Day 10: Wrapping up Work in the Archive, and Visiting the Dundee Glasite Church Building

IMG_7549Hello all:

This is my last day in the archive.  I photographed over 700 documents today alone.  It was a busy and interesting day.

Right after I started working this morning, I heard someone ask for me by name.  Carol Kinghorn, who had commented on my itinerary, saw my posts that I was in Dundee and came down to the University to meet me, and also to do some of her own genealogical research on her Father’s side of the family, the Sandemans.  She showed me her family tree, with the connection to Robert Sandeman and John Glas, and we had a lovely conversation about the impact and legacy of the Glasites on Protestantism.  While I was talking to Carol, she asked me if I had been to the former Glasite Church in Dundee.  I had not know that it existed!  I had done some research to see if I could find other old Glasite buildings in existence besides the Glasite Hall in Edinburgh, but had had no luck.  Carol gave me directions to it, and I walked down to it over my lunch break.

The Former Glasite Builidng here in Dundee,  is now, ironically, owned by the Church of Scotland.  The building itself was built right next door to a Church of Scotland perish, and I must wonder if the Glasites didn’t have a sense of humor in selecting the site for their building. I was able to go inside and look around a little bit.  It is a two story structure, somewhat round.  A staff member of the church guided me upstairs to see the actual church meeting room, but when we arrived we found a meeting in progress so we weren’t able to go in.  I took a few photos of the outside however, and was happy to be able to see this historic building at all

This evening I take the train to Edinburgh, where I will locate the grave of James Haldane, and visit the Glasite Meeting Hall.


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Day Six: Finding the Grave of Robert Haldane, and Exploring the Glasgow Necropolis

GlasgowCathHello all:

I visited the grave of Robert Haldane, who is buried, quite interestingly, inside the building of the Glasgow Cathedral. I say interestingly, because as independent congregationalists, both of the Haldanes rejected the state Presbyterian Church. Why would Robert Haldane be buried in the largest symbol of Scottish Presbyterianism in Glasgow, right under the shadow of a huge monument to John Knox, the man who brought the reformation—and Presbyterianism—to Scotland?

I don’t have an answer yet, but there is some evidence to start hypothesizing (or really, just jumping to some conclusions). Robert is buried in the tomb of his wife’s parents. According to a narrative I have read, he died in Edinburgh, where he and his brother were collaborating in church building, and he was buried the very next day in the Glasgow Cathedral. Robert’s in-laws were wealthy town-folk in Glasgow. His father-in-law was an attorney and merchant in the city, living in a fine estate. In contrast, Robert and his brother James had been wealthy. The brothers sold their Castle, called Gleneagles, used some of the money to fund their ministry, and gave the rest to the poor. Robert’s father-in-law, by contrast, kept his estate, his money, and had enough status, prestige, and money to purchase his entire family tombs in the Glasgow Cathedral. So, when Robert died, the family did what was easily and immediately available: they buried Robert in a place he would have never wished to be…..let alone en tombed.

Robert is buried in the floor of the Cathedral, near the stairs that take the viewer down to Saint Mungo’s tomb. Some of the family graves are marked G.O. with a number next to it. Robert’s tomb, however, is walked upon so frequently that the letters and numbering have completely warn off. Nothing is left to mark his tomb. To find his grave, you must locate the graves of family members and then count the stones to determine where he lies.

After visiting the Cathedral, I took a trip up to the Glasgow Necropolis – The Glasgow City of the Dead. The first monument in the Necropolis was a statue at the top of a large hill commemorating the death of John Knox, the reformer of Scotland. Ironically, Knox is buried in Edinburgh, not Glasgow. After Knox, others started placing their graves, along with their gaudy headstones and mausoleums, near by. In the Victorian era, the Necropolis took off as the “in” place to be buried. The architecture of the area is amazing. I had to think about the Necropolis eschatologically, however. The City of the Dead is beautiful, if not a big creepy, in its own way. I had to wonder what the Earth will look like without all of these huge monuments to human beings. What will Earth be like when the only monument that exists is one to the Living God, the New Jerusalem come down from heaven so that God may dwell with God’s people? I long to know, and so does Robert Haldane and John Knox.



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Inside Glasgow Cathedral, looking at the tomb of Robert Haldane:

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The Necropolis and Scenes of the Outside of the Glasgow Cathedral:

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