Whilst looking at the Pictish Stone in this churchyard I had to take a look at the unusual headstones, including a series of tablestones.
I am always curious to see what symbols have been used on the headstones. Here the hourglass is used which symbolises a short life or swiftness of time. The cross and skulls as well as angel wings are common. But my favourite was the pressing iron and shears that indicate the grave was that of a tailor.
Sometimes the dates indicate some illness struck a family; above the two children died within a month of each other. The son only 4 days short of his 7th birthday and his sister not even 5½ years old. What illness struck them down? Measles? Smallpox? Influenza?
The grounds of this cemetery appear to be well looked after, the grass is short and the area around the stones is cleared, but it is sad to see some of the old headstones broken and discarded, some in piles, others propped up against the walls of the ruined church. Lichens and moss make some of them illegible.
A war grave stands proud in the cemetery. Though it too raises questions. How did the young soldier die? And what is 3/5th Black Watch? ¹
When we take such great care to protect one ancient stone (the Pictish Stone) we also need to protect stones that in the future would also relate our history.
Thursday Special | Traces of the Past
¹ 3/4th, 3/5th, 3/6th and 3/7th Battalions
Formed at home bases in March and April 1915. All moved to Bridge of Earn and later in 1915 to Ripon.
8 April 1916 : renamed 4th to 7th Reserve Bns; on 1 September 1916 4th absorbed all others.
Moved to Edinburgh in May 1918.
Whilst on the way to visit Glamis Castle in Scotland last year, we took the chance to stop off at Eassie Old Church which is about 2 miles away. There was a specific reason for doing so as it is the site of a Pictish Stone
The Eassie Cross Slab stands 2.02m high by 1.01m wide. It was found in the burn that flows past the churchyard in about 1850. Today it stands within the east end of the shell of the Old Parish Church, displayed within a transparent shelter which protects the stone from the weather. The front of the cross slab is largely covered by a very finely carved and detailed cross.
It is thought to have been carved in 700s or 800s.
The interior of the cross is filled with intricate interlaced patterns. In the four corners are a four-winged angel, mirrored in the opposite corner though this one is extensively damaged. At the bottom left is a hunter wearing a cloak and carrying a shield and a spear and opposite are a series of animals including a stag and a hound.
The rear side is more eroded and damaged, but several carvings can still be identified.
At the top left is a mythical beast ‘elephant’ and two disks along with a Z-rod. Both of these are Pictish symbols. Below this are three men in cloaks, knee-length tunics and carrying staffs. And below the men are three cows, one of which appears to be wearing a cow bell. Top right is another Pict wearing a tunic and carrying a staff or spear next to a potted tree. The bottom right is badly damaged but could contain a horseshoe in the centre.
Thursday Special | Traces of the Past
The only remains of St Andrew’s Old Kirk in North Berwick is a small white-harled stone building which stands just inland from the path to the Scottish Seabird Centre.
The first church was probably made of wood and was probably constructed by monks from the Abbey at Lindisfarne some time in the 600s. A later building was erected some time in the 1100s, but little of this is left other than low stone walls on the grass to the north of the only part remaining. Continue reading Black and White Sunday: Traces of the Past
This week Paula encourages us to consider the differences between taking a landscape or portrait format. What factors make you decide which way to go? Is it the lens on your camera that forces you into a particular format, or are you making a more conscious decision about what it is you want to portray and what is the best way to do that?
These two images are of the haunting bronze sculpture that I have featured before in black and white. The close-up landscape version(s) were deliberate compositions to focus on the detail of the women and children as they wait for their husbands and fathers to return from sea.The decision to take a portrait shot was based purely on the desire to capture the entire sculpture and show exactly how small these figures actually are.
I tend to take most of my photos in the landscape mode unless I am photographing something particularly tall like a building or a tree. Of course with editing software it is easy to change any photo into any size afterwards, so it is not always necessary to make the decision at the point of clicking the shutter. I think the most important decision you should make when taking that shot is whether you have thought about what it is you are trying to capture and have you considered carefully that this is the best composition. That helps you take a great shot rather than several mediocre ones when you simply ‘hope for the best’.
I am interested to hear your thoughts.
An imperfect photo? Surely not However the subject of this image was seriously flawed.
Thursday September 15th 2016: We deliberately meandered along the foggy shores of the Firth of Forth on our way to Edinburgh with the purpose of stopping in North Berwick and having seafood chowder or lobster bisque for lunch from the well-known Lobster Shack.
Mouths watering in anticipation we made our damp way to the harbour and then saw that the shutters were down. Gutted! Closed except for weekends.
Please visit Paula to see other representations of this week’s challenge.