Controversy rages over what is to be done with what is arguably the most historic site in Crieff. Followers of PerthshireCrieffStrathearn Local History Blogspot will recall I ran four blogs on the Old St Michaels Church and Graveyard way back in July of 2014 .Since then sadly the building has been further vandalised both inside and out and as an entity has now reached the point of inevitable demolition . The graveyard which ceased to be the towns principal cemetery in 1853 contains recorded interments from the early 1700s up until the end of the 19th century Owners of lairs ( burial plots ) had the right after formal closure to lay their loved ones to rest and this continued for about 50 years from that date . The general condition of the cemetery deteriorated after the opening of the new St Michaels in Strathearn Terrace in the 1880s and the well known historian and recorder of information on Scottish burial grounds John MacGregor is recorded as saying " It is in a disgraceful state " after his visit to the Cemetery on the 27th of October 1894 .Things seemed to improve thereafter and when John and Sheila Mitchell carried out the survey of headstones ( with the aid of Jean Davidson and and local man Marshall Sloan ) in 1972 it was reported as being well kept . Sadly the things thereafter began to deteriorate and in the 1990s the then local authority took it upon themselves to remove the vast majority of the stones ( destination unknown ) and relocate the better looking ones in a regimental line parallel to the west boundary wall . Why ? The reason given at the time was to facilitate the cutting of the grass !
I consider it important that we do not forget those local souls who lie in this so ancient of places . A place where Christian baptisms were performed by the waters of the Alligan Burn as far back as the 6th Century and people were buried down through the centuries .
The involvement of CUSP in trying to assess public opinion in the future of both the building and the grave yard is important . Who are CUSP ? I replicate the following from their web site ( http://www.crieff.org/community-groups/crieff-upper-strathearn-partnership/about-cusp.html ) and ask if you have any input regarding the site do let them know of this .
The Crieff and Upper Strathearn Partnership (CUSP) was formed in 2005 at the behest of Perth & Kinross Council, who wanted to be sure that proposals they were receiving from a variety of groups were actually representative of what people in the town and surrounding area wanted.
The object of the Partnership is defined in its constitution as being to “… act as an ‘umbrella group’ with the remit to identify social, economic and environmental projects for the benefit of the people of Crieff and Upper Strathearn and to source appropriate funding. This will be achieved by the inclusion of all partners and working together towards a common goal.”
Groups within the Partnership have nominated representatives who attend meetings which, on average, are held eight times each year. The Partnership is not static; it evolves, and other groups who work with or for the benefit of the community will always be welcomed.
At present (March, 2015), the Partnership is made up of the following constituent groups:
- Crieff Community Council (CCC)
- Crieff Community Initiative (CCI)
- Crieff Community Trust (CCT)
- Crieff in Leaf (CiL)
- Crieff & Strathearn Tourist Association (CSTA)
- Crieff & Strathearn Drovers’ Tryst Festival (DTF)
- Strathearn Building Bridges (SBB)
- Strathearn Vintage Ploughing Association (SVPA).