Insight into ancient ways and means

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Visitors were given a rare view of the interiors and artefacts normally closed to the public in a walkabout tour of Cathcart Old Parish Church, recently.

The church is one of the oldest sites in Glasgow, having been settled since the Iron Age.

By private arrangement, the walking tour allowed access to explore its many treasures, including two grave memorials designed by renowned architect Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson.

An ornate watch house on the grounds was built to guard against body-snatchers and the cemetary also houses the tomb of the Polmadie Martyrs.

There are some fine examples of Green Man gargoyles and several curious medieaval carved stones scattered around the precincts.

It is believed that the tombstones of Hollywood actor Stewart Granger’s grandparents also reside on the grounds.

Before heading off to stardom, the actor’s family name was James Stewart, the last in three generations of James Stewarts.

The name, however, had already been registered with the actors guild, the US equivalent of Equity, by the star of western movies and director Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Vertigo.

The actors union rules require that no two actors can hold the same name so the young hopeful chose to keep his surname as his first name and his mother’s maiden name Granger.

One of the walking tour group, Dianne Fyfe of Musselburgh, said of the visit: “It was a real eye-opener and I felt privileged to be able to see the historic artefacts.”

Walking tours are a pleasant way of discovering little known history in churches and other buildings in the local area. Many tours can be booked through GlasgowLife as can bus tours and themed walks, including a Charles Rennie Makintosh architectural tour; murdr and criminal tours and walks that tell the stories of unsung heroes from the suffrage movement to the innovators in science and engineering that shaped modern times.