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Selected Burial Grounds in Dundee, Scotland

On the weekdays 11th to 18th September 2006 Friends of Dundee City Archives arranged the following interesting tours, with the following information.
Open Doors to Heaven ~ Lunchtime Walks

Monday l1th September, Western Cemetery, Perth Road., 1 pm. Built as a commercial enterprise in 1845 and in the 1970's taken over by the Local Dundee Council, it has panels of biblical references at the entrance. Its splendid monuments include those of newspaper proprietors, shipyard owners and the ornate tomb in the classical style of Baron Armitstead of Castlehill.

Tuesday 12th September, Logie Cemetery, Lochee Road, 1pm. As hundreds of motorists drive past this cemetery each day, they give little thought that this ancient site dates back to a parish church in 1243.

<Extract from an old book>
<The webmaster understands that the Western boundary wall of this site formed part of the Eastern edge of the district of Lochee and the graveyard is not in Lochee>


 . . interested in such matters. Of the antiquity of the church and parish there cannot be any doubt. Whether the privilege of sepulture [the ritual placing of a corpse in a grave] was attached to it from the beginning or was accorded at a later date has not been ascertained. At all events,  apart . .

Logie Kirk - an impression

<Logie Churchyard, from the West>

. . from the the right, of interment, it is definitely known that the church of Logie was in existence in the twelfth century. It is probable it might have been erected in the time of King Edgar; who died in Dundee on 10th January 1106, after, writes Thomson, " a peaceable  reign of nine years." There is, however, a certainty that Logie had a habitation and name in the reign of Edgar's brother and immediate successor, Alexander I, who ascended the Throne 1107, and who shortly . .


thereafter., as stated by several chroniclers, made a gift of the Church and its lands to a great ecclesiastical house. Jervise, a most reliable writer, says that., "like the kirks of Liff and Invergowrie, 'Logyn-Dundho'  was given to the Abbey of Scone by Alexander I. In the diocese of St.Andrews, it was dedicated by Bishop David [Bernham] in 1243" The name of the patron saint, if ever it was so honoured, has passed into oblivion. Neither have we a record of the style of architecture, the dimensions of the structure, nor the names of the clergymen who were the earliest, or amongst the earliest, to conduct the devotions of the period within its walls. The services probably were maintained by successive readers or lay brothers belonging either to some of the churches in the burgh or to the Abbey. It was not till 1551 that the name of a clergyman associated with the church is mentioned. As a centre of religious thought, even on the limited scale peculiar to those times, Logie Church does not appear to have been deemed of much importance. The value of Logie, such as it was, lay no doubt in its lands and pertinents. These were extensive, and as they were contiguous to, and, in some instances, formed part of the ancient burgh, their worth, as time went on, became enhanced. Before the Reformation, and some time after, Logie remained intact; and an idea of its extent as an estate and parish may be gathered front the fact that it embraced within its bounds the estates of Blackness, Balgay, a large portion of Dudhope, and property extending as far as Constitution Road, Barrack Street, West Port, and Park Place. The church for a very lengthened period was mensal, its emoluments having been granted to the See of Brechin to assist in maintaining the table of the Bishop. When this gift was made, and by whom, like everything relating to its early affairs, is not known. From the date of dedication in 1243 till 1551 . . .

<Extract from an 1869 document - a court report of the conditions at the burial ground>

. . Parochial Board, was the first witness. He was of opinion that the ground was quite full ; that It would be dangerous to health, offensive and contrary to decency to use it further. Buildings were now in the immediate neighbour-hood, and the inhabitants complained of very offensive smell.
Dr. Cocks deponed to the following certificate which he had made out, being his opinion of the ground:-

Dundee. September 24, 1869.

Having recently examined the Logie Burying Ground, I consider its condition eminently dangerous to health, more especially to that of the population in its immediate vicinity. Its highly overcrowded state calls for immediate investigation, otherwise serious results may ensue.

He visited the ground last week, at the request of the Town Clerk, and saw two graves, about four feet in depth, standing open ready for the next inter­ment. The bottom of the one consisted of the top of a coffin, the wood of which was quite fresh, and in the south side of the opening, two feet from the surface, he observed another coffin. In another grave he saw five coffins all round the hole ‑ one of them about a foot from the surface, and the others between that and the bottom. Two of these coffins were perfectly fresh, the paint being quite distinct on them, and the white cords only slightly soiled by the earth. The three other coffins were in a more decayed state, having evidently been there for some years. What struck him most forcibly was their position and depth. They appeared to him as if they had been pushed in any way in order to get them in. Indeed, he made the remark to the grave-digger that be wondered how he managed to get them in, and his remark was very characteristic – “Oh, deed, sir,” he said, we canna get a coffin into the ground at a' withoot comin’ into contact wi' never so many coffins.” His opinion was that the place should have been shut up long', ago. It was offensive to decency and dangerous to health.  

Dr. Greig read the following certificate, which had been prepared by Dr. Pirie and himself:-

Dundee, 23d Sept. 1869
“We hereby certify to having known Logie Burying Ground for a long time, and having recently examined the same, we are of opinion that it is overcrowded ; that, owing to its formation and close proximity to inhabited houses, it is dangerous to health, and that it is offensive and contrary to decency.”
Dr. Pirie (medical officer of health for the burgh of Dundee) concurred in the certificate which had been read by Dr. Greig. One man complained to him of having seen bones with flesh adhering to them being turned up.
Mr. James Sutherland, sexton at Logie Burying Ground, was the next witness. He had been upwards of thirty years at Logie.
Mr. Hay - Do you know how many funerals there are in Logie every year?
Witness - Since I came here I heard Mr. Munro say there were about 300.
Mr. Hay - 350 isn't it? That is exclusive of children still-born. How many would you think there would be of them?
Witness - Of all still-born children? Oh, well, there's no very many o' them. Maybe we will say about seventy or eighty a-year.
Mr. Hay - Have you some years ago complained of the crowded state of the common ground?
Witness - Ay, fifteen or sixteen years ago, I complained to the Kuk (Kirk) Session of Liff. I have made up my mind to work no longer in it for it's no’ for any Christian man to do.
Mr. Hay – Now James, you have often been sick at your work ?
Witness – Well, sometimes I felt a little that way.
Mr. Hay - . . .

Wednesday 13th September, Howff Cemetery, Meadowside, 12 & 1pm. Originally the garden of the Greyfriars Monastery, Mary, Queen of Scots founded this earliest of Scottish civic burial grounds in 1564. Called the "Howff" or meeting place where the Trades met, you may explore 400 years of Dundee's history in stone.

Thursday 14th September, Roodyards Cemetery, Broughty Ferry Road at Roodyards Road, 1pm. The site of another mediaeval chapel, this ground, usually locked, holds the remains of the Baxter family of Balgavies and the Guthrie family of Taybank. (Arrangements for entry can be made by contacting Dundee City Council).

Friday 15th September, Broughty Ferry Old, Church Street and Fisher Street, 1pm. Yet another site of a mediaeval chapel, this small gem of a burial site is usually hidden from public view and contains references to the seafarers who were buried here. (Arrangements for entry can be made by contacting Dundee City Council). (Read about this burial ground on THIS website giving comprehensive details.)

Monday 18th September, St Peter's Kirkyard, off Perth Road, 1pm. By popular demand this small area will be included in this year's programme. Opened with the church in 1836, it includes the remains of Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne, the famous preacher.

More details about these sites can be found online and from Friends of Dundee City Archives, 1 Shore Terrace, telephone (01382) 434494 or from their website


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This page was updated - 09 December, 2014