- Earlier burial grounds
- St Serf's Church
- The Parish Churchyard
- Watching the dead
- The oldest stones
- Reduction in size
- Surviving memorials
- West Bridgend
- Dumbarton Cemetery
- Closing the parish churchyard
- Handing over the cemetery
- The location
- A selection of memorials
- Local historians
- Shipbuilding and other industries
- Doctors and surgeons
- Sculptors and architects
- Societies and fraternities
- Other memorials
- The future
|The main entrance of the cemetery.|
Dumbarton Cemetery was formally opened in October of 1854. This article describes the town's older burial grounds, the closure and gradual diminution of the parish churchyard, and the events and circumstances related to the creation of the new cemetery. Some of the historic memorials are discussed and pictured.
Much of this article is based on Donald MacLeod's "The God's Acres of Dumbarton", a work that is long out of copyright, but to which few modern readers will have access. For this reason, I have chosen to put the text of present article into the public domain (note that the images within it are licensed under different terms).
the ruins of St Serf's Church in what is today Levengrove Park.
This area was originally part of the parish of Cardross, and St Serf's was then the parish church; however, the parish boundaries have changed, and the area is today part of the town of Dumbarton. For the most part, the history of the church itself is not relevant to the present discussion, but it is worth noting the burial here of the viscera of King Robert the Bruce in June of 1329, as recorded by a plaque beside the ruins. (Robert's heart was buried at Melrose Abbey, and his body at Dunfermline Abbey.)
|(left) Ruins of St Serf's.|
(right) Plaque: Robert the Bruce.
The church is located near an old well, Shear's Well, which is now represented only by an old water pump (in 1714, a pipe was laid across the bed of the River Leven to conduct the water from here to serve Dumbarton's town well, but as the town later grew, that supply would prove insufficient).
There was formerly a cluster of buildings around the church; these made up the clachan of Under Kirkton. Even after a new parish church was built (elsewhere) in the mid-seventeenth century, a few burials continued to take place here at the ruins of St Serf's. By 1888, there were still one or two people who could recall interments taking place here within their own lifetime.
The Dixon family acquired this area in 1805, and they built Levengrove House (which is now long gone) nearby. About 1820, they lifted up the old gravestones that were beside the ruined church, before ploughing up that burial ground. As a result, only a couple of the earlier stones survive. They are located within the ruined church; one of them is marked with a shield and cross, and is shown below. The other old stone is located beside it; even in the late nineteenth century, only a few words of its inscription were legible.
The Dixons used the ruined church as their own mausoleum; inside the eastern gable, they fastened some marble tablets commemorating various members of their family (in the above view of the ruined church, the eastern gable is at the far end). However, their own family gravestones did not escape destruction. In the nineteenth century, some children managed to get into the ruined church, and, wanting smaller pieces to play with, they broke up the marble tablets.
Aside from the two earlier surviving stones, already mentioned, there are half a dozen stones within the church that date from the Dixons' era (some of them may be fragments of the smashed marble tablets). Several have text on top, e.g., "JD 1832", "JD 1838", and "AK 1851". The JDs are presumably Dixons, but the AK stone (which is illustrated below) is thought to commemorate a certain Ann Knox, a relative of the Dixons; the Knoxland area of Dumbarton is perhaps named after that family (see Memorial to Robert Buchanan for more on that subject).
|(left) The AK stone.|
(right) Old gravestone marked with shield and cross.
About 1885, Major Robert Dixon erected a large red granite slab within the east gable of the ruined church; it can be seen on the end-wall in a view of the ruins. Its inscription commemorates several members of the family; the stone also bears the Dixon coat-of-arms and the family motto.
The ruins of the church are located within what were once the extensive grounds of Levengrove House. In 1885, these lands were presented to the town as Levengrove Park, the gift of Peter Denny and John McMillan.
The churchyard used to be considerably larger, extending southwards as far as the River Leven on one side; it also extended further (about ten or twelve feet) westwards into what is now Church Place; and further to the north, where it was bounded by a line of houses called Beggar Row.
When the present parish church was built (on the site of several earlier ones) in 1811, the northern boundary wall was shifted three feet to the south. In February 1880, a few more feet were taken from the northern side of the churchyard.
