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past; and the spirit of the nineteenth-century breathes from the marble tablet erected in 1808 on one of the old buttresses: "To the Memory of David Burn-Let Candour Tell the Rest."
There are several tablets within the church, one of which records: "This church was founded by Peter Sandilands, pastor of Calder before A.D. 1541, and enlarged and restored by the Heritors and Feuars of Mid-Calder, A.D. 1863." Much of the ancient work remains both outside and inside the beautiful building, a full description of which is
given in Mr M'Call's History of the parish. Prominent among these ancient remains is an excellent example of a carved pew-back in oak (fig. 18), an engraving of which appears in the work just mentioned. It dates from 1595. Prior to its removal to the manse pew in the eastern end of the church it occupied a central position opposite the ancient pulpit. On the upper portion of the middle panel appear the initials I.S., and I.L., the shield which they support showing a strange rendering of the Sandilands arms, a curious Norman doorway with turrets and flags filling the lower part of the panel. The date and initials R.A.W.
occupy a portion of another panel, the remainder being beaded over their entire length. Scriptural quotations form the legend proper, which is crowned by a semicircular panel showing a thistle ornament arranged in three radiating branches.
It may here be noted that there is preserved in the National Museum the upper portion, or head, of an ancient sculptured cross which was
Fig. 19. A Carpenter's Memorial.
found at Mid-Calder. This fragment shows clear traces of early origin in the disposition of its ornamental lines, which are simply but effectively treated.
The oldest inscription decipherable "among the tombs" is that of Joseph Douglas, "Who depairted this lyfe the 20 day of Aprile anno dom. 1636," but the stone is of no symbolic or artistic interest. Another plain memorial, of 1778, commemorates certain youthful members of the family of Matthew Comb, the inscription concluding
with the fresh and lively quotation: "To die young, said one, is the leaving of a superfloues feast before the drunken cups are presented. The only churchyard remnant of an artistic character is a quaintly designed slab which shows a couple of winged cherub-heads, a skul and hour-glass over the pilasters flanking the undecipherable inscription.
The only other slab that is worthy of record is the memorial of a carpenter (fig. 19), a much-worn monument, now placed against the south wall of the churchyard. The emblems of mortality, a skull and cross-bones superimposed, are of the usual grisly type; a fractured hour-glass leads the thought towards the secular symbols, a square carved in bold relief, and an incised axe. Very evidently the axe was an after-thought (as the design is completely proportioned without it), and has been added to demonstrate that no mere mason lay buried here. A joiner's compass and a spade appear on the other side of this stone, but no date or inscription is traceable.
The burial ground of St Cuthbert's Church, East Calder, is as rich in graveyard symbolism as its western neighbour is poor. But there is not in this roadside "howff" the variety of design found in many churchyards, a strong family resemblance affecting the whole, and making doubly welcome a trio of notable remnants, the reputed twelfth-century church, the fragment of a medieval cross built into its western gable, and the massive "Templar Stone" which, in itself, would redeem any site from contempt.
Winged cherubs, life- and death-heads, hearts, bones, and other symbols of mortality abound, and on a comparatively modern monument occurs the only representation of costume to be seen here, a bewigged figure of the Georgian period, supported by a mill-rhynd under an open book, and a coffin over an hour-glass. A very crude stone of 1688 shows several quaint details, among them a curious portrait face. "Mento Morom" is its rendering of the common legend, and it bears three hearts, one of them being inverted. An interesting stone of 1722 shows a
winged cherub, two heads, a heart, and a sand-glass; another old stone shows a couple of single bones, and a coffin in bold relief; another a crude face, crossed ribs, and cross-bones; a small slab, of 1673, exhibiting one of the most archaic incisions of a winged cherub ever made.
Fig. 20. A Typical Example.
A single example of these crude sculptures may be advanced as typical of the whole. The photograph (fig. 20) shows the west face of a sharply pedimented slab, with a deeply moulded panel, well filled with the emblems peculiar to the site. In the upper portion of the panel is a rather pleasant female face, set in a "mutch "-like arrangement of hair, for hair it is meant to be, as its parting in the centre clearly shows. Under that,
and in a line, are a couple of hearts inverted and a couple of ribs intersected, both of these emblems being a distinctive feature of the somewhat insipid and much-rounded sculpture of this churchyard. The east face bears the inscription, the date 1753, a couple of small heads placed horizontally, neck to neck-another original feature-a monogram, and a couple of spiral pilasters supporting winged cherub-heads. Serpents ornament the panelled sides, and the slopes of the top bear some rude projections which it is impossible to characterise.
The ancient church of St Cuthbert was founded in the twelfth century, and if the existing roofless but well-preserved building cannot boast of the great age claimed for it by some writers, it certainly is a very venerable structure. The remains of fifteenth-century tracery appear in its east window, the old doorways near it are of contemporary work, and the west gable shows, by the insertion now to be noticed, that it cannot be regarded as being older than these other portions of the fabric.
The west gable of the church might be described as being partly ancient and partly the result of very old repairs. The picturesque belfry is, presumably, of fifteenth-century work, and is a pleasing object both to artist and antiquary; but the great charm of the gable is a remarkable sculptured stone (fig. 21) an insertion which bears clear traces of fourteenth-century influences, and has an appearance at once distinguished and artistic.
This interesting fragment shows very clearly the elaborately carved head of a Maltese cross, with a portion of its stem. This is not only attached to the circular nimbus, but runs right through it to a forked apex, a feature rather unusual in nimbus-bound crosses. Foliation of a somewhat elaborate character springs from the shaft and the nimbus, giving to the whole an effect peculiarly rich and pleasing. The stone measures about 20 inches by 14 inches, and has originally been about 20 inches in width, as may be determined by the proportions remaining.
1 It measures 70 feet long by 24 feet wide, externally.
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