Rubbled walled burial ground. Various 18th, 19th and 20th
century tombs and memorials, including memorials to William
Gray (1749) and to the Mackay family. William Gray; dated
1749, tomb stone small flanking fluted pilasters and
symbols of mortality, coffin, crossed bones and bell, all
mounted in later rubble plinth, possibly section of former
church wall. Mackay Memorial, erected circa 1803. square
panelled ashlar plinth with inscriptions in English and Gaelic.
Moulded cope, stepped apex with urn finial. Low stepped base
supporting cast-iron spearhead railing. Matheson Memorial.
Erected 1880. Imposing blue/grey marble classical loggia,
supported by polished granite plinth to 6 Corinthian columns
with poppy seed heads decorating capitals. Round-arched centre
bays east and west with decorated spandrels; centre ribbed leaded
dome; moulded entablature surmounted by 8 urn finials with
stylised flames; similarly detailed apex finial to dome.
Outer bays linked by low retaining wall decorated with
swags. Square white marble pedestal (signed A. Viegl,
Menton) stands under dome with inset medallion relief
depicting Sir James Matheson of Achany, 1796-1878; pedestal
surmounted by white marble cross with dove and floral
Statement of Special Interest
Site of former parish church. For Matheson Memorial see
separate entry. Rev John Mackay and son Thomas, Ministers
of Lairg from 1914 to 1803.
Also latter's sons Hugh (killed at Assaye 1803) and
William, author of NARRATIVE OF THE SHIP WRECK OF THE JUNE
(1795), largely embodied in Byron's DON JUAN.
Sir James Matheson was born at West Shinness, by Lairg.
He was one of the founder members of the firm of Jardine
Matheson, and worked in Calcutta Canton and Macao.
He bought Achany in 1840, also estates in Lewis
(Hebrides), and was MP for Ashburton, Devon, from 1842.
The poppy seed head detailing on the memorial alludes to
the Far Eastern opium trade, on which the Jardine
Matheson success was fonded.