The Senior 1 pupils of Strathaven Academy took on the role of an archaeologist and explored one of the oldest sites in Strathaven; the old Cemetery as part of the Heritage Heroes Project This cemetery sits on a hill overlooking the town and the pupils discovered through researching old maps that there was once at church at the bottom of the hill called St. Mary’s built in before the 13th Century. The only clue to this church is that the oldest gravestone are still located in this area.
The pupils found out that a cemetery can tell the history of the town by looking at the surnames, jobs and how people died including some of the local legends such as James “Perlie” Wilson and the Covenators. As well, they inspected the wide range of 18th Century symbols on the gravestones some a bit gruesome such as skull and crossbones, the timer, a warning to us all that our time on this earth is short! Members from South Lanarkshire Family History Group were on hand to help them record these gravestones.
The pupils were also concerned about the conservation of the cemetery as many of the gravestones have been knocked over due to anti-social behaviour. They are currently working hard to highlight to the local community the issues surrounding the cemetery and the important history it tell can tell us all.