Dunfermline Abbey Cemetery in the Rain

Be still my cemetery-nerd heart.

One of the things I was really looking forward to about living in Scotland was the chance to see so much history preserved. My short American history only gives me about three hundred years of tangible things to see, and not much of it (which is why I loved Old Philadelphia). There are a very few places I’ve seen in the US with ancient Native American relics, and they give me the chills. To be able to see and touch something created or shaped by humans from so long ago gives me a sense of connection to my own history, and I get the same thrill out of it that some people get form seeing someone ultra famous.

Brian always laughs when I get all excited and geeky about five hundred year old walls, or thousand year old castles. It’s much more normal for him, just part of the landscape where he grew up.

We’ve been spending the week getting out of the house here and there to see a bit of the town. We were doing nothing glamorous on Wednesday, just looking in the shopping center for a big soup pot. Afterwards we decided to walk the long way back to the car. A right turn, a left turn, down a hill.

And there was the Abbey.

Dunfermline Abbey, where the first church was built twelve hundred years ago. Where Robert the Bruce is buried (inside). Where it’s rumored that William Wallace’s mother is buried.

It was raining, just a little bit, when we got there. As we strolled around the headstones the rain got heavier and heavier. Pretty soon it was fully raining big fat drops on us and we were glad we didn’t leave our rain coats in the car. Lesson learned, never leave your rain coat in the car here.

Rain and all, it was still worth walking around. There were headstones so old we couldn’t read anything. Some covered with two inches of moss with just the barest indentation where it had grown over the words. Some were newer, but I didn’t see anything newer than the mid 1800’s. Imagine something from 150 years ago being new!

We saw stone after stone marked with “2 rooms”. I still don’t know what that means, but I’ll be Googling it in just a few minutes.

The rain, the clouds, the cemetery, and the history all combined to make a perfect but brief stop in a pretty amazing place.

That stone above is the oldest one we found with a readable date. 1424! I’d love to know what all the other symbols mean. There was no name, only these marks. I’m dying to know who is buried there, and what it all means.

It was an unplanned and short stop in a place that begs for more time. We’ll definitely be back, umbrellas ready, camera ready and with a whole afternoon free to really lose myself in the stories here. I can’t wait to see the inside!

Update: According to this website, which is the only one I found with an explanation, “2 rooms” on a stone means that two people are buried there side-by-side, usually a married couple. Now we know.

On the map: Click here to see this location on our Google Map.

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About akil3655

A Scotsman and his American photographer wife traveling the world and writing about it. Tales, reviews, photos, interviews and crazy goings on. Because you never know what's going to happen.

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4 Responses to Dunfermline Abbey Cemetery in the Rain

  1. Jennifer Souza July 13, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    I love the old places of Europe, too! I hear Asia is even MORE exciting, since we were illiterate and sloppy in the Middle Ages, they were writing and drinking from tea cups.

    • akil3655
      Twitter: kiltandacamera
      July 13, 2012 at 9:45 am #

      Someday we’ll get to China and Japan, and I’ll go insane with the thought of all that history which is so alien to us westerners. Not sure I can even wrap my brain around some of it, but I’d be so happy to try!
      akil3655 recently posted..Dunfermline Abbey Cemetery in the RainMy Profile

  2. Angela
    Twitter: Acook2121
    July 13, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    Cant wait for you to go inside too, its beautiful, think you pay now to get into the main part. As a 9 year old i went on a school trip here and i remember loving the ornate tombs of Malcom and Margaret and of course Robert the Bruce its something not to be missed. And not to mention you will see the alter where we got married its beautiful, the stained glass windows are just amazing. Did you see across the street is the old Palace ruins? Love that part too!
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