Macquarie Family Tomb

Macquarie Family Tomb

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LIB_macquarie family tomb 1 Photo: Dr. Peter Stanbury [1995]

The Macquarie Family tomb is situated about 0.6 km NW of the original Gruline House. It is set in a grassed area surrounded by a circular stone wall with wrought iron gates. The site may be reached via the B8035 road leading out from Salen. Turn left at the signpost labelled: 'The MacQuarie Mausoleum' [sic] (west of St. Columba's Church at Gruline).

Tomb Structure
The mausoleum is a plain gable-ended sandstone structure of ashlar masonry, with buttressed sidewalls, sloping stone-slabbed roof and two stone finials (one on each end). Two marble panels seal the entrance doorways in the gable-walls.

Tomb History
The Macquarie burial plot at Gruline must be considered as dating from July 1824 following the death of Lachlan Macquarie. There is no evidence that any other interments had occupied the site prior to this time. At this time, Elizabeth Macquarie buried her husband, along with the remains of their infant daughter, Jane,(who had died aged 3 months in Perth in December 1808) in this new burial ground. It would be number of years before she was financially able to erect a proper headstone - and its installation c.1832 coincides with her decision to return to live on Mull for the final years of her life. Elizabeth, herself, passed away in March 1835, and was buried within the burial ground. Ten years later, in May 1845, the only surviving child, Lachlan, died, and was interred with his parents and sister.

The erection of the mausoleum has been attributed to the Strathallan [Drummond] family in c1851-1852; though there is a possibility that this may also have been an initiative of the widow of Lachlan Jnr., Isabella Hamilton Dundas Macquarie (nee Campbell of Jura and Craignish). Certainly by November 1851 the Strathallan family had successfully defended the validity and provisions of Lachlan Jnr.'s Will bequeathing the Jarvisfield and Glenforsa estates in the favour of William Henry Drummond, 9th Viscount Strathallan. He was the son of James Drummond (8th Viscount Strathallan) who had acted as guardian of the young Lachlan Macquarie Jnr. The Will had been challenged by Charles, eldest son of Charles Macquarie; and with the failure of this legal challenge all the former lands of the Macquarie brothers, Lachlan (1761-1824) and Charles(1771-1835), passed into other hands. The inaccuracies in the inscription on the white granite headstone [see below] indicate a certain degree of unfamiliarity with the Macquarie family.

For many years the state of the Macquarie mausoleum remained sadly neglected. Eventually, on 6 October 1948, the mausoleum site was gifted by Lady Yarborough, the owner of the 'Jarvisfield' estate (1948-49), to the people of New South Wales through an Australian Trust consisting of the Union Trustee Co. of Australia and the Royal Australian Historical Society. In 1957 the tomb was repaired with the proceeds of a fund established in New South Wales through the efforts of A.E. Heath (former NSW Agent General in London) and M.H. Ellis (Australian journalist, and biographer of Lachlan Macquarie). Invaluable assistance was provided on Mull by Colonel G. Miller of Torosay Castle; and later a committee of the National Trust of Australia was formed to administer the funds and to work in cooperation with Col. Miller and the National Trust for Scotland.

Important restoration work was carried out on the grounds surrounding the mausoleum throughout the period 1960-1980. This involved the elimination of a number of large yew, elm and beech trees growing adjacent to the tomb: they posed a threat (by falling) on the roof and walls of the structure during severe winter storms. Similarly, the spike-headed iron railing surrounding the tomb had become twisted and rusted with age and needed to be removed (1964/1965). Repairs were carried out on the enclosing stone wall (and fresh stone-capping added), and new iron entry gates were installed. In the early 1970's restoration work was also carried out on the red granite inscription [prepared by Elizabeth Macquarie in memory of her husband Lachlan] located on the southern face of the mausoleum.

