The skull and crossbones gravestone is just one of the things that makes the old graveyard at Kirkandrews on the Galloway coast in SW Scotland is a fascinating place.
There are thousands of wrecks around the coastline of Britain but pirates did not usually merit a marked grave in the local cemetery. This one must have held some honour amongst the locals!
There are a number of other interesting gravestones in the cemetery, some of which have faces, others have intriguing patterns and motifs.
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Crazy tidbits of of beat information from the storyteller:
Skull and crossbones were used on gravestones as a symbol of mortality – many gravestones from the 17th-18th century have them. That’s why the pirates adopted it – to intimidate other vessels. If you surrendered you had a shot at staying alive esp if you were good for ransom, sale, or joined their crew. Once the red flag was hoisted…. that meant no quarter would be given – all would be killed.
Brilliant! Thanks Barbara – I never looked into the reasoning but just assumed it was a pirates grave as there were so many wrecks and so much smuggling etc going on in the area. You learn something new every day 🙂 Thanks again.
Fascinating! The imagery on tombstones and markers is a wonderful window into the past-thank you for sharing the images-
My pleasure. Thanks for visiting and commenting 🙂