George Allan Public Park" for the benefit of the inhabitants of the town of Strathaven and district. Rev. Allan's trustees were empowered to lay off and fence the park and allow such games (excluding football) as they deemed fit. A sum of money was invested and the interest used to maintain the park. The park, officially opened on Thursday, 26th June, 1902 (the Coronation Day of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra,  is now in the ownership of  South Lanarkshire Council.


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In 1818 one John Granger, 'Miller' died and was buried in Strathaven Old Graveyard. In 1879, one John Granger  a Wholesale and Retail Ham, Grain, Cheese, Tea, Wine and Spirit Merchant is recorded as trading at Waterside Street, Strathaven. These are the graves across three 'breads' or breadths or lairs of the Granger's of Strathaven. Note: Mr. A.P. Corse-Scott, New Zealand traces his family tree back to Lilias Granger of Strathaven who married Thomas Kerr of Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire who sailed as migrants from Liverpool aboard SS 'Hornet' on 29 July, 1854 bound for Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

Memorial to James 'Purlie' Wilson - Weaver in Strathaven

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James Wilson, Weaver, was a political Radical who lived at Piper Row, now Castle Street, Strathaven. Wilson is credited with having invented the purl-stitch that earned him the nick-name 'Purlie'. During the political unrest of the mid-19th century he was a supporter of the people's cause. A Radical Rising occurred in 1820 at which time Wilson and his supporters were infiltrated by Government agents and tricked into marching to Cathkin Braes in the belief that a large gathering there would march on to Glasgow to demonstrate in support of Radical Reform. Before Wilson and his supporters reached Cathkin they were apprised of the true situation. He and his supporters fled but James Wilson was subsequently arrested as a ring leader, tried on a charge of High Treason and publicly hanged on Glasgow Green. His body was brought to Strathaven under cover of darkness and received a Christian burial behind his house. This significant memorial, raised by public subscription records these events and marks the spot on Castle Street where his house once stood. His grave within Strathaven Old Graveyards is now also marked.

Strathaven War Memorial

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Soldiers of WW1 on leave at
Sandknowe: Lesmahagow Road

Strathaven War Memorial on Kirk Hill (the top portion of which was bought by James Barrie, J.P. of Cullenpark, for the sum of 50 pounds from John Fleming of Meadowbank and presented to the town for the purpose) was erected by John Aiton, Builder, Strathaven, and unveiled on 3 June, 1922. The memorial  commemorates 'The Fallen' of two world wars". "An interesting contrast may be drawn between the price in human life paid during The Great War of 1914 - 18 and the toll exacted during 1939 and 1945. In the First World War local casualties numbered 102, and in the Second World War 31."  Modern Strathaven, With Peeps at its Past, p.73. John Brown, M.A. 






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