Glasgow's smallest graveyard: where the Quakers were laid to rest

A graveyard is often the best place to explore if you are looking for details of local history.

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Glasgow's Necropolis has some incredibly impressive gravestones built for the great and the good - including one in memory of William Miller, the author of Wee Willie Winkie.

But if you're looking for Glasgow's smallest and most forgotten graveyard then head for Partick.

Tucked away in a tiny corner of Keith Street is the old burial ground of the members of the Society of Friends - or Quakers.

There are no gravestones left and the site is fenced off behind iron railings. It is owned by Glasgow City Council and maintained by residents of nearby Keith Court.

A plaque on the wall reads: "Society of Friends Burial Ground Gifted by John Purdon 1711. Last used 11, X11, 1857."

The Roman numerals in the last line seem to indicate that the last burial was either December 11 or December 2, 1857.

John Purdon was a member of a well-known Quaker family of the time.

His wife, known as "Quaker Meg", was the first person interred in the graveyard and the family name lives on in Purdon Street, which runs off Dumbarton Road parallel to Keith Street.

It will come as no surprise that, in Glasgow, the Quaker population was subjected to religious intolerance.

Quaker funerals often attracted an unruly element who would heckle and jeer as the service went ahead.

To be fair Glasgow was not alone at that time when it came to discrimination. Members of any religious minority could expect a degree of persecution in most parts of the UK.

The fact the Partick burial ground is still in existence after having lain unused for so long is remarkable in itself.

And many people will have walked past it without realising it is there.

Keith Street is directly across Dumbarton Road from Hyndland Street and the graveyard is a few hundred yards down on the right hand side.

There may not be much left to see apart from the plaque - but it is certainly a window on the past.

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