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Engraving from Old & New Edinburgh - published 1890

Warriston Cemetery

Warriston Cemetery

Engraving from 'Old & New Edinburgh'  -  Warriston Cemetery

  For permission to reproduce, please contact peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk

     

Warriston Cemetery

Warriston Cemetery, just over a mile to the north of Princes Street, covers a large area beside Warriston Crematorium.

The upper part of the cemetery has gravestones laid out in neat rows.  The lower part has become rather overgrown (but is perhaps now looking better following the recent establishment of the 'Friends Of Warriston Cemetery'.

There are many Victorian gravestones in the cemetery.  When I last visited the cemetery, I found that:

-  some of the these had unfortunately been broken when they were toppled 'Health and Safety' reasons.

-   others had become overgrown.

Warriston Cemetery  -  Bluebells

 

Questions

I have received an e-mail from somebody who wrote:

Tomb of the Red Lady

1. "Is the building shown in the background of this engraving the shrine known as the tomb of the RED LADY as it was when I was a child?"

2. "I believe the reason for such a fine tomb was that MARY ANN ROBERTSON was murdered by her master who was tried and hanged in Edinburgh.  Was that correct?"

 

Comments and Recollections

1.

Peter Stubbs
Edinburgh

-  Tomb of the Red Lady

2.

Alan Wilson
Edinburgh

-  Mary Ann Robertson

-  Vandals

with reply from

Peter Stubbs
Edinburgh

-   Vandals

3.

Alan Wilson
Edinburgh

-  Tomb Desecrated:1978

-  More Photos

-  Warriston Cottage

4.

Tommy (Campbell) Lawson
Bribie Island, Queensland, Australia

-  The Red Lady's Tomb

5.

Jim Patience
Alberta, Canada

-  The Red Lady's Tomb

6.

Brian Malcolm
Blackpool, Lancashire, England

-  The Red Lady's Tomb

-  Location

-  The Tomb

-  Murder?

7.

Peter Stubbs
Edinburgh

-  Recent Photos

8.

Brian Malcolm
Blackpool, Lancashire, England

-  Monuments

9.

Jim Patience
St Albert, Alberta, Canada

-  Warriston Cottage

-  Vaults

-  Edinburgh Cemetery Co.

10.

Caroline Gerard
Dean, Edinburgh

-  Friends of
Warriston Cemetery

11.

Caroline Gerard
Dean, Edinburgh

-  Poster for Friends of
Warriston Cemetery

12.

Alan Dodds
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

-  The Red Lady

13.

Caroline Gerard
Dean, Edinburgh

Friends of Warriston Cemetery

-  Progress

14.

Alan Dodds
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

-  Photo:  Evening Light

Comment

1.

Peter Stubbs

Edinburgh

Tomb of the Red Lady

1.  I don't know whether or not the building in the background in this engraving is the tomb of the RED LADY.  Unfortunately, that tomb has now been destroyed by vandals,  but here is a description of how it once looked

Here is a description that I found when I searched for more information.  I don't know the author:

"A Victorian Gothic structure made of iron and glazed with coloured panels; ruby glass roof & green glass walls.  Between the roof & the walls there was a frieze effect created with lighter, rectangular glass panels - perhaps milk glass - on which there was an inscription. written in ornate Gothic script and travelling all the way round the structure was The Lords Prayer."

2.  It was indeed Mary Ann Robertson (1826-58) who was buried in the tomb of the RED LADY.  She was daughter of Brigadier-General Manson of the Bombay Artillery  [Alan Wilson]

I don't know whether or not she was murdered by her master who was then hanged.

Perhaps somebody else will provide answers to these questions.

-  Peter Stubbs:  January 17 2006.

Comment

2.

Alan Wilson

Edinburgh

Thank you to Alan Wilson, Edinburgh, who wrote:

Mary Ann Robertson

"Regarding Mary Ann Robertson, and whether she was murdered - well it looks as though she wasn't.

I was going through some newspaper cuttings the other night and came across an Evening News article dated 3rd August 2006 to publicise "The Edinburgh Graveyard Guide" by TRB Turnbull.

Shrine to Mary Ann Robertson at Warrisotn Cemetery

It doesn't say how Mary Ann Robertson died; maybe she contracted her husband's illness, maybe not.

Vandals

"I've heard stories of the tomb being desecrated sometime in the late 1970's or early 1980's.

I was wondering if you could shed any light on the story that her skull was removed by someone high on drink and drugs and that they were subsequently jailed for the offence."

Alan Wilson, Trinity, Edinburgh:  October 4, 2007.

