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St Michael's Kirkyard, Dumfries A Presbyterian Valhalla

Author : James Stevens Curl

Publisher : Holywood: NERFL Press, Feb. 2021
ISBN: 978-0-9529780-8-4 (hbk)

The burial-ground attached to St Michael's and South parish church, Dumfries, in south-west Scotland, has existed as a place of interment for at least a millennium. Of extraordinarily high density - probably containing no fewer than eighty thousand burials - it is embellished with an amazing array of funerary monuments and tombstones, some of superb architectural quality, and many of astonishing size and grandeur considering the relatively small area it occupies. In terms of its scale and architectural character, St Michael's kirkyard is unique among provincial churchyards within the United Kingdom: this book describes its historical importance and æsthetic qualities, illustrating some of its finest monuments, and drawing on a remarkable cache of original architectural drawings by Walter Newall held by the Dumfries and Galloway Archive Service, Ewart Library, in Dumfries itself. The kirkyard also houses the handsome Neo-Classical mausoleum of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, almost an exact contemporary of his fellow-Freemason, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, so the book will also contain investigations into aspects of how the tomb and monument commemorating Burns respond to the man, his poetry, and his times.

FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS of the Nerfl Press's handsome facsimile edition of J. C. Loudon's great book on Cemeteries, published in 2019, comes another volume, also a Limited, Numbered Edition, casebound, with 150 illustrations, most in colour, all produced to a very high standard, designed, printed, and bound by the same team which produced the Loudon tome. It has a Foreword by the expert on monuments and memorials, Roger Bowdler, and an Epilogue by the debunker of Rosslyn mythology, Robert L. D. Cooper.

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