The Service Stone – Steeped in History with the Scars to Prove It!
The Service Stone is the second oldest stone in the cemetery and dates to 1636. It was built by John Service as a memorial to his dad, though Service was a mason so the impressively carved stone was also an advert for his services!
The elaborate carvings are a scene from the book of Job in the Bible and one features the ouroborous as a frame, a snake eating its tail and a symbol of rebirth. The base stone is like a coffin, with the head at the south end, hands to the east and west and feet at the north end! But what makes the stone really cool are the series of musket ball impacts across both sides of the stone from a pitched gunfight during the 1651 Cromwellian siege of the Castle.
Stirling boy William Young Moyes was the sixth engineer aboard the Titanic and died aged 24 in the sinking, staying at his post to keep the lights on; his body was never recovered.
Interestingly his elder brother Alexander Barclay Moyes is also commemorated here, though he’s buried in Europe. He fell during the 1918 Kaiserschlacht (Kaiser’s Battle), when during World War 1 the Germans deployed a million men on the western front in a last desperate attempt to defeat the allies before the Americans mobilised.
Prior to 1560 all of Scotland was Catholic and Stirling had two priories: The Domincans or Black Friars and The Franciscans or Grey Friars. The Black Friars were the biggest and longest established having come here in the 1230s. Famously, they were involved in negotiating peace with William Wallace at the Battle of Stirling Bridge and hosted both Edward I and Robert the Bruce (at different times).
During a development at their former priory opposite Stirling train station the remains of a single young man in his 20s were uncovered. He was found with a belt buckle and is likely to be a Domincan Friar. Radiocarbon dating proved he died between 1272 and 1320 and thus he could’ve been a witness to the Battles of Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn and to have seen William Wallace, Robert The Bruce, Edward I and Edward II!
On the 29th of February 2020 he was reburied in a mass conducted by his current Domincan brethren in a funeral supported by Stirling Council’s Civic Office. The memorial stone was the last stone quarried from Abbey Craig for The Wallace Monument but never used and was donated by the Cowanes Hospital Trust.