Reply to Comment

2.

Peter Stubbs

Edinburgh

This account of Mary Ann Robertson's tomb appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News in 2006, almost thirty years after the tomb was desecrated:

Vandals

"Vandals have destroyed what was once one of Edinburgh's most impressive burial places - an arcaded Gothic shrine of white marble, and roof of ruby-coloured glass, which formed the last resting place of Mary Ann Robertson (d.1858).

Today, all that is left of the chamber, once carved with lilies, palms and oriental patterned glass, are its broken foundations and the smashed marble figure that used to lie inside.

The tomb was erected in her honour as the Manson, of the Bombay Artillery.  She had married Captain Alexander Robertson, the 8th King's Regiment.

When he became ill with fever at the siege of Delhi in 1857, he was sent home to be nursed by his wife.  Sadly within a few months it was Mary Ann who was dead."

Edinburgh Evening News:  August 3, 2006

 

Comments

3.

Alan Wilson

 Edinburgh

Thank you to Alan Wilson, Edinburgh, for writing again:

Alan wrote:

Tomb Desecrated - 1978

   Shrine to Mary Ann Robertson at Warrisotn Cemetery

"I checked the microfiche of the Evening News in the Central Library.  It's a slow process, but I found a report dated 26 June 1979 where 5 youths aged between 15 and 20 where charged with breaking into the crypt (very close to Robertson monument) on 11th September 1978, smashing marble slabs securing a coffin, breaking it open and scattering the remains and carrying away a skull.  So it looks as though the story I heard was almost correct."

More Photos

"Also, the RCAHMS Warriston Cemetery web site now  includes some photos of the cemetery.  After clicking on the link above:

- Click on 'Images on-line' and you will see thumbnails of the photographs.

- Click on a thumbnail and a larger image with all the collection details will appear.

- Click on the image again and the largest version will be shown."

Warriston Cottage

"My next task is to try and find where Warriston Cottage was.  Hopefully the Arnott headstone is still standing and will give me a clue!

Alan Wilson, Trinity, Edinburgh:  December 12, 2007.

The following day, Alan added:

Warriston Cottage

"On the OS map dated 1896 for Inverleith & Canonmills and there's one building I think might be the cottage.  It's next to the railway line / cycle path that cuts the cemetery in two.

I know there are the remains of a building down at that part, so  I'm hoping that the Arnott grave will be able to confirm it.  Being a war grave I trust it's been well looked after by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

 If the weather's fine at the weekend I'll probably take a stroll down."

Alan Wilson, Trinity, Edinburgh:  December 13, 2007.

Three days later, Alan added:

Warriston Cottage

"Well, I went along to Warriston Cemetery yesterday morning and discovered the cottage was where I suspected."

The building can be found within Warriston Cemetery, immediately to the north of the old railway line on this 1915 map (lower centre of the map, above the first letter 'O' of the name 'BROUGHTON' printed in red on this map.

"Only part of the right-hand gable still exists.  The Arnott headstone pictured on the RCHMS web site confirmed I had the right the location."

Alan Wilson, Trinity, Edinburgh:  December 16, 2007

 

Recollections

4.

Tommy (Campbell) Lawson

Bribie Island, Queensland, Australia

Tommy wrote:

The Red Lady's Tomb

"A lady has asked a question about the Red Lady in Warriston Cemetery.  I, with young friends, used to scare ourselves silly late evening looking into the Red Lady's Tomb

I lived in Logie Green Road.  During the war years, we had a wee shop there.  My friends were David Brown, the Heathcotes and George Reid"

Tommy (Campbell) Lawson, Bribie Island, Queensland, Australia:  March 26, 2008

 

Recollections

5.

Jim Patience

Alberta, Canada

Jim Patience wrote

The Red Lady's Tomb

"The Red Lady brought back memories. I worked as a grave digger in Warriston Cemetery in the early 1960s, after I came out of the Army.

I also cut the grass, planted flowers etc.  Mr. Pontin was Supt. then.  The RED LADY was well looked after then."

Jim Patience, Alberta, Canada:  April 21, 2008

 

Recollections

6.

Brian Malcolm

Blackpool, Lancashire, England

Thank you to Brian Malcolm who wrote:

The Red Lady's Tomb

"I think I can shed some light on the question, near the top of this page, about the location of the tomb to the 'Red Lady'.

Location

Engraving from 'Old & New Edinburgh'  -  Warriston Cemetery

In the foreground of this engraving, you can see the monument to the Rev James Peddie.  In the background, you can just make out a large obelisk.  This is the tomb to Sir James Young Simpson.

