Old Mortality

Old Mortality

When on our tours you will see many martyr graves, but what you may not realise is that a good number of them were carved by the one man.
A staunch Presbyterian, Robert Paterson (1715-1801) was a stonemason who spent around 40 years of his life travelling around Scotland lovingly and steadfastly making the memorials to the martyrs. This earned him the nickname “Old Mortality”.
His skill at carving the letters and his ability to put long messages on small spaces are truly amazing.
He was the inspiration for Sir Walter Scot’s novel “Old Mortality”
Paterson died penniless and is buried in the old Kirkyard at Bankhead near Caerlaverock just south of Dumfries.
A stone was erected for him many years later in 1869.
there is also other memorials to him including a statue of him and his faithful donkey located on the location where his marital home stood in the small village of Balmaclellan.

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