The financial responsibility for the upkeep of the tomb was subsequently taken over by the National Trust of Australia, and a regular maintenance program was instituted for the upkeep of the grounds, with assistance from the National Trust for Scotland. Additional funding was provided by the Macquarie Bank (Australia) towards the restoration of the tomb and the upgrading of its surrounds in c2002.

There are tomb inscriptions on south-eastern and north-western faces of the mausoleum:

Lachlan Macquarie's Tomb Inscription
(south-eastern face)

LIB-macquarie tomb Photo: Dr. Peter Stanbury [1995]

Transcript of the Tomb Inscription: Lachlan Macquarie

The first and oldest inscription is dedicated to Lachlan Macquarie and is "of Peterhead red granite seven feet six inches long, four feet two inches broad, and six and half inches thick. The letters and arms are inlaid with black cement, glossed and polished."

[See: Lachlan Macquarie Memoranda and Related Papers 22 Dec. 1808 - 14 July 1823.
(Mitchell Library, Sydney) ML Ref:A772 CY Reel 301 #232]

The epitaph was prepared by Elizabeth Macquarie, with assistance from the Reverend David Bell of Fifeshire. The text is based on a notice published by Lachlan Macquarie's old friend, Sir Charles Forbes, and on a sermon preached by the Reverend William Cowper at a memorial service held at St Philip's Church, Sydney on 14 November 1824. The gravestone was laid over Macquarie's resting place by Elizabeth c.1832. At a later date [c.1851] the mausoleum was erected over the burial site and the memorial stone fixed to the exterior of the south-eastern wall.

Macquarie Family Tomb Inscription
(north-western face)

LIB-macquarie tomb 2 Photo: Dr. Peter Stanbury [1995]

The second inscription, in white granite, records the interment of Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie, and their two children Jane and Lachlan. This inscription dates from after 1845 and is mounted on the north-western face of the mausoleum.

Please note: There are three inaccuracies in the inscription. Firstly, the spelling of Mrs Macquarie's name is 'Elizabeth' not 'Elisabeth'. Secondly, although this inscription states that Elizabeth Macquarie died at Jarvisfield on 17 March 1835, this is in fact incorrect. She died on Wednesday 11 March 1835 at exactly 2 pm in the presence of her maid 'Miss Jarvis' (wife or daughter of George Jarvis, Macquarie's Indian-born manservant) and the family solicitor, Donald McLean. [see details in a letter from D.M. McLean to John Gregorson 11 March 1835. Original in National Library of Australia: MS2262. Copy available in Mitchell Library, Sydney ML DOC 2425(a)] Thirdly, Lachlan Macquarie Jnr. was born on 28 March 1814 - so that in fact he was only 31 years of age at the time of his death on 7 May 1845, not 32 (as claimed on the tomb).

Jane Macquarie's Tomb Inscription

Transcript of the Tomb Inscription: Jane Macquarie

Lachlan Macquarie's first wife, Jane (nee Jarvis) (1772-1796) is buried in the European Cemetery, Queen's Road, Bombay, India. She died in Macao, China, on 15 July 1796 (aged 23 years and 9 months) from consumption. He returned to India with her body preserved in a specially constructed coffin made by Chinese artisans. She was buried at 5.30 pm on 16 January 1797.

The grief-stricken Lachlan wrote a 475 word epitaph extolling her virtues and arranged for this to be inscribed in England on black marble and shipped out to India. The first tombstone was damaged in transit and a second one had to be carved. This was finally shipped out to India and installed in the cemetery along the Esplanade in Bombay. The tomb was unveiled on 16 October 1800.

National Trust Bulletin. November 1963, p.8.
Munro, R. W. Lachlan Macquarrie XVI of Ulva, with Notes on some Clansmen in India. Karachi: Private Publication (100 copies), 1944.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an Inventory of Monuments. Volume 3. Mull, Tiree, Coll & Northern Argyll.
Edinburgh: HMSO, 1980. (Entry No. 317. [pp.158-159]).

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Content owner: Library Last updated: 05 Sep 2019 11:24am

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