Long ago, the churchyard appears to have been treated with little respect. Donald MacLeod, writing in 1888, says that, in the past, young children would make a game of trying to get around the churchyard without touching the grass, by hopping from one flat stone to another; older children would settle disputes here with fisticuffs, these fights being conducted according to strict rules. It is even said that cock-fighting took place in the churchyard.
The burial ground was under the management of the Kirk Session, but its day-to-day care was left largely to the sexton and his assistants. It eventually became extremely overcrowded (see the start of the section entitled Proposals, below).
Despite the watch that was kept on the churchyard, a grave was robbed here in 1830. The body was that of a man who had been a patient, with an uncommon disease, at the Infirmary in Glasgow, and suspicion therefore fell on the city's medical students. It was said that the robbers had marked the new grave before dark by scattering herring scales on it (these were supposed to emit a ghostly glow in the dark). Later, another body was taken, that of an 80-year-old woman who had also been a patient at the Infirmary in Glasgow (suspicion once again fell on medical students), but the offence was not discovered until six years after the original burial, when the grave was opened for another interment, and was found to contain only an empty coffin.
What is evidently the oldest surviving stone is one that is about 6 feet long by 2½ feet broad, and which was found in about the 1870s, two feet below ground level. Carved on it is a cross, with a sword hanging from one of its arms. It was found near the spot where the high altar of the pre-Reformation church would have stood, and it seems to have been part of a flagged passageway. The stone was perhaps associated with a crusader, or with the son or other relative of a crusader. The crusader stone is not displayed in the parish churchyard, but a small photograph of it appears on page 17 of "Historic Dumbarton: The Scottish burgh survey" (1999; Dennison/Coleman).
The next oldest stone was found under the floor of the church in the nineteenth century; it was made of sandstone, and measured about 3 feet long by 1½ feet wide; it bore the inscription "HERE LYES / JAMES SMOLL/ET, SON TO / TOBIAS SMOL/ET; OF BONLL / WHO DEPAIR/TED THIS LIFE / THE 23 IVNE 1698". The Tobias Smollett mentioned here is not the better known author of that name, who was from Renton, and who was born at Dalquhurn House; however the two are related. The Tobias mentioned on this stone was the eldest son of Sir James Smollett of Bonhill, and was Provost of Dumbarton from 1696 to 1704. Some time after its discovery, the stone was built into the east wall of the churchyard. In 1972, when much of the churchyard was to be cleared away, the James Smollett stone was reclaimed by the Smollett family and was removed from the churchyard.
below). The council would later take advantage of this closure to widen the adjacent Castle Street. This attracted much local opposition, but the work was carried out by night, in February of 1880; navvies cleared away the graves from the relevant part of the churchyard, dismantled the northern boundary wall, and then rebuilt it in its present position.
In 1910, the shipbuilder Archibald McMillan, whose shipyard was adjacent to the churchyard, was given permission to purchase part of its land; he expanded his shipyard into that area, taking space from the churchyard's southern side, after which he built a new southern boundary wall for it. (McMillan's own memorial is illustrated below.)
In 1972, much of what was left of the burial ground was cleared away to make space for the church halls that now stand there. Before that work began, the approximately 170 gravestones were photographed, and had their inscriptions recorded. This survey took place in 1969, and the resulting records are reproduced in "Dumbarton Parish Church in History" (see References, at the end of this article). The same work notes that, at the time of its writing (after the church halls had been built), there remained only 18 memorial stones, with three more below ground level. One stone that had been missed during the 1969 survey was found later, when ivy was cleared from a wall; it is the Drysdale Memorial, which is shown below.
|(left, middle) Dumbarton Riverside Parish Church.|
(right) The Drysdale Memorial. Romeo Drysdale was Master Gunner at nearby Dumbarton Castle.
monument in Dumbarton Cemetery commemorates his son John McMillan senior, and his grandson John McMillan junior; it is illustrated later in this article). Also shown below is the gravestone of Janet McIntyre. A few more stones are located in a little passage behind the church halls; among them is the gravestone, now mostly buried, of John Aroll, a schoolteacher who was murdered.
