Plague Grave

When the Great Plague of 1645 swept north from Edinburgh, crossing the River Forth into the Kingdom of Fife, it claimed numerous victims, among them three young children from the village of Culross.

Robert, Agnes and Jeannie Bald died on the same day – September 14 – and, like other plague victims, their bodies were not interred in the parish cemetery but instead buried on the lonely moor above the village.

Their father James, a girdlesmith (maker of iron girdle plates), ensured they were not forgotten – unlike many plague victims – by carving a tombstone for the isolated grave, inscribing it with the names of his son and two daughters and a crown and hammer, the insignia of his trade.

Over three centuries later, the tombstone and grave survive, now encircled by forestry. The inscription is no longer legible and the slab is cracked but people still occasionally leave flowers and toys and colourful decorations hang on surrounding branches.

The grave is not difficult to find, lying just off the old Moor Road, about a kilometre west of the ruined 16th century church and cemetery at West Kirk (one of the filming locations for Outlander), to the north of Culross. The Moor Road is a well walked right of way and the grave is signed off it.

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