"Classes" and "Lairs" in cemeteries?

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Andersonic
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:48 pm
Location: England

"Classes" and "Lairs" in cemeteries?

Post by Andersonic » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:20 pm

I've just come upon two records that I suspect may be linked, in records for Cummertrees cemetery Dumfries area, both for a Thomas Ross, one in 1884, and another in 1938, and both quote a "Lair" number of 214.
There's also a "Class" of burial given, which I suppose means how elaborate ( or possibly deep?) the burial may have been, but I'm uncertain what a "Lair" is, or was.
If the numbers being the same indicates a family plot, then has anyone an idea how I might discover who else was in the same plot? /That might possibly assist me tracing Thomas's history and verifying the relationship.The ancestry records only give the date of burial, not age at death, in either case.
I tried going pages ahead and behind hoping to discover other burials in the same plot, but that was unproductive.
Guidance as to how I might find out more would be appreciated. Thank you for your time & attention reading this.

WilmaM
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Location: Falkirk area

Re: "Classes" and "Lairs" in cemeteries?

Post by WilmaM » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:56 pm

To answer 1 question:
A 'Lair' is a particularly Scottish term for a burial area or grave plot. They vary in depth depending on the ground conditions.
For instance Cardonald Cemetery in Glasgow have 4-deep Lairs, Hawkhead in Paisley is for 3 burials. Families bought 'Double Lair' plots so 6 or 8 could be buried in side by side plots. These examples are from my own experience.


I had a quick look on SP there is a Thomas Ross dying in Cummertrees in 1938 aged 86. That would make him 32 in 1884 so it is probably him buying his own grave plot and then using it in 1938. Would be worth looking see if a wife or child died in 1884 and he bought it for them.
Nothing obvious jumping out on SP - but I'm off for mince n tatties so I'll look later.

Back - I can recommend my son's mince n tatties ;)

To find out who else is there, the gravestone is the obvious answer.
Dumfries family history Society have a book of Memorial Inscriptions for Cummertrees, https://dgfhs.org.uk/publications/
I wonder if somebody has it or can look it up? or anyone up for a wee wander?

The Church at Cummertrees seems to be holiday home now, so no records on site.

I looked for your Thomas in the census 1881 has one of the right age but he's living in Dryfesdale, Dumfries which is a wee bit for north for Cummertrees. Unmarried he lives with his sister Jane 50 and niece Jessie 20.

Andersonic
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:48 pm
Location: England

Re: "Classes" and "Lairs" in cemeteries?

Post by Andersonic » Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:19 pm

Thank you, WilmaM. I've now a far clearer idea of what a lair may be. I think I'd some idea that a lair might be to secure a body/bodies until decomposition rendered it useless to anatomists - too much hearing about Burke and Hare, I suppose.
The Thomas Ross I'd got would have been older - he was born about 1813/4, apparently, but I've never managed to get further than that. He was married, but his wife survived him, in Dumfries, and at least one of his children headed south into Cumberland for the rest of her life, so I don't think the chap can be "mine", as he died in the 1870s. I never managed to find out what he did before he started keeping a Public House.
I'll have a hunt to try and find out about those M.I.s. Twice before M.I.s have put me on the right track in the past.
Thank you again for your interest and effort.

WilmaM
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Location: Falkirk area

Re: "Classes" and "Lairs" in cemeteries?

Post by WilmaM » Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:43 pm

A Mort-Safe is the name you are thinking of - for keeping the coffins safe from body snatchers.

jgmills
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Location: Dumfries and Galloway

Re: "Classes" and "Lairs" in cemeteries?

Post by jgmills » Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:53 pm

Hi I was in Dumfries family history society this morning, so did a quick look at the MIs book for Cummertrees and Trailtrow.

There are no Ross names in the booklet at all, I am afraid. Where did you get the information you have?

John

apanderson
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Re: "Classes" and "Lairs" in cemeteries?

Post by apanderson » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:47 am

Just to add my tuppenceworth ......

In Sighthill Cemetery in Glasgow, there are 4 references for each Lair.

1. Section (numerical, Section 1 to Section 14)
2. Class (which in this case is another name for a row and is alphabetical - A - Z)
3. Lair No. (numerical, No. 1 - 1000 etc.)
4. Depth (8 feet up to 4 feet, i.e. sufficient depth for 4 adult burials)

There is also another reference which is 'Script No.' This doesn't have anything to do with a location - it's simply a receipt.

If there were a number of infant/young child deaths, they could be buried at the same depth but across the way rather than up and down so even although there was enough room to bury 4 adults, in theory, it could hold many more children.

Anne

Andersonic
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:48 pm
Location: England

Re: "Classes" and "Lairs" in cemeteries?

Post by Andersonic » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:38 pm

Many thanks to you all.
I think it was indeed a "mort-safe" that I was thinking of, WilmaM.

In response to the absence of Ross entries in Dumfries Record Offices for the Cummertrees cemetery, jgmills, I'm afraid that I can suggest no reason why they're not there. I think I originally found them via a link from "Ancestry" or similar, although it was some time back, and I've been hunting around trying to find what happened to "My Thomas Ross", who had Jane McLauchlan ( spelling varies) as wife, as well as where / who he came from, as there's another Thomas Ross of similar age, also with a Scottish wife called Jane (Affleck) that some trees sort of meld with mine, creating a very odd family, scampering around from England to Scotland, and back - but the other one was connected with bookbinding, and originated in Stockport area in England, later in Burnley, in Lancashire England - whereas mine pops up as an Innkeeper on Bridge Street in Dumfries and dies in that area - his wife survived him. May I thank you for taking the time and trouble to look the records up. I appreciate that, it can take ages, as I've done similar things for others, formerly.

apanderson - thank you for a very clear and understandable account of references for burials, so the "Class" was probably a row. Quite a macabre thought, a row of tiny children / babies interred at 90 degrees to the adult occupants of a grave! That does a lot to bring home the sheer scale of infant mortality, doesn't it?

As always, I've learned a lot from your kind replies, even if not the answer to my original question! Thank you all again.

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