Posted by: christinelaennec | October 20, 2013

A Quaker cemetery in Aberdeenshire

Yesterday morning found me happily knitting and reading on the train to Aberdeenshire, to visit my friend Roobeedoo.  We had a great visit, and amongst other things she took me to the Quaker cemetery in Kinmuck.  It was established in 1680, and I think it reflects the order and simplicity of Quaker beliefs:

Cemetery of the Society of Friends, Kinmuck, Aberdeenshire.  October 2013.

Cemetery of the Society of Friends, Kinmuck, Aberdeenshire. October 2013.

The dates on the gravestones don’t have the names of the months, but their numbers –  “4 month 15th” meaning “April 15th”:


Gravestone of Joseph Brantinham, Quaker Cemetery, Kinmuck, Aberdeenshire.

As always when looking at 19th-century gravestones, we saw many of people who had died young.

In earlier days there was a problem with the medical students of the University of Aberdeen coming to raid the graveyard for dissectable bodies, so the Quakers used a kist to keep their dead in until they were safely buried.

Roobeedoo reluctantly posing for a photo.

Roobeedoo reluctantly allowing me to take her photo.

My hostess was strangely shy about having her photo taken – don’t you love her cardigan?  It’s the Staccatto Jacket, made originally for her daughter.  Just to be fair, here is a photo of me:

Me in the Quaker cemetery.

Me in the Quaker cemetery.

It was a very rainy day, and we dried off by the fire at her house afterwards – with delicious apple cake and tea.  She had just finished blocking TinCanKnit’s thistle scarf.  (The link at the top of this post will take you to her post about it.)

At Roobeedoo's house:  just-off-the-blocking-mat scarf, stripey cardigan and cool boots.

At Roobeedoo’s house: just-off-the-blocking-mat scarf, stripey Staccatto cardigan and cool boots.

I was very sorry to say goodbye, and took the train back into Aberdeen.  I had a little bit of time to do a few errands before catching the train back to Glasgow.  It was absolutely bucketing down!

Looking towards the harbour, Aberdeen, October 2013.

Looking towards the harbour, Aberdeen, October 2013.

The marble floors of Aberdeen station were awash.  The monitors had a “Special Notice” asking people to take care, and there were small forests of yellow cones and even the occasional pail to catch a leak in the roof.

Aberdeen train station, also awash.

A very wet Aberdeen train station.

I said a fond farewell as the train pulled out of the station, over the River Dee, and on around the lighthouse.  The coast was plunged in deep mist, so I only glimpsed the occasional rushing waterfall underneath.  Even the cows in the fields were hardly visible.  And then it was home again, home again, jiggety jog!

Thank you, Roobeedoo, for a wonderful afternoon!



  1. What a magnificent stripy cardigan! Is there a reason why the Quakers did the dates that way on their gravestones? I’ve never heard of that before. I remember witnessing rain leaking through the roof of Aberdeen train station, I suppose the roof is quite difficult to get at to fix. It’s great that you can still pop up to Aberdeen for a visit, and a nice train ride to boot (even if you couldn’t see much on that occasion).

  2. It was my pleasure Christine! We must do it again soon 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on carrielouisemichelle and commented:
    Interesting, will have to check it out!!!

  4. Sounds really interesting:) must have a look sometime.

  5. Oh Christine thank you so much for sharing your lovely trip. Seems this blog is the only way I get to go anywhere lately. The pictures showed such a peaceful time in the cemetery and by the fire. Your picture of the train station made me wish we had some of them around here.

  6. I’m glad you had a good day out, albeit a damp one. Aberdeen looks positively awash.

  7. Oh, how apt that you visited Roobedoo. I have her and your blogs next to each other on my list, and I’d just read her post about the scarf you photographed. It felt as though I’d spent the day with you both!

  8. That does sound like a beautiful day, Christine. I like to visit cemeteries too, just to think about people and the way they live their lives – how we are all connected somehow, even to those how have departed.

    And yes, I do love her sweater. My best friend lives a half day’s drive from me, so I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like. When we do get together, though, we usually while away our days in a knitting frenzy. Her son recently told us, “Y’all had better stop that. You might get arrested.” 😀

  9. Thanks for the photos of the Quaker cemetery. Very interesting!

    The early Friends began using numbers for days of the week and months because so many of the names were derived from pagan gods.

  10. Reblogged this on Beatz kane Blog 143.

  11. I’m so glad you enjoyed a visit with a special friend, Christine, even if it was a bit soggy outside. Your friend’s beautiful striped cardigan, and the thistle lace scarf are way beyond my knitting ability. I loved seeing both projects and greatly admire them!

    Yesterday, my blogging friend, Teresa, and I went out to capture some views of Mt. Hood and the wonderful colors of autumn around us. I posted some shots of MH, but Teresa is a gifted photographer, and got many views you might enjoy and can see if you click on her name in my post.

    Gracie xx

  12. Braving the elements to visit a dear friend, and rounding things off with apple cake and tea, by the fire. Sounds like a great way to spend the day.

  13. Too bad the weather was not agreeable for your trip, but it does make having cake and tea by the fire with a good friend that much more enjoyable! Lovely knitting and descriptions of your journey. I do love visiting old graveyards, too. Imagining how they lived always fills me with a solemn curiosity and kinship. So nice to see your happy smile. xo

  14. So glad you got up to Aberdeen for a quick visit! I’m sure it made a difference! Will be in touch soon….

  15. I, too, like wandering around old cemeteries. There’s one on St. Simons Island near the old Fort Frederica that made a big impression on me. One family lost so many babies! One child lived until she was two. I said to Himself, “Don’t you know they thought, ‘Maybe this one will live’?”

  16. Dear all,
    Thanks so much for your comments! Blogging is such a great way to feel connected to people. I’m glad there are fellow cemetery-lovers out there. And yes, the stories in them are often very sobering and make me realise how very lucky I am. I often think of Norman Vincent Peale saying to a very down friend, “I’ll take you somewhere where no-one has any worries.” Of course, it was the cemetery.

    Lucinda, I well recall taking the train from Portland, Oregon to Washington DC when I was 12. North Dakota took most of a day to cross. Funny to think it was such an important lifeline 150 years ago.

    Melinda, I was very touched by your comment. I’m very lucky to have Roobeedoo as a friend – I believe your paths crossed at a knitting event?

    Constance Ann, thank you so much for solving the riddle of the Quaker method of identifying the months! I never would have thought of it, but it makes perfect sense.

  17. Lovely post, and I’m another one of those people who think cemeteries are fascinating!

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