Poet’s grave “defiled” with excrement

George Beattie's grave in Auld Kirkyard in St Cyrus
George Beattie's grave in Auld Kirkyard in St Cyrus

The grave of St Cyrus poet George Beattie has been “defiled” with human faeces.

Barry Graham, from Arbroath, who has written a book about the writer, which is being launched tomorrow, took it upon himself with his wife, Helen, daughter, Hannah, and friend Ronald Petrie to clean up the grave at Auld Kirkyard grave, in St Cyrus.

He said: “It was defiled with waste which was definitely human. It was pretty bad, it was spread on his headstone and up the wall, but it has all been disinfected and scrubbed now.

“At our own expense, we have taken the onus upon ourselves to rejuvenate Beattie’s grave and memorial somewhat. It had just been left to rot and nobody cared.

“There was a chain on the grave but it has worn away in the 1990s, so we’ve invested in a heavy chain and all-weather padlock to seal the entrance gate and prevent any further desecration.”

Keys for the lock will be given to the Montrose Heritage Trust and the Montrose Basin Heritage Society.

Mr Graham, along with John Molloy, from Glasgow, has written a book about the life of the poet titled ‘George Beattie: A Poet Lost in Time’. It was launched in Abroath’s Signal Tower Museum yesterday (September 26) and will be launched today (September 27) at the Montrose Library at 2 p.m.

The launch of the book will coincide with the 190th anniversary of the poet’s death by pistol at the St Cyrus churchyard.
Beattie, disconsolate after his fiancé left him for another man, shot himself beside his sister Mary’s grave.

Many of Beattie’s poems were published by the Review, including ‘John o’ Arnha’, a satire about a town officer who boasted about imaginary places he had visited.

Mr Graham concluded: “The book isn’t a money making venture, we want to get Beattie’s work out there. Any profit made from the book will go towards maintenance of his grave.

“We want to raise the profile of George Beattie and making sure his grave looks nice is a priority. We want to preserve it.”

For more information about ‘George Beattie: A Poet Lost in Time’ please visit www.thegeorgebeattieproject.co.uk