The gate of the Auld Burial Ground at Galashiels, Scotland (also called Old Burial Ground, Old Town, or Gala Aisle Burial Ground or Cemetery), photographs taken June 2004.
The smaller right hand side tombstone from the previous photograph has a fascinating front, now almost up against a tree. There are no longer any visible names or dates. There is visible a skull, some flowers, suns, asterisks? and what appears to be the number 'four' in bones. One author had this to say about the 'number four' motif in Scotland:
"....The other trade emblems speak for themselves, excepting the reversed figure 4 in the stone of 1710 (No. 3). This sign has been variously interpreted, but the most reliable authorities say that it is a merchant's mark used not only in Stirling but in other parts of Scotland, if not of England. There are in Howff Burial-ground, Dundee, and in many country churchyards round about that town and Stirling, numerous varieties of this figure, some having the "4" in the ordinary unreversed shape, some with and some without the *, some of both shapes resting on the letter "M," and others independent of any support whatever. It has also been supposed to have some connection with the masons' marks frequently to be seen in old churches, and is even regarded as possibly of prehistoric origin."13
Footnote 13: The vulgar explanation of the sign is "4d. discount on the shilling," and some of the guide-books are not much better informed when they assume that it marks Stirling as the fourth city of Scotland, for in the old roll of Scottish burghs Stirling stands fifth
Quoted from In Search Of Gravestones Old And Curious. Author: W.T. (William Thomas) Vincent. Release Date: July 21, 2004 [EBook #12978: html version: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/12978/12978-h/12978-h.htm p. 88-
OLD AND CURIOUS.
With One Hundred and Two Illustrations
W. T. VINCENT,
PRESIDENT OF THE WOOLWICH DISTRICT ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY;
AUTHOR OF "THE RECORDS OF THE WOOLWICH DISTRICT,"
MITCHELL & HUGHES, 140, WARDOUR STREET.