Improvements at historic graveyard

Conserving the character of the unique burial ground at Dalzell Estate

Filed under News
Date posted: Thursday, 13 July 2017

A programme of improvement work will be commencing in late July at the Dalzell Estate in Motherwell.

The estate’s graveyard was formerly the churchyard of the pre-Reformation church of St Patrick. The church was demolished in the late 18th century when South Dalziel Parish Church was built and stone was reused to build the Hamilton of Dalzell Mausoleum, which is partially sited within the present graveyard.

Burials continued in the graveyard into the 20th century, however the majority of memorials at the site are 19th century headstones and monuments. Importantly, there are also several excellent examples of earlier 17th and 18th century monuments. The Dalzell Estate is designated on Historic Environment Scotland’s Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

St Patrick's graveyard, Dalzell Estate
St Patrick's graveyard, Dalzell Estate

The project is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund and LEADER supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP), with support from North Lanarkshire Council. It will see the resetting of around twelve of the fallen and broken gravestones, and conservation work to six of the most significant 17th and 18th century monuments. The project aims to reflect the needs of a range of visitors while retaining the unique character of the cemetery.

Toby Nevitt, Senior Conservation Officer for North Lanarkshire Council said: “We are delighted to work in partnership with CAVLP and the local community to conserve such an interesting and unique location. The conservation priorities for the project have been determined following almost a year of research and preparatory activity, aided by a dedicated group of community volunteers and historic graveyard experts. Factors considered included the current condition and heritage significance of each monument, as well feedback on local significance from community volunteers. It is hoped that by demonstrating the results of this project, further funding will be attracted to enable conservation work to the rest of the graveyard.”

The conservation work at Dalzell Estate is part of a wider CAVLP project to explore historic graveyards throughout the Clyde and Avon valley.

Donna Marshall, CAVLP Programme Manager explains, “A number of Open Days are being planned at these historic graveyards by Archaeology Scotland over the coming months. Many graveyards locally are architecturally rich, full of magnificent sculptures and monuments and often set in significant designed landscapes. These places are where history comes alive.  Archaeology Scotland will offer training in recording these special sites which may offer a unique view into the lives of our ancestors. Research carried out as part of the project will be curated to create new forms of interpretation for the graveyards, breathing new life into what we currently know about them.

She continues, “Details of the open days will be announced at www.clydeandavonvalley.org. Anyone wishing to find out more, or register their interest in the Open Days and training opportunities, can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”

To find out more about the conservation work in Dalzell Estate please contact Toby Nevitt on 01236 780636 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The team involved would be particularly interested to hear from anyone with a family link to the graveyard.

Please note that the graveyard will be locked while work is underway to ensure public safety, however access can be arranged using the contact details above.

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