We’re back with our Curiosity of the Week slot (hurrah), and this week we visit an unusual hut on a coastal nature reserve in Scotland.
St Cyrus National Nature Reserve is located on the Aberdeenshire coast near Montrose. Walking around the reserve’s trails you may well come across an old graveyard with a slightly sinister feature.
This peaceful burial ground is known as Ecclesgreig (Church of Grig) and in one corner it features a little stone building. Easy to miss, this little hut actually had a very important function for grieving relatives.
The building once served as a Watch Hut, where relatives would spend the night keeping watch over their loved one’s grave. But why would they need to camp out in such a beautiful quiet spot, what were they guarding against? Rampant foxes? Ghosts?
They were in fact guarding against grave robbers. Back in the early 19th century grave robbery was a real risk. This was due to the high demand for freshly deceased bodies from the world of science and medicine. This was a time when corpses could be sold to medical schools who would use them for dissection and anatomy lectures.
To the relatives of those buried in the graveyard, this little hut would have provided much needed comfort in more gruesome times; helping to keep people warm from the elements in this rural coastal spot.
For more information on accessibility during the Covid pandemic and visiting in the future, please check the reserve’s website.
We are always on the lookout for interesting customs, hidden places, and unique buildings and landmarks, to share with our readers. If you have an idea for Curiosity of the Week then please do get in touch, we welcome suggestions from everyone. You can contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message via Facebook.