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Papers of Betty Willsher, historian, St Andrews, Scotland

551 22

Description Papers of Betty Willsher, historian, St Andrews, Scotland

Date 1970 to 1999

Collection Papers of Betty Willsher, historian, St Andrews, Scotland

Catalogue Number 551 22

Category All Other

Scope and Content Manuscript material comprises notes on selected gravestones with accompanying photographs and drawings. Manuscripts on the following counties are held within the Collection: Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire, Berwickshire and Selkirk, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries, Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, Edinburgh, Fife, Kincardine, Kirkcudbrightshire, Lanark, Midlothian, Moray, Peebles, Perthshire, Roxburghshire, Stirling, West Lothian and Wigtownshire. In addition, a large number of related photographs and slides are held within the Collection. The Collection also contains a small number of photographs taken by R Wylie and N Foster of depictions of the Green Man in British, Irish and Continental sculpture. Willsher has donated a range of books on the subject of graves and graveyards, and these are held in the public search room.

Archive History The Collection has been donated in several instalments, the earliest of which are unaccessioned but catalogued. Initial deposits of photographs, negatives, sketches and notes comprise the bulk of Willsher’s research material. In addition to this, later accessions include a number of books and journals on graveyard studies.

System of Arrangement All material is arranged by graveyard then county. Manuscripts are held in the main store and photographs are integrated to the open access photographic collection. Negatives and slides are hand listed and Willsher’s collection of books and periodicals are stored in the public search room.

Related Material A number of Betty Willsher’s published books are held in RCAHMS’ public search room including Stones: A Guide to Some Remarkable Eighteenth Century Gravestones (1978) Understanding Scottish Graveyards (1985) and Epitaphs and Images from Scottish Graveyards (1996). Willsher’s research material on graveyards in Perthshire, Fife and Angus has been reproduced and bound, and is available in the public search room. The NMRS Stuart Farrell Collection contains a significant number of graveyard surveys. A large collection of digital photographs of Scottish graveyards, primarily in Edinburgh, taken by Robert Reinhardt has recently been acquired.

Access Conditions Access is unrestricted.

Administrative History Betty Willsher was born in a small mining village near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in 1915. She studied at the University of St Andrews from 1933-36, before completing a one year certificate in nursery education at the Rachel McMillan Nursery School Training College in Deptford, Greater London. During the war, Willsher ran a nursery in Suffolk before returning to St Andrews in 1951 and setting up her own nursery school. In 1965, she completed a part-time Diploma in Education at Dundee and spent time working in residential units for disturbed children in Stratheden Hospital, Fife, and then Vancouver. Willsher taught story-telling, drama and creative units in primary schools for four years before becoming a senior lecturer in child development at Stevenson College. In the 1970s Willsher became interested in the declining state of Scotland’s graveyards, particularly post-reformation stones, and set about recording them for future generations. She made the acquaintance of Kitty Cruft of the NMRS and entered an agreement to survey stones dating up to 1800 in parish graveyards of the Scottish Lowlands on behalf of RCAHMS. She has produced several publications on the subject including: Stones: A Guide to Some Remarkable Eighteenth Century Gravestones (1978); Understanding Scottish Graveyards: An Interpretative Approach (1985); How to Record Scottish Graveyards: A Companion to Understanding Scottish Graveyards (1985); The Green Man in Scotland (1990); and Epitaphs and Images from Scottish Graveyards (1996). These were followed by two books on the social history of St Andrews (2003) and an investigation into her own family history (2005). In 1989 the Association for Gravestone Studies awarded Willsher the Harriett Merrifield Forbes Award for outstanding contribution to the area of gravestone studies and since 2000 she was awarded an MBE.

Accruals No further accruals are expected.

Accession Number 1998/106

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/collection/1176321

Collection Hierarchy - Collection Level

Collection Level (551 22) Papers of Betty Willsher, historian, St Andrews, Scotland

Preview Category Catalogue Number Title Date Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232415 Detail of gravestone at Kirkmichael Parish Church and burial ground. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232416 Detail of gravestone at Falkland. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232417 Detail of gravestone at Falkland. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232418 Detail of gravestone at Falkland. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232419 View of gravestones in churchyard at Falkland. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232420 View of toppled gravestones in churchyard at Falkland. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232421 View of broken gravestones in churchyard at Falkland. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232424 View of gravestone at Auchtermuchty. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232491 Detail of gravestone of Anna Annandale d. 1743 at Church of Logie Churchyard. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232492 Detail of gravestone at Pert Old Parish Church Graveyard. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232498 Detail of Buchanan gravestone at Pert Old Parish Church Graveyard. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232499 View of gravestone of the McNaughton Children depicting Adam and Eve at Kells Churchyard. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232500 View of gravestone for Agnes Herese d. 1707 at Kells Churchyard. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232501 View of gravestone for Agnes Herese d. 1707 depicting Adam and Eve at Kells Churchyard. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232502 Detail of the Faichney Monument at Innerpeffray. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232503 Detail of the Faichney Monument at Innerpeffray. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232504 General view of Temple Church and cemetery. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232505 View of reverse face of gravestone of John Craig, d. 1742, showing relief portrait with children. c. 1975 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232506 Detail of gravestone of Peter West, d.1789 at Abernyte Churchyard. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232507 Detail of gravestone of William Paterson d.1765 at Abernyte Churchyard. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232508 General view of gravestone of Margaret Hill, 1754. Rosettes, crown over crossed palm fronds and vine, double winged souls and pair of double torches. Foliate crest Insc: 'R.H K.M'. Emblems of mortality linked by ribband. (skulls, arrows of Death, hourglass and crossed bones). Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232509 General view of the tombstone commemorating Alexander Omay, 1639. Coped stone with emblematic figures, symbols of trade and several inscribed panels. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232510 General view of gravestone of May Duff, 1762. Double rosette with double torches of Life and Death. Winged Soul over ribband insc: 'After Death Life. Hors Est Boni Viri Natalis'. Shield with the tools of a mason (setsquare, folding ruler, dividers chisel, hammer and mallet). Insc: 'D.M S.D'. Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1232511 General view of gravestone with winged soul, shield and skull motif inscribed 'Memento Mori'. c. 1982 Item Level

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