NS4076 : Ancient Shepherds' Monument

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

Ancient Shepherds' Monument
Ancient Shepherds' Monument
This memorial is located within NS4076 : Dumbarton Cemetery, and commemorates both a person and an event. A large upper part is concealed by the trees; the monument has "a capital of cornice with shepherds' crook, etc, the whole being surmounted by a carved urn" ["The God's Acres of Dumbarton", Donald MacLeod, 1888]. The sculptor's name was Galloway.

Above the main inscription is the representation of an open Bible, with the words "Feed my lambs; feed my sheep", while the second of the three bases of the monument bears the word "Resurgam"; the latter, meaning "I shall rise again", is particularly common on gravestones.

The main inscription is shown in close-up in NS4076 : Ancient Shepherds' Monument (detail), but is reproduced here in order to make the information easier to locate. It reads as follows (spellings such as "brethern" are those used in the inscription): the monument was erected "to commemorate the opening at Dumbarton of the Pride of Leven Lodge of Ancient Shepherds A.U., The mother lodge of Scotland, on the 4th May 1868; and the Introduction of Shepherding into Scotland by brother David McCulloch P.P.C.S. who died 21st Feb'y 1871, aged 32 years, and to whose memory this stone has also been gratefully raised by the brethern. Erected A.D. 1882."

A.U. stands for Ashton Unity, and indicates where this organisation had its beginnings (Ashton-under-Lyne). It was a Friendly Society more specifically, a sickness and benefits club. At the time of writing, it survives though in modified form, and after some mergers as Shepherds Friendly, a mutual insurer. As for P.P.C.S., it stands for "Past Provincial Chief Shepherd".

The original purpose of the organisation is explained in part by the inscription on the left-hand side of this monument (again, the original spelling has been retained): "The brethern of the Pride of Leven Lodge have aquired the ground in front of this monument where members without relatives or in needy circumstances may rest after the battle of life has been finished".

Below this, on the uppermost base of the monument, is the society's motto, "Christus Noster Pastor".

Many societies of a similar nature sprang up in this area. The book "The Story of the Vale of Leven" (J.Agnew, 1976) mentions some of these, "the oldest being the masonic lodge in Renton, founded 1788, and the other in Bonhill in 1826. The Oddfellows (see NS4075 : The Oddfellows' Monument) established themselves next, followed by Shepherds, Good Templars, Gardeners, Foresters, and others. Mutual aid was one of their prime objects, and some advocated temperance or total abstinence. Others did not."
Dumbarton Cemetery

The cemetery was formally opened on the 4th of October, 1854, replacing the overcrowded parish churchyard. See the Geograph article "Dumbarton Cemetery" Link for a detailed discussion. For biographies of many of those buried here, and for descriptions of their memorials, see Donald MacLeod's "The God's Acres of Dumbarton" (1888), and the same author's "Dumbarton: Its Recent Men and Events" (1898). By 2010, there was concern that Dumbarton Cemetery would run out of space within a decade; New Dumbarton Cemetery Link was subsequently created uphill from the existing cemetery, and opened at the end of December 2015.

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Grid Square
NS4076, 149 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Tuesday, 15 February, 2011   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 23 February, 2011
Geographical Context
Burial ground, Crematorium 
Memorial > Memorial   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4093 7601 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:57.0425N 4:32.9452W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4093 7601
View Direction
East-northeast (about 67 degrees)
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Other Tags
Dumbarton Cemetery  Friendly Society 

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