There are some separate lairs adjoining the main body of the churchyard to the east, one being the Napier Vault, the burial place of Robert Napier, engineer and shipbuilder; the other lair, which was originally that of the Campbells of Barnhill, now contains the gravestones of John Brown, who was responsible for building Dumbarton Bridge, and of James Oliphant, who was the minister of Dumbarton Parish Church, now called Dumbarton Riverside Parish Church.
|(left) Archibald McMillan.|
(middle) Janet McIntyre.
(right) John Aroll.
|(left) The Napier Vault.|
(middle) John Brown.
(right) James Oliphant.
An illustration of the Janet McIntyre stone also appears in Donald MacLeod's "Dumbarton: Ancient and Modern" (1893). Of the old stones that are no longer present, he notes (in another work) that, in addition to the usual symbols of mortality, one of their number was further adorned with scissors and a tailor's goose; he does not give the name, but the 1969 survey of the gravestones shows that it belonged to "Patrick Young, taylor", who died in March 1716.
third church building, which opened in 1888, is still in use, and is now called the West Kirk. The second church building, which opened in 1860, stands beside it, and now serves as church halls.
As for the associated burial ground, it was still present in 1969, when it was surveyed by John F Mitchell and Sheila Mitchell for the Scottish Genealogy Society (whose published records of pre-1855 monumental inscriptions here and elsewhere are very useful for research purposes). Since then, it has been almost entirely cleared away. All that remains are the Buchanan Memorial and MacAuslan Memorial. A War Memorial (First World War) that stands nearby was brought here from Dalreoch Church, which has since been demolished (its congregation was merged with that of West Bridgend; both now use the present-day West Kirk); the original West Bridgend congregation's own War Memorial (also for the First World War) is located inside the West Kirk. Although they were originally located beside different churches, the two war memorials were presented at the same time, in October of 1921.
There would clearly be need for additional burial ground at some point. As it was, plans for the creation of a new cemetery for Dumbarton were to originate with William Denny, a member of a famous Dumbarton shipbuilding family (the family will be described below). The ideas took shape in the course of informal discussions William was engaged in at the offices of his brother Archibald Denny's shipbuilding yard at the Churchyard (i.e., the same location that would later be occupied by Archibald McMillan's shipyard).
A company would be formed in order to pursue this project. William's brother Peter Denny would become the largest shareholder in that company, which was established at a meeting convened by Peter (who was then Provost of the Burgh) in the Court-hall, Dumbarton, on the 25th of April, 1853.
Land, extending to "11 acres, 7 poles, imperial measure", was feued from Alexander Smollett of Bonhill, at £52 10s 9d per annum (during the twentieth century, the cemetery was expanded to include some more land to the north). The area was laid out according to plans prepared by Mr Stewart Murray, and the work was supervised by him. Murray was also involved in laying out Paisley's Woodside Cemetery (1845), Greenock Cemetery (1846), Glasgow's Sighthill Cemetery (1840), and the Glasgow Necropolis (1833). (Note that Greenock Cemetery is the subject of an article of its own; see that article for more on Stewart Murray.)
|Woodside Cemetery||Greenock Cemetery||Sighthill Cemetery||Glasgow Necropolis|
The cost of the cemetery had been estimated at £700, but amounted to £300 more. The new cemetery was formally opened on the 4th of October, 1854. However, by special arrangement, one burial had already taken place: that of Mr William Denny, whose idea the new cemetery had been. He had died on the first of July of that same year, and was buried shortly thereafter.
Although the cemetery was now complete, the transition from burials in the old parish churchyard would not be smooth.
Even though the parish churchyard was overcrowded, not all lairs were equally affected, and, as noted above, most people had a natural desire to be buried with their forebears. The proprietors of the new cemetery saw that this situation might continue almost indefinitely, and took legal steps to have the old parish churchyard closed.
On the one hand, the old churchyard was, as a whole, much too full (see Proposals, above). On the other hand, all of those petitioning to have the old churchyard closed were shareholders in the cemetery company, which, up to this point, had been running at an annual loss; the closure of the old churchyard would certainly improve its chances of becoming a profitable venture. Some who owned lairs in the old churchyard joined forces with other interested parties in order to oppose the closure (these opponents numbered about 200 in total).
