Muiravonside Graveyard lies mainly to the east and south of Muiravonside Parish Church. The church you see today dates back to 1804, when it replaced one built in 1648. The earlier church seems to have stood in exactly the same place given the absence of earlier foundations and the fact that early graves stand close to the walls of the later church.
Muiravonside Graveyard can be found beside the bank of the Union Canal, between Falkirk and Linlithgow, and although it lies within a mile of Junction 4 on the M9, its location feels surprisingly remote. The nearest villages are Maddiston and Whitecross.
It is reached from the minor road that connects the two along a side road that follows the east side of the canal. The church car park is also a useful starting point for those wishing to view the nearby ruins of Almond Castle.
The gateway to the parish church leads to the old graveyard. It is this you are looking for rather than the large modern cemetery on the hillside above. What you find at Muiravonside is a remarkable collection of very well preserved Scottish gravestones, especially from the 1700s. It is a particular joy to find them in such good condition given the all-too-common mistreatment of old gravestones you find elsewhere.
Some of the detail on view is fascinating. Muiravonside has a number of stones obviously carved by the same mason, a man who had a particular liking for figures who at first appear to have had a serious tobacco problem, because they are standing on coffins and smoking pipes as large as or larger than the figures themselves. It turns out these are depictions of angels blowing trumpets rather than an early anti-smoking campaign.
At least two other stones carry symbols comprising three castles, though in different patterns. A number of stones refer to "lairs" in their lettering, burial places paid for in advance.
Another notable feature on many of the stones at Muiravonside is carving on the shoulders and sides of many of the stones, some of it highly elaborate. The carvings on view include skulls, heads, angels and mortals, as well as symbols often found on the front or rear face of stones such as crossed bones and the hourglass.
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Grid Ref: NS 956 770