Clyne, Ascoile CL-A
Jun 1, 2003

ASCOILE Burial Ground, Strathbrora, Clyne
Our code CL-A
Fully transcribed & photographed by
Christine Stokes & Sheila Mackay
June 2003

Ascoile is a small remote burial ground along the beautiful road by Loch Brora. In order to visit this burial ground you need to leave your car at the bottom of a lane and walk up towards the house on the hill. This is private property and the owner does not appreciate cars brought up. From the gate near the house you walk in front of the house to the burial ground. Please remember that this is private ground and permission must be asked to walk. It must be difficult having an old burial ground in front of your home!

This tiny little burial ground is in a very sad condition. There are only a few old stones here and some of these are now broken and becoming illegible. It is believed locally that there are further stones under the grass. Clyne Heritage Society are aware of this and plan on looking at this graveyard in the future.

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CLYNE - Brora (CL-B)
Jun 1, 2003

0ur code CL-B
This cemetery was opened about 1880 but was not much used until the early 20th century. At this time Clynekirkton was becoming full and the population becoming more concentrated in the village of Brora. This cemetery is still used by the people of Brora today.

The cemetery, and its new extension, contains about 880 tombstones which can roughly be split as follows - around the walls about 60 tombstones mostly before 1950, several vertical plots immediately inside the gates with about 250 tombstones. This is the oldest part of the cemetery going back to about 1880. Eighteen horizontal plots containing about 540 tombstones mostly from about 1940 onwards and the new extension containing only about 30 tombstones.

During 2002 & 2003 this cemetery was visited, photographed & transcribed by Bill O’Brien, Brora; Christine Stokes, England & Sheila Mackay, Edinburgh

The following inscriptions include all the oldest stones in this cemetery. Very recent stones are not shown.

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CLYNE - Kirkton (CL-C)
Jan 1, 2004

Clyne Kirkton Burial Ground, Clyne
Our code CL-C
© Christine Stokes 2007
The available church records begin only in 1834, but it is known that a church was built in 1775 at Clynekirkton, on the site of a former church. This church was dedicated to St. Aloyne and according to a minister writing in 1908, it had to be enlarged in 1826 and the enlarged church had three aisles and three galleries and could seat nearly 1000 people. At the disruption in 1843, the great majority of the congregation left the parish church so the galleries were removed and seating for 300 was ample for those who remained.
In 1889/1890 Mr Houston of Kintradwell Farm offered to present a harmonium to assist with the service of Praise, but the congregation rejected the offer. However , the new minister, the Rev. J. Spark, persuaded them to have a meeting of the congregation in the public school and after some discussion it was agreed to accept Mr Houston's offer. Mr Spark was so pleased with the decision that he wrote in bold lettering in the Kirk Session minute book - May 4th 1890- Instrumental Music introduced to the services.
At the beginning of the century the church at Clynekirkton was found to be too remote for the population. Strath Brora had been so tragically cleared and now the majority of people lived in Brora village. Clyne Kirkton closed it’s doors for the last time in 1906. The minister at the time, the Reverend J. Spark, contributed greatly to the smooth passage of the worship and the congregation to the new church in Victoria Road. The new church was dedicated in June 1907.

Christine Stokes has visited and photographed all stones at Clyne Kirkton during 2002, 2003 & 2004. I have to say that this is the most difficult burial ground I have covered. The first visit more so than later ones after the burial ground was cleaned up by Clyne Heritage with help from POSH members. Biggest problem was photographing over so many years, waiting for stones to be brought out of the mess but hopefully now have most of them recorded.

Carole McBeath, Glasgow, has kindly helped with checking the transcriptions from photographs - a difficult job! Iain Sutherland, Yorkshire, & Grant Forsyth, Fife, helped with manual work during the big clean up plus Ron Patrick, Ontario, painted the old gates. POSH also paid money for the necessary tools as well as a substantial donation at the close of POSH.

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Clyne - Sciberscross CL-D
Jun 1, 2002

SCIBERSCROSS Burial ground, Strathbrora, Clyne - Our code CL-D
Bill O’Brien, Brora, photographed and checked each stone here in 2002.
Our gallery also includes some new photographs taken by Christine Stokes in September 2004.

Six streams and six lochs feed the River Brora before it flows down the Strath past Sciberscross to Loch Brora and the sea. A land of heather hills and tumbling burns, of stag and grouse, plover, eagle, pugnacious brown trout and magnificent salmon. Sciberscross is a lonely, ancient, burial ground, a few yards from the north bank of the River Brora. A small rectangular burial ground which has a 6 foot high wall of dry stone around it. The site is one of quiet beauty, and the nearest farm is half a mile to the north west. It is believed there was at one time a priest's cell by the walls, but all trace of it has now gone. There was, too, a baptismal font at one period, but it is said this ended up in the river.

Inside the walls are many flat or ground stones covering graves. Some only just visible, the majority with no markings of any kind, a few with simple initials and some which carry armorial bearings. It is said that this was a favourite burial ground of the Murray’s of Aberscross and many Sutherlands. However few such stones (if indeed there ever were any) have survived.

Sir Robert Gordon described a foray into ‘Strath Broray’ in the year 1542 by Donald Mackay of Strathnaver, "who took a prey of goods". He was opposed by John Moray of Aberscross and others. They overtook and surprised Mackay at Aldy-Ne-Beth (Airidh-sleibh three miles west of the cemetery). It was apparently a pretty bloody affair, "diverse others of the bravest men in Strathnaver being slain". Were all the dead buried at Sciberscross? We will never know!

Gordon makes mention often of the Murray’s of Aberscross (two and a half miles east of Rogart). Sciberscross and Aberscross are traditionally the places where the earliest Murray’s landed in Sutherland after being driven out of the Province of Moray in the 11th and 12th centuries. Cairns and hut circles of ancient date abound everywhere along the road, and on the hillsides - probably early Pictish settlements.

Although undoubtedly there are many more people buried here the following are the only stones with any marking on them left at Sciberscross.

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