Updated: Jul 1, 2020
I grew up near to New Monkland Church and as a child would be taken walks through the Graveyard by my Mother. I suppose in light of this it’s a given that I should not fear them…. many people ask why I feel so comfortable working there on projects, I’ve always replied by saying that it’s the living that you should fear not the dead!
Whilst at University I researched some of the more prominent families of the Parish for my Dissertation namely the, Rankin, Motherwell, Tennant & Mitchell families.
Several years ago, I made the decision that I was going to take images of all the Churchyard stones and index all of the names, after all what better way to preserve the parish history. The images were taken but unfortunately life got in the way and it took a bit longer before I had the chance to move onto indexing them. By the time I got around to this there was an obvious deterioration of some of the stones due to either the weather or the type of stone the memorials were made from so I am thankful I took the images when I did.
I was also fortunate enough to obtain a lair map which was noted as a Burgh of Airdrie tracing dated 1970, this was a big help in identifying names on stones that were either too worn to read or where no stone was found.
New Monkland Parish contained the market town of Airdrie & villages of Avonhead, Longriggend, Plains, Riggend, Roughrigg, Wattstown, Glenboig, Glenmavis, Greengairs and a part of Coatdyke. There was a parish church, poorhouse and the main industry from the 1800s to 1900s was weaving and coal mining. It was also known to be a fashionable resort for the wealthier citizens of Glasgow who owned homes in the area. There were some Mansion homes in the area including Cleddans, Auchingray, Rawyards & Rochsoles to name a few.
The oldest date on a stone is detailed as1685 and the most recent ones being in the 1970s. The Cemetery to the side of the churchyard opened in 1879 though burials in the Churchyard still took place after this date.
A churchyard can tell so much about an area and its people as many list additional facts such as Occupations which included Banker, Surgeon, Solicitor, Wood Merchant, Minister, Builder, Farmer, Publisher and many more.
There are also many listed who died elsewhere in the UK some of these places included:- Greenock, Beith, Durham, Irvine, Cononbie, Helensburgh, Liverpool, Tamworth, Rothesay & Middlesborough.
A lot of family graves also detail those who either moved overseas or died there. A lot wanted to ensure that their death was noted on the family grave and these detail people as dying in Pittsburg USA, Sydney Australia, Rangoon Burma, Dutch Guiana, Sassafras Australia, Centriala USA, Hamilton Ontario, Swaziland South Africa, Hong Kong & Michel, B.C. Canada to give some examples. This just proves how mobile the Scots really were!
Many War heroes are listed, the majority being from World War 1 & 2 but also commemorated is William Weddell Bizzett an M.D. of the 16th Bengal Grenadiers H.E.I.C.S. who died at Meean Meer, Lahore in 1856.
Sadly, many died in tragic accidents such as Thomas Alston who died in 1875 in an Accident at the Caledonian Railway, Glasgow or David Barr who died in 1884 being accidentally killed at work.
There is also the sad story of Alex Easton Forsyth who died in 1932 aged 14, the local newspaper states that he was cycling along Alexander Street in Airdrie when his bike slid on the tram rail causing him to fall off. Before he was able to get to his feet, he was hit by a van owned by Bryant & May, Glasgow which was driving behind him. His death certificate states he was an Apprentice Motor Mechanic who resided at Kippen Street in Airdrie and that he died at Glasgow Royal Infirmary of a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula, extensive lacerations of the leg and shock.
I also took some time to take images and index the names of all the local war memorials, VC Plaques and Disaster Memorials within the parish.
The indexed list of names & sets of Initials totals over 5300. If you think your family may be buried there you can search the list on my project page here. It also details how you can purchase images or the complete disc set relating to this project.
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