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Old Mortality

 
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 4822
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 9:12 pm    Post subject: Old Mortality Reply with quote

A bit of a cheek putting this in here, but 'Old Mortality' - real name Robert Paterson - spent the last 40 years of his life seeking and marking Covenanters Graves. We include Covenanters memorials, and Old Mortality was a stonemason by trade so I thought this the best place to post.

There is a statue with explanatory plaque and stone 'Old Mortality lived here 1768' in Balmaclellan churchyard. Photos below.

The following from a book written by a previous owner of the house I just bought (!)

"Robert Paterson toook upon himself the task of erecting and restoring Covenanters' monuments throughout Scotland. His wife kept a school at Balmaclellan to support herself and her family during her husband's wanderings. In his younger days, Sir Walter Scott met this "singular person" at Dunottar. In 1816 he used the name by which the old man was known as the title of a Covenanting tale he had written. The introduction to the 1829 edition of the book and the preliminary chapter are about "Old Mortality" himself."

and from a different source...................

"The novel [Old Mortality] takes its title from the nickname of Robert Paterson, a Scotsman of the 18th century who late in life decided to travel around Scotland re-engraving the tombs of 17th century Covenanter martyrs. The first chapter of the novel describes a meeting between him and the novel's fictitious narrator."

The plaque explains the history of the statue. It refers to an unmarked grave in Caerlaverock. Never take anything at face value - on a visit to Caerlaverock I photographed this stone. Presumably it was erected since 2000 but looks older - but then sandstone often does.









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DerekR
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 2974
Location: Hawick, Scotland

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paterson was a Hawick man:

http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/s/scott/walter/mortality/introduction3.html

“Robert Paterson, alias Old Mortality, was the son of Walter Paterson and Margaret Scott, who occupied the farm of Haggisha, in the parish of Hawick, during nearly the first half of the eighteenth century. Here Robert was born, in the memorable year 1715."

Haggisha is currently being developed into a private housing scheme, the naming of which has caused great debate in Hawick - the memory of Paterson being forgotten by those who should have known better.

Now they’ve sterted buildin hooses
They want ti ca’ thum Vertish View
‘Cause they think Old Mortality’s no worth rememberin’
And ti enable cars ti travel faster
Which some day sune will spell disaster
They’re wantin ti take the green green grass of home
Where the tryst was held in days of old
and horses bought and horses sold
Yaised ti graze upon the green green grass of home.


IWL
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Time but th' impression stronger makes, As streams their channels deeper wear.
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 4822
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, a little close to being off-topic here.

The statues in Balmaclellan are not unique, there are others of 'Old Mortality' by the same sculptor (John Currie) in Dumfries Museum, very similar, but not the same, with an extra study of the head.

I have posted pictures of the statues along with the enclosure and commemorative plaque for completeness.









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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 4822
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The head in this shelter is not a study for the statue of Old Mortality but is the only surviving remnant of a separate covenanter monument which I shall post as Grierson Museum Covenanter Statue.

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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 4822
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand that a statue to Old Mortality is incorporated into the Scott Monument on Princes Street, Edinburgh. If someone is passing with a camera with a long lens (I think it is higher up)................
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 4822
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The statue of Old Mortality which now stands in Balmaclellan churchyard, stood for a long time in the grounds of the Holme Estate, Balmaclellan, then was moved to the vicinity of the old garage in Balmaclellan (date not known) before moving to its present location in 2000.
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