Kinnaird Gravestone

Just over half of a rectangular recumbent stone lies in a shelter belt to the south-west of Kinnaird House (at NS 8783 8479).  It has suffered from plough damage and it would seem that at some stage it was lifted from the arable field to the north and dumped on the edge of the wooded area for safe-keeping and to remove an obstruction.  The sides are neatly squared and 0.13m thick.  The remaining stone measures 1.92 by 1.34m, but the inscription, which runs around the upper edge, is incomplete.  Crossed long bones occupy the central area, and there is the slightest of hints that a skull was depicted above them – these are conventional symbols of mortality.  The words are separated by lozenge shaped stops and read “—S.TO.ALEXANDER.GA/LBREATH.W/HO.ENDED.—.”  In both cases the letters “ND” have been ligatured.  A drawing by Brian Watters shows that two additional small fragments from the indented corner continued the text, after a short gap, with the word “LY/F”.

The beginning of the inscription is important because it suggests that it was not actually Alexander Galbraith who was being commemorated, rather, it was a family member or his servant.  The relationship ends with the letter “S” and the best fit is provided by the word “SPOUS” though something along the lines of “SON WAS” is possible.  The missing part of the stone would also have contained the date.  The style of the lettering and the stops, the use of ligatures and the phrase “spous to”, all point to a mid-17th century date.

Kinnaird was in the parish of Larbert and we would have expected the burial to have taken place in the precincts of the church that had recently been restored by Robert Bruce of Kinnaird.  That it was not suggests that this may have been another victim of the plaque then prevalent.  Galbraith was presumably a well to do tenant of the Bruce family and may have been related to Lieutenant Galbraith who acted as the governor of Callendar House, then a castle, in 1651 when it was besieged by Cromwell.

Galbreath gravestone   SMR 2187       NS 8806 8473

G.B. Bailey, 2021