On the 24th of January, 1856, a petition was lodged, asking the Sheriff of the counties of Dumbarton and Bute to order the closure of the parish churchyard on the grounds that its state was a danger to health, offensive, and contrary to decency.
The Sheriff set Wednesday the 13th of February of that year as the date for the court of inquiry into these matters to begin. It would open at 11 o'clock, at the Court-hall, Dumbarton; the Sheriff also specified the particular newspaper issues in which the place and time of the hearing were to be advertised beforehand. The inquiry itself consisted of ten lengthy sittings.
On the 28th of March, 1856, the Sheriff (Robert Hunter) gave his judgement: he stated that he found that the petitioners had proved their allegations that the state of the churchyard was in a state dangerous to health, and offensive or contrary to decency. In a note appended to this he stated that "there must always be a marked difference of opinion as to what 'offence to decency' involves, but he holds that in the case of Dumbarton churchyard the existence of such offensiveness is clearly proved, ..."; he concluded that, even aside from the danger to health, the offensiveness or contrariness to decency of the parish churchyard was such "that the continuance of it in its present state as an authorised place of interment is wholly inadmissible".
The judgement was forwarded to the Home Secretary, who subsequently issued a notice that interments should cease in Dumbarton Churchyard after the 31st of December, 1856.
[That order did not apply to the separate burying places to the east of the churchyard, separate from it though communicating with it by gates, namely, the Napier Vault, and the enclosure that now contains the gravestones of John Brown and James Oliphant (those gravestones were illustrated earlier in this article). Interments were still permitted for at least one generation in those vaults; see the note on page 135 of Joseph Irving's "The Book of Dumbartonshire" (1879), Volume 2.]
The case incurred considerable legal fees, which were paid by Provost Peter Denny.
Naturally, the strong feelings that had been roused did not subside with the conclusion of this legal case, and some residents of Dumbarton, denied the prospect of being buried with their family or forebears, expressed a preference that they be buried in other cemeteries, rather than in the newly-created Dumbarton Cemetery. For example, Archibald Fergusson (a painter and town councillor), William McFarlane (a grocer), and Robert Lang (who had worked in a coalmasters' firm) were buried in the kirkyard of Alexandria Old Parish Church, while Lieutenant John Maxwell (an ex-bailie of the burgh) was buried in Rhu [Donald MacLeod, "Historic Families ... of the Lennox" (1891), page 111].
"The Chronicles of Gotham":
As a background to these controversies, it should be noted that there was an underlying rivalry at work in Dumbarton at that time. One group was led by a self-styled "Party of Progress": those who were prominent in local industry, and who were in favour of various improvement projects (this group included the Denny family and their friends). An opposing group was made up of those who were concerned about the consequences, namely, an added burden in the form of increased rates; they consisted largely of men who carried on traditional trades and small-scale business, and the "Party of Progress" sometimes referred to them collectively as "the Old Fogies". The leader of this opposition group was the tanner John Latta [see pages 71-72 of I.M.M.MacPhail's "Dumbarton Through the Centuries" (1972)]. These opponents would find a voice when a new newspaper called the Dumbarton Chronicle (not to be confused with the Dumbarton Herald) was started in 1857.
The Chronicle proved to be fairly short-lived, but one of its features was "The Chronicles of Gotham", a series of articles that recounted various happenings in local civic life. These articles, which are thought to be largely the work of Alexander Babtie (whose brother would later become Provost of Dumbarton), adopted a mock-Biblical style, and used cryptic names for the people being discussed. The Dennys ("the Gothamites") and their friends were the main targets, but others were also mocked, including the clergy ("the tribe of Levi") and the local police ("the tribe of Lazy", or "pegs"). These articles would eventually be collected and published in book form. The "Gothamites" tried to get hold of and destroy as many copies of the book as they could, but a few of them remain in existence.
