The Boleskine Burial Groundmorthouse

Boleskine broadly covers an area from Loch Ness to Loch Killin but is more often associated locally with a small strip of land about which exists stories of death, witchcraft and religion.

The Boleskine burial ground is undoubtedly one of the better known land marks around South Loch Ness. It is situated on the B852 between Inverfarigaig and Foyers between the road and the loch and sits below  the burnt Boleskine House owned in past times by Aleister Crowley and later by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame.  There was a medieval church here, the walls off now part of the roofless enclosure on the east side of the graveyard, the only roofed building remaining being a small mort-house.  A mort-house was a mortuary where the coffined body would lay under guard until such time as it was of no use to body snatchers  and resurrectionists who would dig up newly interred bodies to sell to surgeons for medical studies. Boleskine has the only Mort house in the North of Scotland all the other buildings in cemeteries are watch-houses where someone would watch over the grave till such time as it was no use to body snatchers (generally around six weeks) .

No comprehensive record exists of the stones in this ancient graveyard. Therefore a small contingent from the South Loch Ness Heritage Group with help from some local people is undertaking the task of mapping the graveyard and recording all the known graves, slabs and memorials. Each known stone will be identified by position (a map will be included), description (shape, colour and motifs etc.) and the inscription recorded exactly as written (misspellings and errors included). A digital photograph will be taken of each stone and an index of names will be produced. It is expected that this survey will be of use and interest not only to the local population as part of its heritage but also to historians and genealogists tracing their family history.  When the survey is completed details  will be intimated on this web site , also of how to obtain relevant information of  the grave inscriptions and accompanying photo .

Two particular gravestones are perhaps worthy of mention

grave stone

The tombstone of Donald Fraser of Erchit dated 1730 clearly shows three holes made by musket balls. Legend has it that, just after the Battle of Culloden, a military wagon carrying supplies to Fort Augustus and guarded by soldiers, passed along the road above the burial ground as a funeral was taking place. One of the mourners is said to have grabbed a loaf of bread from the wagon and thrown it to some dogs. The soldiers fired their muskets to frighten the mourners before arresting the culprit and taking him to Fort Augustus. Those musket holes are still visible today. The story has a happy ending in that the minister of the time, one Thomas Fraser, followed on to the fort and persuaded the Duke of Cumberland to release his prisoner. In the attached photo, the musket holes can be seen in a line downwards toward the right-hand side of the stone.grave stoneAnother grave, that of The Honorable Jane Fraser, mentions her husband, The Honorable Archibald Campbell Fraser, 38th Chief of the Chief of the Frasers, son of Simon 12th Lord Fraser of Lovat beheaded at Tower Hill in 1747.

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