Cemetery, comprising 19th century extension of the kirkyard of the Holy Rude Kirk, reaching north to the Castle esplanade, approximately bounded to the West by the Back Walk and to the East by Castle Wynd (excluding Valley Lodge, lodge and garage) with iron boundary railings and gates to E and W and further 20th century extension to NW. A distinctive feature of the cemetery is that it is laced with instructive Biblical texts and statues of 'heroes' of the Scottish Presbyterianism (see Notes, below).
Built in three stages, as follows:
Valley Cemetery including Mar's Wark Garden 1857-1858
Once used as a horse fair and occupied by houses, barns and the gardens of Mar's Wark (a monument in state care, see separate listing).
Laid out by Peddie and Kinnear, largely at the instigation of William Drummond. Peddie & Kinnear entrance gates to N. Replacement entrance gates to S beside Holy Rude on Castle Wynd. Statue of James Guthrie overlooks the S entrance pathway. Other monuments within Mar's Wark section include an unusual iron headstone encasement by Sun Foundry, a statue of Ebenezer Erskine and the Martyrs' Monument. This monument comprises a white marble statue of 2 young women (carved by Handyside Ritchie, 1858-1859) seated below a protective angel (purchased from Rome) on a raised plinth. Encased in 1867 by decorative cast iron and glazed structure with cupola (George Smith & Co Ltd, Sun Foundry, Glasgow).
Glass largely now lost (2003), some remains of blue coloured glass within cupola. The monument refers to Margaret Wilson (aged 18) and Margaret McLachlan (aged 75), said to have died in the Solway in the 1860s after refusing to disown allegiance to the Scottish Covenant and depicts the younger woman and her 'like-minded sister Agnes'. Carved with references to Biblical texts.
The Valley Cemetery section is to the W of Mar's Wark with a central outcrop of rock upon which stand the statues of John Knox facing Ladies' Rock, flanked by Andrew Melville to the E, facing Holy Rude and Alexander Henderson to the W. Below Knox is the Valley Rock Fountain which is a marble fountain with shell basin and carved with Biblical references. Contemporary stone gravestones (the more expensive lairs were adjacent to the Valley Rock) including a number of intact (and at the time, cheaper) cast iron grave markers from the Etna Foundry. Below the Ladies' Rock and looking westwards stands the statue of John Renwick.
Drummond Pleasure Ground 1862-1863
Separated by a driveway from the Valley Cemetery, the Drummond Pleasure Ground was laid out as a setting for the Star Pyramid which is a massive sandstone ashlar pyramid which dominates this area, standing on a stone stepped base upon a shaped grassy mound. Marble Bibles rest on the base of each face of the pyramid, which is also carved with references to Biblical texts.
The pyramid is enclosed by wrought iron railings, with stone steps to S flanked by 2 stone globes (once surmounted by bronze eagles). A Bible and Confession of Faith were sealed into an inner chamber in the pyramid. The Pithy Mary pond lies to the W of the Star Pyramid with bridge of wrought / cast iron work including later repair work and a grassed slope beyond to the W with lawn and deliberately placed rocks. There are no gravestones within Drummond Pleasure Ground other than William Drummond's sarcophagus to the NW of the pyramid; polished grey granite inscribed 'Born 14 February 1793 Died 25th November 1888' on its stepped base.
Natural outcrop of rock to the S of the Cemetery, providing vantage points over the Cemetery and across the Forth Valley. It is said that the area of the Valley Cemeteries was used for jousting events which spectators could view from this position.
Snowdon Cemetery 1923
Created on the site of former Snowdon House (built for Allan Johnstone, architect of the former Erskine Marykirk Church, 1826). Original boundary walls of Snowdon House to the S and W. Ashlar gatepiers and remains of former lodge to the entrance of the Cemetery at SE. Many 1940s, 1950s granite gravestones. Raised central section with railings.
Statement of Special Interest
As space ran out in the old churchyards, cemeteries were created in the mid 19th century. The social reform ideas of the time influenced the design of cemeteries; they provided amenity areas of green, open spaces within urban settings for the enjoyment, health and also moral improvement of the living as well as the commemoration of the deceased. The Old Town Cemeteries are an excellent example of this. They were a designed extension to the 16th century Holy Rude kirkyard (see separate list) and were laid out on a commanding position below the Castle, providing splendid views over the Carse and Forth Valley. They were an instructive pleasure ground, the pathways bounded with wrought and cast ironwork led to separate cemeteries, each with their distinctive character. Carvings guide the visitor to Bibilical texts and through statuary, the 'heroes' of the Scottish Reformation are celebrated for their involvement in the establishment of the Presbyterian Church. The location may also have been chosen to intentionally highlight Stirling's central role in Scottish history and religious development. The Valley Cemetery was laid out at the instigation of 4 prominent Stirling men; William Drummond who ran a family seed business with his relative Peter Drummond (writer and publisher of religious tracts), Provost William Rankin and Rev Charles Rogers (local preacher and also writer of religious tracts). The statues, by Alexander Handyside Ritchie were erected over a number of years, with money from public subscription. The Cemeteries illustrate the spirit of social reform of the time as well as documenting the different trends in remembering the dead, and continue to operate as a tourist spot as they did when first created. They also contain good quality works of statuary and ironwork with ornamental planting throughout. The Cemeteries are listed on the 2003 draft Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes. List description updated and upgraded from category B to A, November 2003.
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