The title "The Chronicles of Gotham", the writing style, and many of the cryptic names employed in the book were borrowed from another work that had recently been published: "The Chronicles of Gotham; or, the Facetious History of Official Proceedings" (c.1856). The latter had been published in Glasgow, and was about that city, but the two works were very similar in intent as well as in style (the use of Gotham as a cryptic name goes back much further in time, and it originally referred to a real village of that name in Nottinghamshire). For more on the matters discussed here, see page 70 of I.M.M.MacPhail's book "Lennox Lore" (1987). In my own opinion, the Glasgow version of "The Chronicles of Gotham" was, as a work of literature, far better; the writer is comfortable with the style, and the result is irreverent but witty. The Dumbarton version, in contrast, is very much an imitation, and it lacks the charm and wit that makes the original Glasgow version such an entertaining read. However, literary merits aside, the book is a valuable record of the controversies and social tensions of its day.
Much of the present article is based on the works of the historian Donald MacLeod (on whom, see below). In the interests of balance, it should be pointed out that he was firmly on the side of the "Party of Progress" in these various controversies (he had been a hatter by trade, and receives notice in "The Chronicles of Gotham" as "Donald the Helmet Maker"). MacLeod's honesty in his coverage of these matters is not in question. However, it should be borne in mind when reading his accounts of these proceedings that he was not an impartial observer; he was personally involved in some of these events.
Garshake Road on the south-east, and by the housing estate of Bellsmyre on the remaining sides. The cemetery's main entrance is at the junction of the main road and Garshake Road, which is also the eastern end of Round Riding Road.
At the time when the cemetery was created, Round Riding Road was referred to as Roundredding Road.
Stoneyflat farm was located where the memorial of William Denny now stands (Stoneyflatt Road in nearby Bellsmyre preserves its name).
Therefore, in addition to his being the first person to be buried in the cemetery, it turns out that William Denny now rests in the very same place where an ancestress of his, a certain Margaret Denny, used to live: in the kirkyard of Dumbarton Parish Church, there used to be a gravestone commemorating "Patrick Brock, in Stonieflet" (died 23rd December 1742) and his wife Margaret Denny (died 28th February 1781).
An aside on these place names:
Working back in time, John Ainslie's 1823 map shows these names as Stonyflat, Garshake, and RoundReddan, respectively. Roy's Military Survey of Scotland (1740s-50s) has Stonnyflet(?) and Roundreddin. The Pont/Blaeu map of the Lennox, which was published in 1654, but which was based on surveys carried out in the 1580-90s, shows Stonyflet, Garshoak, and Barundridain, a name that is presumably connected with the later Roundreddin, etc., and with the modern name of Round Riding Road. A 1609 charter by King James VI mentions Stoneflat and Gortshavock (that form of the name more clearly reflects its original meaning: see Garshake); it also uses the names Rindredding and Roundredding.
The element "-flett" occurs in several local names: (1) Stoneyflett, already mentioned; (2) Corsflett (later Corslet and Crosslet); and (3) Pillanflett. The Smollett family were, at one time, feudal superiors of all three of those lands; see page 119 of "Ancient Records of Dumbarton / Ancient Records of Glasgow" (1896).
|(left) Donald MacLeod.|
(right) Joseph Irving.
Walter Brock, named on the Brock Memorial, was prominent in local industry; he became the head of Denny and Brothers (shipbuilders) and of Denny and Company (engineers).
|(left) The McMillan Monument.|
(right) The Brock Memorial.
The Dennys of Braehead were also prominent in Dumbarton's shipbuilding industry. They seem to have had a long presence in the area; as early as 1375, a Gilmor de Denny was recorded as one of the bailies of Dumbarton. Their association with the local shipbuilding industry began with William Denny, first of the Woodyard. He was the third son of John Denny of Townend and of Agnes Lang. He learned ship carpentry, and was, for several years, the manager of McLachlan's shipbuilding business, which was based at the Woodyard. He married Christian McIntyre, and the couple had four daughters and seven sons. Their sons were, in order, John, James, Robert, William, Alexander, Peter, and Archibald. Memorials for four of those brothers (William, Archibald, James and Peter) are shown below. Memorials for many other members of the extended family can be found in the same area; other relatives are commemorated by tablets attached to the Denny Family Mausoleum.
