NS3975 : The gravestone of John Brown

taken 11 years ago, near to Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain

The gravestone of John Brown
The gravestone of John Brown
This stone is the southernmost of three that are visible, behind a locked gate, in a private lair just to the east of a church hall associated with NS3975 : Dumbarton Riverside Parish Church. Located next to this stone is NS3975 : The gravestone of James Oliphant. The enclosure in which they are located was originally for the Campbells of Barnhill (see NS4076 : Memorial to the Campbells of Barnhill), to which family Oliphant was related by marriage.

John Brown is discussed in John Mitchell's article "John Brown: the master mason who built Drymen Bridge" in Scottish Local History magazine (issue 78, Spring 2010). The text on the stone is given in that article: "Here lies interred John Brown, Mason, late bailie in Dumbarton who died 17th May 1773 aged 59 years. He built the bridge here by order of government and likeways many other buildings for government through Scotland".

[The last part of the text on the stone says that it was "renovated in 1901 by D.K.L.18", a reference to Dumbarton Kilwinning Lodge no. 18; as alluded to in the title of the cited article, John Brown was a mason in more than one sense, and "weather-worn over time, the tombstone was renovated by the Dumbarton Lodge in 1901".]

Regarding the stone's present location, the article mentions that "when in 1972 the greater part of the parish kirkyard was cleared of its old gravestones to make room for ancillary church buildings, for safe keeping the memorial to the master mason was placed in one of the private lairs along the east perimeter wall". [See Link on the reduction in size of the kirkyard.]

Of John Brown, the text of the inscription says, "he built the bridge here", that is, in Dumbarton. That bridge was built in 1765, but has been modified several times since then: see NS3975 : Dumbarton Bridge. For further information about this bridge (and the other bridges that cross the River Leven), see LinkExternal link (by Gordon Burns, at the Vale of Leven website).

A few years later Brown built another bridge in Dumbarton, over NS4075 : Gruggies Burn.
Dumbarton Riverside Parish Church

The church was built from 1810-11 (architect John Brash), and stands on the site of the previous parish kirk. See its listed building report LinkExternal link (at Historic Environment Scotland) for an architectural description. The associated parish kirkyard was reduced in size several times, and much of what was left of it was cleared away in 1972 to make way for the present-day church halls. Only a few of its memorials remain; see Link for details.

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Grid Square
NS3975, 598 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Friday, 31 December, 2010   (more nearby)
Thursday, 6 January, 2011
Geographical Context
Burial ground, Crematorium 
Period (from Tags)
18th Century 
Gravestones   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3980 7518 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:56.5730N 4:34.0003W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3980 7518
View Direction
East-southeast (about 112 degrees)
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