The tomb to the 'Red Lady' that the questioner asked about' is an old long-gone chapel that stood atop the catacombs.  It is beyond the obelisk, to the NW end of the vaults.

If you were to continue along the path in front of the chapel, as far as you can to the wall, the 'Red Lady' is on your left as you turn to go down the hill."

The Tomb

"The roof of the tomb was indeed red glass. The rest of the building was white marble, apart from the Iron gate at the front.

The Lord's Prayer was engraved around the bottom of the panels, ending with, 'And the trumpet shall sound three times and the dead shall be risen incorruptible'."

Murder?

"I was not aware of the murder story but that would make sense.  I have sensed her presence on many an occasion there.

I have even seen unexplained footprints in fresh snow around the shrine but not leading to or away from it, when no one else was there."

Brian Malcolm, Blackpool, Lancashire, England:  October 29, 2010

Brian Malcolm added:

Warriston Cemetery

My Spiritual Home!

"Warriston Cemetery is my Spiritual home.  It found me when I was 8 years old.  I lived not far from there and 'till this year spent at least 1 hour a day in the place.  To say I am attached to it would be an understatement

I find it fascinating. The place has had its share of misfortune over the years with vandalism from thugs and officials alike, glue sniffers and drunks.

It is a very valuable green space in the heart of the city. The fact it has become overgrown adds to the charm and serenity of the place.

Warriston Cemetery 5  -  Infra-red Photo

I hope it will remain so.  Restoration to its former glory would be a fine thing yet it would in some sense be a great act of vandalism.

Brian Malcolm, Blackpool, Lancashire, England:  October 29, 2010

Comment

7.

Peter Stubbs

Edinburgh

Recent Photos

I visited Warriston Cemetery a few months ago and took some photos of what I thought might be what is left of the tomb to the 'Red Lady'.

Alan Wilson subsequently emailed me to confirm that this was her tomb.

Please click on the thumbnail images below to see some of  these photos:

Warriston Cemetery  -  July 2010

Warriston Cemetery  -  July 2010

Please click on this link to see more photos of Warriston Crematorium

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  November 5, 2010

Recollections

8.

Brian Malcolm

Blackpool, Lancashire, England

Thank you to Brian Malcolm for identifying some of the monuments in this old engraving of Warriston Cemetery.  This is one of the engravings that appeared in Grant's 'Old & New Edinburgh' published in 1890.

"On this engraving, the following have been marked:

Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh

RED:

The Peddie Monument

BLUE:

The memorial to Simpson, founder of the Simpson Memorial Hospital in Edinburgh and discoverer of anaesthetic.

GREEN:

The chapel.  At one time, the internment ceremony would have taken place here.  There was speculation that the coffin was lowered into the vaults below the chapel, although I have not seen evidence of this from my time spent in the vaults.

I've seen the destruction of the coffins and the bodies strewn about in there, along the front passage.  I'd say that 1 in 4 graves are desecrated; it is very sad. Further back into the vaults, there is less destruction.  I assume the darkness kept the vandals at bay.

All that remains today of the structure is a raised mound centrally placed lengthways along the vaults.  The skylights and ventilation shafts have all been filled in now, none to late, but I remember my mother who would now have been aged 86, telling me how the sunlight used to shine out thru the portcullis windows along the front of the vaults at certain times of the year.

There are two substantial monuments to my family in Warriston, one still stands, sadly the other now lies flat face down."

Brian Malcolm, Blackpool, Lancashire, England:  October 29, 2010

Comment

9.

Jim Patience

St Albert, Alberta, Canada

Thank you to Jim Patience who wrote:

Warriston Cottage

"I believe that the building  Alan Wilson was talking about (in 'Recollectons 3' above) was the house where the Head Groundskeeper stayed with his wife and son . They were next to the greenhouse.

Vaults

"The vaults at Warriston Cemetery were about halfway down the hill.  As far as I remember, there were about a dozen coffins interred in the wall, all sealed with their names on plaques except one in which you could see the coffin quite plainly.  We were told that this was because the body had not been claimed.

Edinburgh Cemetery Co

"Then, the cemetery was run by The Edinburgh Cemetery Co. They also ran Corstorphine Hill, Comely Bank and a few others around town.  Warriston was one of the best maintained cemeteries in all Edinburgh.  It's sad to hear of the mess it is in now."

Jim Patience, St Albert, Alberta, Canada:  November 16, 2010

Comment

10.

Caroline Gerard

Dean, Edinburgh

Thank you to Caroline Gerard who wrote:

Friends of Warriston Cemetery

To the Rescue

"There is some concern expressed on your website about the state of Warriston Cemetery  -  understandably!