|(left, right) William Denny, second of the Woodyard, originated the plan for the creation of Dumbarton Cemetery, and he was the first person to be buried in it.|
|(left) Archibald Denny, the youngest of the brothers.|
(right) James Denny.
|(left, right) The Helenslee Family Memorial commemorates the family of Peter Denny of Helenslee; he is also commemorated by a statue in front of Dumbarton's Municipal Buildings.|
|(left, right) The Denny Family Mausoleum.|
The Dennys of Castlegreen were also active in the local shipbuilding industry; they were not closely related to the Dennys of Braehead, although there was a more distant relation between the two families. Peter Denny of Castlegreen was the "Denny" of the shipbuilding firm Denny and Rankin (like his namesake, Peter Denny of Helenslee, he would become the Provost of Dumbarton). Daniel Rankin was his business partner, the "Rankin" of Denny and Rankin. John Tulloch was partner with Peter Denny of Helenslee (not of Castlegreen) and with John McAusland, in the engineering firm Tulloch, Denny and McAusland. John McAusland was the son of a ropemaker, Daniel McAusland, whose memorial is located near the entrance of the cemetery (it is pictured later in this article).
|(left) Dennys of Castlegreen.|
(middle) Daniel Rankin.
(right) John Tulloch.
From this point onwards, see the captions accompanying the images. Click on the images for larger views, and for much more information.
|(left) Robert Ritchie, foreman engineer.|
(middle) Andrew McGaan, partner in the Dennystown Forge Company.
(right) Samuel Brewer, foreman engineer.
|(left) The Independent Order of Oddfellows (Manchester Unity) was an early arrival in the area.|
(middle) Commemorating the opening of the Pride of Leven Lodge of Ancient Shepherds.
(right) For John McKechnie; erected by Dumbarton Kilwinning Lodge of Freemasons No 18. Compare the inscription on John Brown's gravestone, mentioned earlier in this article.
|(left) The Campbells of Barnhill included Alexander Campbell of Barnhill (Sheriff-Substitute of Renfrewshire), Humphrey Walter Campbell of Crosslet (Sheriff-Substitute of Dumbartonshire), and Neil Colquhoun Campbell (Sheriff of Ayrshire); the family was connected by marriage to the Mackenzies of Caldarvan and the Whites of Overtoun (see next row).|
(middle, right) Those commemorated by the Risk Family Memorial include William Risk and his son James Blair Risk, both of whom became Provost of Dumbarton.
|(left) The Whites of Overtoun included the industrialist James White, and his son John Campbell White, who became the first (and only) Lord Overtoun (see Overtoun House).|
(middle) The Bennett Memorials commemorate Samuel Bennett (a newspaper proprietor and editor who became Provost of Dumbarton) and his brother Thomas.
(right) John Proudfoot prospered in business in South America.
|(left) Dumbarton F.C. goalkeeper Joshua H Wilkinson died as the result of injuries received when playing against Rangers at Ibrox in 1921.|
(middle) The Jackson Memorial mentions the Gretna Rail Disaster of 1915.
(right) The gravestone of Talwin Morris was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Talwin lived at Dunglass Castle from 1893 to 1899. He designed the Blackie Family Memorial in Glasgow Necropolis.
|(left) John Latta, a tanner by trade, was a Town Councillor, and served as the Council's Treasurer. He was a man with strong religious and political views.|
(middle) Daniel McAusland, ropemaker; just inside the cemetery's main entrance. John Tulloch, mentioned earlier, was a business partner of Daniel's son John McAusland.
(right) Robert Glassford Mitchell, Procurator Fiscal of Dumbartonshire.
|(left) The Ewings (latterly, the Crum Ewings) of Strathleven (formerly called Levenside). See also the memorial to James Ewing in Glasgow Necropolis.|
(middle, right) Janet Rankin was the daughter of the shipowner William Rankin.
|(left) William Whyte, Dumbarton councillor and shipowner.|
(middle, right) The Memorial Fountain. Intended as a war memorial, this fountain was the gift of the London-Dumbartonshire Association.
|(left) John Denny, Town Clerk. Jointly succeeded by his son Alexander Denny and by his son-in-law Alexander Allan.|
(middle) Alexander Denny, Town Clerk. John's eldest son.
