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Sunday, April 18, 2004

Three Rooms 

In late 2002, Evelin and took a trip to Scotland, which consisted mostly of driving through the Highlands visiting various Pictish sites, National Trust sites, and sites associated with Clan names/septs to which I can claim some connection.

However, we did make a stop at the old Saline cemetery in the Kingdom of Fife to visit the graves of four of my ancestors.

While we were there, we noticed a curious thing about some of the grave markers. In addition to some interesting statuary and bas-relief ornamentation on some of the gravestones, there were more than a few that read "3 rooms."

We were curious, but googling the phrase turned up few ghits that were not related to real estate. After a bit more fruitless wondering, I posted a query on one of the message boards at Ancestry.com and, about 18 months later, I got my answer this afternoon:
"3 rooms" means that the stone marked space for 3 bodies. In other chuchyards they were called "lairs" or "layers". Often the lairs were bought in advance by the family and a small marker was put in the ground to mark the alloted spot. Later on a proper headstone would replace the marker but sometimes the families could not afford a headstone and the marker remained.

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