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Sepulchral Momument and Burial Enclosure Carnock Burial Ground

A Category B Listed Building in Carnock, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0854 / 56°5'7"N

Longitude: -3.5422 / 3°32'32"W

OS Eastings: 304125

OS Northings: 689135

OS Grid: NT041891

Mapcode National: GBR 1V.NN4H

Mapcode Global: WH5QQ.K9FQ

Entry Name: Sepulchral Momument and Burial Enclosure Carnock Burial Ground

Listing Date: 20 June 1972

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 334461

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB3412

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Carnock

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: West Fife and Coastal Villages

Traditional County: Fife

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Description

The memorials within the Carnock Old Burial Ground include grave markers, grave slabs and burial monuments dating to the 17th and 18th centuries. A burial enclosure to the east side of the former church includes a 1646 memorial stone to John Row. Above the inscription is a large pediment with a thistle finial and scroll decoration on the sides. A number of the grave markers have intricate inscriptions and imagery including a table stone to Andrew Gibson of 1624 with a well-preserved inscription and coat of arms in high relief.

The roofless former watch house was likely to have been built in the 1800s. It is located to the east of the old church and is set against the west wall of the former manse. The watch house is built of sandstone rubble and the internal west wall has the remains of a fireplace.

To the north of the old church is a war memorial of the obelisk type, inscribed with a St Andrews Cross. It was erected in 1923. Names of the fallen in the Second World War and the Iraq War have been added to it.

Enclosing the raised burial ground area are retaining walls constructed of plain sandstone rubble.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: scheduled monument SM829 and later burial ground to the north.

Statement of Interest

The 17th, 18th and 19th century memorials contained within the raised area of Carnock Old Burial Ground form an impressive collection of grave markers, grave slabs and burial monuments. Many of the 17th century stones are in a good condition with high level of relief work and legible inscriptions. The memorial stones and remains of the early 19th century watch house form part of a significant ecclesiastic grouping with the remains of the former church (scheduled monument reference SM829), the former manse (LB3410, listed at category C). In our current state of knowledge it continues to meet the criteria for listing.

The memorials, boundary walls and gatepiers in the burial ground addition to the north are 1886 and later. They are not unusual in their design for this period. The northern part of the graveyard and boundary walls and gates are not considered to be of special interest in listing terms and are proposed to be excluded from the listing.

Age and Rarity

The old church at Carnock served as the local parish church for the village from the 17th century. The memorials within the burial ground largely date from the mid-17th century onwards.

The irregular layout of the graves in the raised burial ground area surrounding the church is typical for graveyard development from the late 17th century. 17th and 18th century burial grounds are not rare and can be found in most significant settlements in Scotland. When considering such a prolific building type the early date, quality and group value of the memorial stones can add to the interest of the graveyard in listing terms. The stones also usually contribute to the setting of an existing church or the remains of an early church.

The old burial ground at Carnock has a number of fine memorials of early date, including stones that are associated with historically important local figures. These memorials add significant interest to this burial site. There is a burial enclosure with a fine pedimented monument dedicated to John Row, the first minister of the church from 1592 until his death in 1646.

The recognisable remains of an earlier 19th century watch house adds further interest to the burial ground in listing terms. It is more likely to be a watch house than a mortuary house as it has windows for observation and is located next to a former entrance. The remains evidence early 19th century social and medical history. It is likely to have fallen into disuse after the introduction of the Anatomy Act of 1832 which legalised the supply of cadavers (or corpses) for medical research.

The burial ground was extended to the north in 1886. The enclosing walls and gatepiers of the northern part of the graveyard are not shown on the 1853 Ordnance Survey map. The memorials in this part of the graveyard are generally of 20th century date and are not unusual in their design. The northern part of the graveyard and boundary walls and gates are not considered to be of special interest in listing terms and are proposed to be excluded from the listing.

Architectural or Historic Interest

Interior

The remains of a fireplace in the watch house reflects its intended function to provide a comfortable shelter for the night watchman. Such buildings were necessary before the introduction of the Anatomy Act of 1832 to secure the burial ground from grave theft.

Plan form

N/A

Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality

The 17th, 18th and 19th century memorials contained within the raised area form an impressive collection of grave markers, table-top tombs, grave slabs and burial monuments. The design and craftsmanship of some of the memorials is of a high quality, such as the early examples that date from the late 17th century onwards with decorative symbolic memento mori carvings. Many of the 17th and 18th century stones survive in good condition with a good level of legibility remaining in many of the carvings and inscriptions.

Setting

The former church (scheduled monument SM829) and old burial ground are located towards the northwest edge of Carnock village. The old burial ground is surrounded by a later burial ground to the north, Carnock Public Park to the south and the former manse (LB3410, listed at category C) to the east. The open aspect of this surrounding landscape largely corresponds with that shown on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map, revised in 1895.

The memorial stones and watch house are part of a significant ecclesiastic grouping with the remains of the former church (scheduled monument SM829), the former manse (LB3410, listed at category C).

Regional variations

There are no known regional variations.

Close Historical Associations

There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance at present (2017).

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