Mortality

Must even the stones perish?

This stone once marked the final resting spot — of who? A son or daughter?  Husband or wife? We can no longer tell. It now leans against the south wall of the yard of the Arrochar Parish Church, Scotland, marking the location of nothing, but reminding us that it did, once, mark the location of someone cherished. Reminding us that they were cherished. That fact remains, after the loved and the lover are long forgotten.

The church at Arrochar has a long history, and is tied closely to Clan MacFarlane; the clan’s history extends back to the end of the 12th century. Although the parish was created in 1659 and John, the Laird of MacFarlane bonded himself to build a church, manse and set aside a glebe, he repeatedly delayed (perhaps he was more interested in raids under the full moon of his neighbor’s cattle, something the clan was famous for). In 1678, the Presbytery issued an order:

…having considered the vastenesse of the distance, as said is, and ruggedness of the way, finde it absolutely necessarie that there be a dismembratione, and a church built at the Tarbet, within the Laird of Macfarlane’s land for the accommodatione of the people of these bounds, that the people from the foote of Glenowglasse, and upward upon the side of Lochlomond, and from Gorton in the Parech  (parish) of Row, to the head of Lochlenge (informed to be about the number of 400 souls) may repair thither to attend the ordinances, who are now living in ignorance.

Even so, the church was not built until 1733. It remained in use until 1847 when the current structure was built. What is left of the original church still stands in the church yard.

Traditional Direction Sign in front of Arrochar Parish Church
Traditional direction sign in front of current Arrochar Parish Church. The original church ruins and ancient cemetery are to the right of the new church.
West entrance to the original 1733 church
West entrance to the original 1733 church
South wall of the original church with the date on construction, 1733, on the keystone over what was probably originally the south entrance.
South wall of the original church with the date of construction, 1733, on the keystone over what was probably originally the south entrance.

 

 

 

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