Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Hogback grave marker at Luss Church burial ground, Scotland.

This evening, I am reporting on an ancient grave marker which can be seen in the burial ground associated with Luss Parish Church on the banks of Loch Lomond, Scotland.

This particular monument is commonly known as a ‘hogback’ due to its shape, a description which was invented in Victorian times. However, the monument itself probably dates from the 10th century and represents a personal memorial designed to lie along the grave at ground level. In common with others of its type which are found in Scotland and England:

  • The monument consists of a solid block of stone carved into a long, hump-backed shape.
  • Features rows of ‘roof tiles’ on top perhaps representing wooden roof shingles.
  • Has elaborate carvings on the sides.

It appears that the ‘hogback’ style originated in Anglo-Scandinavian Yorkshire ( N.E. England) during the 10th century with the fashion spreading N.W. into Cumbria ( N.W. England), Strathclyde ( S.W. Scotland) and then further into what is now Scotland.

The geographical distribution of hogbacks in Scotland is linked to marine trading along inland waterways and sea-routes as opposed to actual Scandinavian (Viking) settlement.

This particular monument at Luss is smaller than its contemporaries found elsewhere in England and Scotland.

The hogback at Luss confirms the antiquity of this Christian site which can be traced backĀ 1500 years to the 6th century and the time of Irish missionary Kessog ( c AD 460-520).

Hogback grave marker at Luss Church burial ground.

Luss Parish Church from Loch Lomond, Scotland.

Entrance to Heritage Centre

This evening, I am continuing my Govan theme with focus on the Fairfield Govan Heritage Centre which is located atĀ 1048 Govan Road, Glasgow, Scotland.

The Heritage Centre enables visitors to connect with a time (about 1900) when one-quarter of all ships afloat were built on the River Clyde and the Fairfield yard was preeminent producing a wide range of vessels including liners, steamships and naval vessels.

Facade at Fairfields

More information on Fairfields and Govan:

  • Driven by the shipbuilding industry, Govan grew rapidly, between 1850 and 1900, with population reaching 90,000 by 1912.
  • Shipbuilding at Govan was influenced by deepening of the River Clyde.
  • The Fairfield building was designed by architect, John Keppie and built between 1889 and 1891. This facilitated a fully integrated ship design and construction process from drawing offices to engine works to mould hall.
  • The Fairfield building today has been restored and has achieved the highest ‘A’ rank listing for heritage buildings.
  • Behind the old Fairfield facade ship construction continues under the aegis of British military defence contractor, BAe Systems.

Boardroom at Fairfield Heritage Centre.

Shipyard workers.

Govan Dry Docks

This evening, I am posting information on a unique, tangible link with Glasgow’s shipbuilding past. This is the former Govan Dry Docks which were built between 1869 and 1898 to facilitate repair and maintenance of ships’ hulls. These docks were closed in 1988. A contentious proposal to build up to 800 new homes on the site is currently under consideration by the relevant authorities.

Govan is part of Glasgow in S.W. Scotland.

For more information on Govan refer yesterday’s blog post.