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Gates, Cemetery, South Street, Greenock

A Category B Listed Building in Greenock, Inverclyde

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Latitude: 55.9472 / 55°56'49"N

Longitude: -4.7713 / 4°46'16"W

OS Eastings: 227044

OS Northings: 676148

OS Grid: NS270761

Mapcode National: GBR 0C.Y841

Mapcode Global: WH2M9.PS56

Plus Code: 9C7QW6WH+VF

Entry Name: Gates, Cemetery, South Street, Greenock

Listing Name: Greenock Cemetery, Including Highland Mary (Mary Campbell Monument), James Watt Cairn, Cemetery Gates and Boundary Walls

Listing Date: 13 May 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 378335

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB34118

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Greenock

County: Inverclyde

Town: Greenock

Electoral Ward: Inverclyde North

Traditional County: Renfrewshire

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Established in 1846. 80 acre sloping, wooded site with a wide assortment of finely carved, primarily 19th and 20th century gravestones in mainly classical or Gothic styles and in a variety of types, including Celtic crosses and obelisks. Some with particularly good quality bas-relief sculpture and some finely carved statuary. Some 18th century tombstones, relocated from site of previous Greenock Church (See Notes). Includes small marble pedimented temple style mausoleum on raised site and large, highly decorated Gothic memorial to Walter Baine, Provost of Greenock (1840-44).

'HIGHLAND MARY': 1842. John Mossman. Tall pointed arch stele on rectangular stepped base, divide into 3 panels. Upper panel with Greek bas-relief of weeping maiden representing 'Grief'. Middle panel bas-relief of two figures, representing last meeting of Robert Burns and Highland Mary. Inscribed on lower panel

'O Mary! Dear departed shade!

Where is thy place of blissful rest?'

Situated close to James Watt Cairn.

JAMES WATT CAIRN: (NS 26488 76322) tall, massive cubic monument with large rectangular block base, with stepped levels ending at trabeated structure engraved with 'WATT'. Constructed from variety of stones from across the world, including marble and granite. Plaques to front and side inscribed with names and details of donors.

CEMETERY GATES AND GATEPIERS: (NS 27045 76152). 1847, Charles Wilson, architect; McCulloch and Co (Glasgow), ironfounders. At entrance to W. Pair of large Greek Revival square-plan stone piers with clasping pilasters to angled corners. Carved Greek detailing. Flat square caps. Tall, double sided ornate cast iron gates and railings with wreath surmounted by St Andrews cross motif, also echoed in gate pier design.

BOUNDARY WALLS: surrounding cemetery and lying to the S of the crematorium. Tall, rubble with flat coping.

Statement of Interest

Greenock Cemetery is a particularly fine example of a nineteenth century cemetery, established for a prosperous town and containing a fine collection of 19th and 20th century gravestones in a wide variety of types and styles. The cemetery itself is contained within a boundary wall and the careful planting of trees and shrubs provides an evocative setting. Some of the stones possess excellent carving and detail and many display maritime themes with ships and anchors.

Greenock Cemetery was established in 1846 as the expansion of the population of the town meant that the previous burial ground was inadequate. This particular site was chosen as it was secluded and not able to be viewed from the river. The Greenock Cemetery Company, formed in 1846, laid out the ground. Previous objections to the Council regarding the word 'necropolis' meant that this was always called a 'cemetery'. A small area near the SW boundary wall, close to the entrance was set aside as a paupers' burial area.

The cemetery contains some 18th century tombstones, moved from the Old West Church. This church was established in 1589, and was situated close to Harland and Wolff shipyard. In 1917, the shipyard was extended and the church was dismantled and rebuilt in a different location. The tombstones were then moved to the Cemetery.

'Highland Mary', or Mary Campbell had a brief, but intense relationship with the poet Robert Burns and they planned to emigrate from Greenock to Jamaica. Mary died at Greenock, in 1786, however, before the emigration could take place. She was originally interred in the graveyard at the Old West Kirk, but the stone was transferred here in 1920.

John Mossman (1817-1890) came from a family of sculptors and there are many examples of his public work in Glasgow. He was a founder member of the Glasgow School of Art.

The James Watt Cairn was begun as a project by the Watt Club of Greenock in 1854, initially to erect a tower as a memorial to James Watt. Never completed, this tower was to have been 289 feet. Stones were gifted from all areas of the world as a gesture to recognise the importance of James Watt in his contribution to industry. The stones were finally assembled and completed in 1936, the 200th anniversary of James Watt's Birth.

James Watt was born in Greenock in 1736 and gained international reputation and renown by improving existing steam engines, leading to the widespread use of steam power in industry and transport.

The cemetery gatepiers and gates are particularly fine monumental structures which add considerable value to the streetscape and provide a definitive entrance to the Cemetery. Charles Wilson (1810-1863) was a notable Glasgow based architect who worked throughout Scotland, including the Free Church College in Glasgow.

'Highland Mary' (Mary Campbell Monument), and the Cemetery Gates were previously listed separately, at Category B.

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