NS9886 : Sir George Bruce Monument, Culross Abbey

taken 9 years ago, near to Culross, Fife, Great Britain

Sir George Bruce Monument, Culross Abbey
Sir George Bruce Monument, Culross Abbey
Grand Renaissance monument for Sir George Bruce of Carnock, his wife and eight children. The family burial vault was added to the church in 1642.

Bruce built his fortune on the exploitation of coal, using a pioneering method of extraction in the shape of the Moat Pit, which resembled in principle the cast-iron caissons used later in history to sink bridge piles into river beds.

"But I taking my leave of Dumfermeling, would needs goe and see the truely noble knight, Sir George Bruce, at a towne called the Cooras. There he made mee right welcome, both with varietie of fare, and after all he commanded three of his men to direct mee to see his most admirable cole-mines, which (if man can or would worke wonders) is a wonder. (Ö) The mine hath two wayes into it, the one by sea and the other by land: but a man may goe into it by land, and return the same way if he please; and so he may enter it by sea, and by sea he may come forth of it. But I for varieties sake went in by sea and out by land. Now men may object, how can a man goe into a mine, the entrance of it being into the sea, but that the sea will follow him and so drown the mine? To which objection thus I answer: That at low water, the sea being ebd away, and a great part of the sand bare, upon the same sand (being mixed with rockes and cragges) did the master of this great worke build a round circular frame of stone, very thick, strong, and joyned together with glutinous or bitumous matter, so high withall that the sea at the highest flood, or the greatest rage of storm or tempest, can neither dissolve the stones so well compacted in the building or yet overflow the height of it. Within this round frame (at all adventures) hee did set workemen to digg with mattakes, pickaxes, and other instruments fit for such purposes. They did dig forty foot downe right into and through a rocke. At last they found that which they expected, which was sea-cole. They following the veine of the mine, did dig forward still; so that in the space of eight-and-twenty or nine-and-twenty yeeres, they have digged more then an English mile under the sea, that when men are at worke belowe, an hundred of the greatest shippes in Britaine may saile over their heads. Besides, the mine is most artificially cut like an arch or a vault all that great length, with many nookes and by-wayes; and it is so made, that a man may walk upright in the most places, both in and out. (Ö) The sea at certaine places doth leake or soak into the mine, which, by the industry of Sir George Bruce, is all conveyed to one well neere the land, where he hath a device like a horse-mill, that with three horses and a great chaine of iron, going downeward many fadomes, with thirty-six buckets fastened to the chaine, of the which eighteene goe downe still to be filled, and eighteene ascend up to be emptied, which doe emptie themselves (without any manís labour) into a trough that conveyes the water into the sea againe, by which means he saves his mine, which otherwise would be destroyed with the sea; besides, he doth make every weeke ninety or a hundred tunnes of salt, which doth serve most part of Scotland, some he sends into England, and very much into Germany: all which shows the painfull industry, with God's blessing to such worthy endeavours." -- John Taylor, alias, the King's Majesties Water-Poet 1618

Despite Taylor's optimism regarding the robustness of the structure, the pit had to be abandoned several years later when the workings were flooded during a violent storm in 1625.
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NS9886, 88 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Monday, 14 May, 2012   (more nearby)
Friday, 18 May, 2012
Geographical Context
Religious sites 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 9889 8625 [10m precision]
WGS84: 56:3.5027N 3:37.5152W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 9889 8625
View Direction
EAST (about 90 degrees)
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