(right) Alexander Allan, Town Clerk. Brother-in-law of Alexander Denny, and joint successor, with him, of John Denny.
|(left) Isaac Barrett, minister of Skirling Free Church for twenty-seven years.|
(middle, right) The Babtie Memorials. William Babtie senior was Dean of Guild, and a partner in the Dumbarton Steamboat Company. His son William became Dean of the Faculty of Writers, and Procurator Fiscal for the county.
|(left) The Emma Bresciani memorial has a Latin inscription.|
(middle) The Rocchiccioli Memorial (c.1921).
(right) The Kirk Family Memorial, a Gothic spire, commemorates Robert Kirk (Manager of Dumbarton Gas Works), James Kirk (spirit merchant and bailie of the burgh), and others.
|(left) John Buchanan, a glue manufacturer by trade, Town Councillor, and Provost.|
(middle) George Burns, Justice of the Peace and Honorary Sheriff-Substitute of Dumbartonshire.
(right) Donald Cameron, Water Manager and Harbour Superintendent at Dumbarton.
|(left) James Davidson, a tanner by trade, often served on the Town Council as a representative of the merchant burgesses.|
(middle) John Hetherton, candle-maker.
(right) The cross is the memorial of Allan MacLean, wine and spirit merchant. The obelisk commemorates Allan's son-in-law and business partner Archibald Fraser Garvie, who became Provost of Dumbarton.
|(left) Thomas MacNeil, merchant and Provost of Dumbarton.|
(middle) The finely-sculpted memorial of the joiner Peter McGregor and his family.
(right) Roderick McKenzie, "an old disciple"; a brief record of an eventful life.
|(left, middle) The Allan Memorial, for James and Ralph Wylie Allan and their relatives.|
(right) The Cochran/MacFarlane Memorial pre-dates this cemetery. It was moved here from the Parish Kirkyard in 1911.
|(left) The memorial for James Boyd, a grocer at Dumbarton's West Bridgend, was sculpted by Charles Benham Grassby.|
(middle) For Sheriff William Cuninghame Steele and his family.
(right) The Ward Family Monument, a red granite obelisk erected by John and Helen Ward.
This is a good point at which to acknowledge the efforts of those who work hard to maintain the cemetery, dealing with the damage wrought by (amongst other things) adverse weather, occasional storms, and the passage of time.
|(left) The northern margins of the cemetery's original extent.|
(middle, right) The newer part of the cemetery.
Garshake Water Works).
At the time the first version of the present article was completed (in November 2011), that project was still in its early stages, and construction of a new cemetery had not yet begun.
- "The God's Acres of Dumbarton" (1888, Donald MacLeod).
This was the most useful reference for the burial ground at St Serf's church, for the parish churchyard up to the time of publication, and, especially, for the history of the creation of Dumbarton Cemetery, and for the biographies of those buried there. No publication date appears in the book itself, but the date of 1888 which some have assigned to it appears to be correct: a table of the number of interments in Dumbarton Cemetery is given, year by year, complete up to the end of December 1887. The author would naturally bring this up to date at the end of writing; 1888 is therefore the probable year of publication.
- "Dumbarton: Its Recent Men and Events" (1898, Donald MacLeod).
This work provides biographies for some of those who died in the decade after "The God's Acres of Dumbarton" was written. It is also a useful guide to the events of that period.
- "Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) in Dumbartonshire" (1969, John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, for the Scottish Genealogy Society).
- "Dumbarton Parish Church in History".
This was originally written by Edward McGhie, but a later edition (2004) was fully revised and brought up to date by David Wilson. Although the churchyard is not the main subject of that work, it proved extremely useful for the history of the churchyard beyond the time period covered in MacLeod's book. The results of the 1969 survey of the memorial stones in the parish churchyard can be found here (as well as in the "Monumental Inscriptions" work cited above).
- "The Book of Dumbartonshire" (2nd volume, 1879, Joseph Irving).
Pages 134 and 135 touch briefly on the controversy surrounding to the closure of the parish churchyard, thus complementing the information given in MacLeod's book.