Page last updated at 08:28 GMT, Friday, 18 July 2008 09:28 UK

New life breathed into graveyard

The Old Town Cemeteries date from the 16th Century
The cemeteries dates back to the 16th Century

Work to restore the unique character of Stirling's ancient Old Town cemeteries is set to begin in August.

It is hoped the individual character of burial grounds, which date from the 16th Century, can be reinstated.

The 1.7m project, being steered by Stirling Council, is expected to be completed by July next year.

The work will include the restoration of the cemeteries' original "gardenesque" style as well as restoring stone and iron work.

Records show that the area, which sits in the shadow of Stirling Castle, was used for many of the town's social gatherings in the 17th century.

The entrance to the site is also marked by the Church of the Holy Rude where James VI was crowned.

Pleasure garden

Local councillor Jim Thomson said it was vital the cemeteries were restored sympathetically.

He said: "The site bridges both the pre and post reformation periods in Scotland and, interestingly, the gardens were not laid out solely as a burial ground but also as a pleasure garden for local people."

The Old Town Cemeteries date from the 16th Century
The area was also used as the site of major social gatherings

The project will form part of a vision to make Stirling's Old Town one of the most attractive urban heritage sites in Europe.

Martin Fairley, Historic Scotland's head of investments and projects, said: "Stirling is famous for its fascinating history which is one of the reasons it is such a popular place to visit.

"The repair of the graveyards will continue the conservation of the Old Town and allow the people of Stirling and visitors to enjoy an authentic experience of what life in Stirling was like through the centuries."

Funding for the restoration work is being provided by Stirling Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.




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