Greek Inscriptions

Ian McHaffie, who taught Classics and Religious Education at George Watson’s College, Edinburgh, from 1970 to 2005, has recently published the first of a series of books about Greek inscriptions which can be found in Scottish graveyards.  This book, Greek Secrets Revealed – Hidden Scottish History Uncovered – Book 1 – Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 2019, ISBN 978-0-9525026-3-0), includes five inscriptions from the Grange Cemetery.

Ian writes that a surprising number of Greek inscriptions from post-Reformation times can be found in Scotland – many of them in Edinburgh. In this book he translates and explains these inscriptions and teases out the background.

A summary of Ian’s research about the Grange Cemetery inscriptions is available, with their translations, by clicking on each of the names below and a review of the whole of this first book of the series, together with full contact details for Ian, is available at:

The Grange Cemetery Inscriptions

α: John Mackintosh (1822-1851) was a student of Thomas Chalmers and died while studying in Europe in preparation for training as a Free Church of Scotland minister.  A book about his life by his friend the Rev. Norman Macleod includes fascinating details of his travels and contemporary life and views. 

α – Mackintosh inscription

β: William Menzies: the family memorial of William Menzies (1817-84), whose grandfather, also William Menzies (c.1718-1793), was Solicitor of His Majesty’s Customs in Scotland and had Rock House (later of photographic fame) built for him on Calton Hill in the late 1760s.

β – Menzies inscription

γ: Ralph Hamilton Law (1915-67) & his wife Nancy Easton Murphie (1916-2002): Ralph was a civil servant and Nancy a teacher, who was head of St Denis’s Girls School 1971-76; Nancy married their long-standing friend, John Manuel Cook, a classical archaeologist, in 1977, after his first wife’s death the previous year.

γ – Law inscription

δ: Peter Steele (1794-1871) & his wife Eliza Peddie (1800-1866): Peter was an outstanding academic who was Rector of Dalkeith Grammar School 1826-43. Ousted for joining the Free Church at the Disruption he subsequently taught Classics and literature at Moray House Free Church Training College from its establishment in 1848 until his death. Eliza Peddie’s brother was ship’s surgeon on the disastrous Franklin expedition which set off in search of the North West passage in 1845.

δ – Steele inscription

ε: John Gordon Douglas (1839-1910) & his wife Harriet Elizabeth Mill (1854-1917): John Gordon Douglas was a West Indies merchant, born in Jamaica, who retired to Edinburgh c.1883/84. He married Harriet in Edinburgh in April 1882. Their son, William, was born in Jamaica in March 1883 and their daughters, Annabella and Harriet, in Edinburgh in 1884 and 1886 respectively. In Edinburgh, he was an active campaigner for total abstinence.

ε - Douglas inscription
ε – Douglas inscription

The map below is interactive and shows the sites of these burials with Greek inscriptions. Hover the cursor to see the names or, for more information, click on the letters on the map or click on the name at the foot of the page.

α: John Mackintosh (1822-1851)

β: William Menzies (1817-1884)

γ: Ralph (1915-1967) and Nancy Law (1916-2002)

δ: Peter Steele (1794-1871)

ε: John Gordon Douglas (1839-1910)