Once the site of a church which was built in 1617, the Old
Burial Ground has many old memorials, the oldest of which
dates back to 1679. Here you will find a simple tombstone
which is detailed with a wheel and an angel with an axe. This
is said to be the grave of the first wheelwright in Gala.
Within the grounds is the family tomb of Mungo Park, the Borders-born
explorer of Africa.
Here also is the Gala Aisle, built in 1636 by Captain Hugh
Scott of Gala who served in the Scots army which was allied
to the English Parliamentarians in the English Civil War of
the 1640s. He returned to Gala in 1644 where he died, possibly
as a result of battle wounds. The Aisle was to the side of
the main kirk building and there may have been one of similar
size opposite. When the kirk was demolished in 1813, the side
walls of the Aisle were increased by roughly two metres (almost
seven feet) and the end closed off with a wall and gothic
window. There is a memorial within the Aisle to the Parish
Minister, Mark Duncan, who was killed at the Battle of Dunbar
in 1651 while opposing Cromwell's advance into Scotland. The
tablet above the window originally had the inscription
"GLORIE . TO . GOD . IN . HEVIN
PEACE . IN . EARTH . &
GVDVIL . AMONG . MEN."
In the late 1820s, there was a gruesome trade in dead bodies
(known as body snatching) which were supplied to the Medical
School in Edinburgh. This was the period of Burke and Hare
and the locals were determined that their graveyard would
not be robbed. They organised themselves into armed patrols
to keep watch over the graves. Although William Burke lived
for a while in Peebles, there is no evidence that he and his
partner visited Galashiels to carry out their grim work.
To the right of the Old Burial Ground is St Peter's Episcopal
Church and School.
Next: St Peter's
Episcopal Church & School