This is the best executed of the isolated walled family graveyards. It lies 60m to the north-west of Airth Parish Church, which was constructed in 1817. The Grahams of Airth Castle provided some monetary incentives for the construction of the new church and actively encouraged the move away from the old site next to their residence. Leading by example the family had their private burial ground created from a very early date, probably at the same time as the manse in 1814.
The walled enclosure is set on a terrace constructed for it on the north-east facing hill slope (at NS 8969 8774). As the soil here is clay, an interceptor drainage ditch runs along a higher contour to the south. The 0.50m thick walls have 16 courses of small square blocks of sandstone reaching a height of 2.24m, capped by large, dressed blocks 0.10m thick. These have chamfers on the inner and outer side, with edges 8cm thick. On the outer side of the walls is a dressed plinth course, 0.3m high with a square offset of 0.05m. All four outer corners have deeply V-jointed quoins. The area enclosed measures 9.0m by 9.0m.
Illus: The channelled Return Wall on the south-east side of the Enclosure.
The central doorway on the north-west side is of the conventional type, having backset margins and measures 0.91m between the stubs (which are 0.15m broad and 0.05m deep). Two hinge pivots are set into the south side, with two rectangular sockets mid-way up the opposite side. The south-east wall was lower than the others, being six courses or 0.55m high. The taller walls to either side return onto this face for 0.45m ending in channelled terminals. These upper courses continue the V-jointing to the corners. The central doorway in this side has been almost completely destroyed by a large tree growing in it, but the remains of an internal return can be seen. Presumably the low section of the wall was surmounted by an iron railing and was intended to be seen from the church.
Illus: Pink granite Plaque.
On the north-east wall, 1.54m from the northern corner, is a pink granite memorial plaque with a plain sandstone border. The lead lettering reads: “IN MEMORY OF/ WILLIAM GRAHAM, OF AIRTH,/ WHO DIED 21ST JUNE 1883,/ AND OF/ ELIZABETH ANSTRUTHER,/ HIS WIFE/ WHO DIED 26TH DECR 1895./ “In hope of a joyful resurrection.”
Two white limestone headstones with lead lettering stand near the west corner.
Head: stepped with circular cross: 55 x 53 x 8cm: (a) IN/ LOVING MEMORY OF/ THOMAS PHILIP GRAHAM/ of AIRTH/ (colonel Scots Guards)/ BORN OCTOBER 3RD 1841,/ DIED AT FLORENCE, ARIL 26TH 1898. (b) —/ VICTORY/ DEATH IS/ — [on circular cross]
Head: stepped with circular cross: 55 x 53 x 8cm: (a) IN/ LOVING MEMORY OF/ JEMIMA BARBARA/ WIFE OF/ THOMAS PHILIP GRAHAM OF AIRTH/ (CAPTN & LT. COL. SCOTS GUARDS)/ DAUGHTER OF/ ROBERT CLERK RATTRAY,/ OF CRAIGHALL-RATTRAY,/ DIED JUNE 16TH 1878,/ AGED 33 YEARS. (b) ihs/ — DAY BREAK [on circular cross].
A rough sketch of the burials within the walled grave was drawn up using information supplied by Sandy Gilplan, labourer, in September 1879 (Airth Papers NLS 10885/75). It is accompanied by a key:
- Miss Jean G[raham]
- Remains from old church yd
- Mary Graham (aunt)
- Tom G[raham] (grandfather)
- Miss Graham (aunt Cecil)
Along with the human remains from the old churchyard beside the castle it would appear that at least one gravestone was transferred to the enclosure, for the curved top left of a stone contains a border and the number “17” for the start of a date.
In the 1960s a wooden Scout hall was terraced into the ground to the east but this closed at the beginning of the 21st century. In 2020 a private dwelling was erected in its place and the terracing was advanced dangerously close to the private burial ground.
Graham Family Tomb, Airth SMR 1108 NS 8969 8774