“A tumulus (plural tumuli) is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli also are known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgräber, or kurgans, and may be found throughout much of the world. A cairn, which is a mound of stones built for various purposes, might also originally have been a tumulus.”
For the people who live in Millgate Road, take a minute or two to stop at the piece of open land in between 94 & 96 and spare a thought!! This is the site of an old burial ground and an even older Tumulus.
The first visual record of the Tumulus is found on the 1843 map of Hamilton and it was situated on the lands of Meikle Earnock. The burial mound was located between two buildings, one called Fairhall and the other called Fairhill, Fairhill being the grander of the two, with lovely gardens and even had a sun dial listed on the map.
There was a document written in 1845 by W Meek and W Buchan and it read:
“This tumulus is at present about 12ft in diameter and 8ft high. It was formerly much larger and hollow at the top. When broken into, several urns were found, containing cremations with human bones, some of them accompanied by the tooth of a horse”
Next to the Tumulus there is an area, still on the farm of Meikle Earnock and there appears to be another area enclosed for a burial ground by the proprietors of Meikle Earnock around the beginning of the 18th century. There was an account written in 1874 stating that the oldest tombstone observed having the date 1727, a plain mausoleum, has been more recently erected inside it, but it, and the wall, surrounding the cemetery have become much dilapidated.
The land was re-visited again in 1974 and another document read, “This is a spread earthen mound about 12.0m in diameter and up to 0.8m in height. It is surrounded by a modern housing scheme. Visited by OS (JLD) 22 March 1961 This cairn, situated between Millgate Road and Neilsland Road in the S part of Hamilton, is a grass-covered mound of earth and stone measuring about 10m in diameter and 0.8m in height.”
I spoke with Paul Veverka of The Blantyre Project and he and I have come to the conclusion that there must still be bodies buried on the site of the old grave yard! Paul who has done many years of research in Blantyre said that if the bodies were removed, then the council would have built on the site of the old grave yard.
I don’t know if there is marker on this site to say what is here, but perhaps South Lanarkshire Council should have a monument as a sign of respect to the people who are buried here.