Projects - Abbey Graveyard
The Abbey Graveyard Project
The story of Dunfermline Abbey Graveyard is a tale of two halves. The section which lies to the north of the Abbey Church was in use for 800 years, from the early 12th century until it was finally closed for burials in 1896. The southern section came into use in 1823, after the completion of the new Abbey Church and burials continued there until the mid-20th century, although the rate of interments slowed after the opening of the Halbeath Rd Cemetery in 1863..
Over the past few years a small but enthusiastic Graveyard Group has been recording all the gravestones in both the northern and the southern areas and entering the results into a database which is now nearly complete. Work is being done on an interactive plan of the graveyard and background research is being carried out into its history and the stories of some of the people, both great and small, who were buried there.
The monuments within the church itself will also be recorded and there are plans to search for, uncover and record grave slabs that have become covered with turf over the centuries..
As well as working as individuals in the graveyard itself, the Group meets on the third Thursday of every month to discuss progress and share the findings of their research.
With permission from Historic Scotland, during the autumn we dug a series of shallow test pits in the northeast corner of the graveyard where our probing seemed to indicate there might be some buried gravestones. We did not find any but did find that at some time in the last century a layer of demolition rubble had been laid over the area. Research continues to find out when and why this was done.
During the winter we will be meeting once a month to discuss various graveyard-related matters and intend to resume probing and digging in another area once the weather allows in spring and/or summer.
If you would like to join the search for buried gravestones or any other aspect of our work, please get in touch via the Contact Page of this website.
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