The Cavalry is on its way ...

A friend and I are starting a 'Friends of Warriston Cemetery' group, with the aim of reclaiming the heritage from under all that ivy etc, managing the Urban Wildlife Site and striking a balance between biodiversity and all that irreplaceable history.

The City of Edinburgh Council is very much in favour, and we have a lot of support.

Please spread the word!"

Caroline Gerard, Dean, Edinburgh:  July 2, 2013

Hi Carloine:

Best Wishes to the Friends of Warriston Cemetery

That sounds like good news!  The Cemetery deserves to have a group looking after it, even though you'll not able to bring the Red Lady's Tomb and the vaults back to their original state - unless you get lottery funding!  Perhaps that could be a long-term goal.

Meanwhile, there should certainly be enough work to keep the group fully occupied!  I look forward to seeing the progress that you make!

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  July 4, 2013

 

Comment

11.

Caroline Gerard

Dean, Edinburgh

Thank you to Caroline Gerard for sending me, yesterday, a copy of the poster  announcing the Inaugural Meeting of the 'Friends of Warriston Cemetery'.

Unfortunately, the poster arrived a little to late for anybody who might have wished to attend that meeting.  However, I have displayed it  below so that people are aware that the group is now underway, and that they can see the web site address and email address to contact for further information.

Peter Stubbs:  July 5, 2012

Friends of Warriston Cemetery

Inaugural Meeting

  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Caroline Gerard, Dean, Edinburgh

 

Comment

12.

Allan Dodds

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Thank you to Allan Dodds for sending me this recent evening photo that he took at Warriston Cemetery:

The Red Lady's Tomb

Interior

    Shrine to Mary Ann Robertson at Warrisotn Cemetery

The Red Lady's Tomb

Exterior

    Shrine to Mary Ann Robertson at Warrisotn Cemetery

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  July 11, 2013

 

Comment

13.

Caroline Gerard

St Albert, Alberta, Canada

I emailed Caroline Gerrard, founding member of Friends of Warriston Cemetery yesterday,

'Friends ...' Poster

  

to let he know about this advertising flier from 1843, giving details of space for sale then in Warriston Cemetery, soon to be offered for sale on eBay.

1843 Advertising Flier

   Warriston Cemetery  -  1843 Flier, advertising sites in the cemetery for sale

Caroline thanked me, then told me about the progress made so far by her  Friends of Warriston Cemetery group. 

Since the group was founded in 2013, it has signed up more than a hundred members.

Caroline added:

Progress

"I'll try to remember to tell you when Warriston is looking particularly good, so that you can nip along to take more photographs.

Early in the year there are snowdrops, then the daffodils we planted (and some others there already) come up, followed by the bluebells.

In a few years' time we hope to have far less ivy (and invasive weeds) and far more 'pleasing' biodiversity. We want the place to be the family burial ground and heritage repository, with 'enhanced' biodiversity in between, that it could and should be.

We'll get there!"

Caroline Gerard, Dean, Edinburgh:  July 4, 2014

Reply to Caroline

Hi Caroline:

Well done on the progress to date.  I certainly intend to return to the cemetery to take more photos this year.

If your Friends of Warriston Cemetery group is ever looking for a long term project for the cemetery, how about seeking Lottery funding to recreate the Red Lady's Tomb that used to be a feature of the cemetery before being vandalized then removed?

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  July 4, 2014

 

Comment

14.

Allan Dodds

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Allan Dodds (another member of the Friends of Warriston Cemetery group) wrote, after reading about this advertising flier,

1843 Advertising Flier

   Warriston Cemetery  -  1843 Flier, advertising sites in the cemetery for sale

to say that he found it interesting, and also to let me see the photo below that he took recently, recently, capturing the evening light at Warriston Cemetery.

Allan tells me that this photo got a lot of hits when he added it to the 'Graves and Cemeteries' group on Flicker.

Evening Light at Warriston Cemetery  -  2014

Photo taken by Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England  -  Evening light at Warriston Cemetery, 2014

  Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

 

 

Warriston Cemetery

Edinburgh Photos

Edinburgh Recollections

Contributors

 

 

 

__________________

 

Links to Other Pages

EdinPhoto - Home Page  Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.   At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.     At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.  

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photographers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.

 

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Links to pages with Photos of Groups   Frequently Asked Questions

  Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Links to Dumbiedykes pages  Link to Granton pages  Link to Leith pages   Link to Newhaven pages   Links to Portobello pages   Link to My Recent Talks