Moray Burial Ground Research Group - MBGRG - Template

The Moray Burial Ground Research Group

MBGRG Home Location Map Site Overview Publications Reports Newsletters
Ancestor Index Research Progress Image Gallery Humour Links Latest News
Site Search

  Request Free Quote for full MI Transcripts/Photos or Publications

Contact Us

Future Research


Elgin Cathedral

Following a period of discussion and consultation with Historic Scotland, the Moray Burial Ground Research Group is pleased to announce that the Group will commence systematic recording of all the Monumental Inscriptions in Elgin Cathedral, in October 2005.

There are well over 1100 Monumental Inscriptions to be researched and recorded, at this very important historic site.

This will be a long and at times complex research project, as there are many unusual and difficult tombstones to record.

For example, one inscription can be seen implanted in one of the Cathedral walls some 20 to 30 feet above ground level.

Complex 17th Century tombstone at Elgin Cathedral.


A further problem is that there are quite a few extremely old tombstones and sarcophagi that have pre 16th century text on them carved in archaic script.
This will mean that while some of these can clearly be seen, expert knowledge will be required not only to translate them, but more importantly in the first place to transcribe them accurately. This situation is made even more complex by the fact that one of the staircases is made up of steps utilising recycled fragments of old tombstones, some with very ancient script.

Preliminary visits to the Cathedral have been made, to assess procedures to be adopted with respect to photographic recording. Much of the site will have to be photographed in bright sunlight during morning sessions, but already a good start has been made, a trial run in the north-western section having been undertaken.

It has been agreed that only experienced MBGRG members will be allowed to take part in this project. Those who are new to the Group may therefore have to undergo some form of training prior to working at the Cathedral. If you do wish to take part, whatever your level of experience, please 'Contact Us' for further details.

Working Policies

1. Site Plan
The existing site plan will be utilized during the research, and will be annotated and amended on site so that a new and more accurate plan can be constructed at the end of the project. The plan will be produced in five sections, with a key, in order that it can be accommodated on A4 size paper for publication.

2. Photography
Each stone will be photographed, the identification number of the stone to be indicated in chalk on a slate, which must appear in the photograph, placed adjacent to the stone. All photographs will be archived.

3. The CSA Gravestone Recording Forms Sheet 1 (Stone Details)
This will be completed to give an accurate state of preservation or decay of each tombstone at the date of recording, and to identify any damage. The style of, and materials used in each stone will also be recorded. This will be done separately from the MI recording. Stones will be identified by numbers as on the existing card indexes at Elgin Library and the Cathedral Office.

4. The CSA Gravestone Recording Forms Sheet 2 (MI Recording)
M.I.'s will be recorded either by individuals or by teams of two people, according to personal preference. Text may be written or printed, but must adhere to the layout on the tombstone. All names must be entered in capitals and the use of date superscripts or suffixes should be adhered to, as should punctuation.

To avoid any possible errors the identification number for each stone will be marked in an unobtrusive position on the stone before recording commences, either in chalk or as a stick-on note. It must be removed on completion of the recording. All transcriptions will be checked against the photographs before publication.

5. Drawings.
In accordance with the recommendations of Historic Scotland all stones which are deemed by the research team to be of special significance, either because of their age, architectural importance or any other feature, will be the subject of a scale drawing. This will probably apply principally to pre-1700 tombstones. The staircase treads in one of the towers will also be drawn, as these steps are made up of sections of tombstones from the Cathedral Churchyard.

Other Projects
To ensure some continuity with those of our members who prefer researching 'buried stones', we intend to proceed with at least one other site, while the Elgin Cathedral project is ongoing. At present Rafford (old) is seen as a good contender for our attentions.

KLM and BBB - October 2005