The Drummond Pleasure Ground was laid out in 1862-63 by local evangelist and nurseryman William Drummond (1793-1888). Its centrepiece, the Star Pyramid, was built by William Barclay and a bible was sealed within an inner chamber of this sandstone monument when it was nearing completion in 1863.
It is dedicated to all those who suffered martyrdom in the cause of civil and religious liberty in Scotland. William established a pleasure garden round the Pyramid, complete with trees and plants (available from drummonds nursery). He also paid for five of the six statues seen in various parts of the graveyard and donated trees to be planted round the national Wallace Monument (also available from Drummonds Nursery).
The Star Pyramid or Salem Rock was dedicated in 1863. The pyramid form was popular and symbolised stability and endurance. The inscriptions refer to key aspects of the development of the Presbyterian Churches in Scotland.
The Martyrs’ Monument depicts an angel watching over Margaret Wilson (c 1667-1685) reading to her younger sister Agnes. Margaret and the elderly Margaret McLachlan were executed by drowning by the incoming tide in the Solway Firth for refusing to renounce their beliefs.
The Valley Rock Fountain supplied drinking water. But this was also intended to be symbolic or ‘spiritual’ water to refresh the soul as well as the body. Consistent with the overall message of the Valley, it springs from the feet of three key Presbyterian teachers. These statues, like the others, were sponsored by ardent local Presbyterians, particularly William Drummond.
Statues of Knox, Melville and Henderson at the Valley Rock Fountain. Their central location symbolises their key roles as leaders of three major stages of the emergence of Presbyterian church government in Scotland.
Statue of Andrew Melville (1545-1622) by Alexander Handyside Ritchie. Melville was born near Dundee and held academic positions in Poitiers, Geneva, St Andrews and Sedan. He was responsible for carrying through John Knox’s reforms of the Church after the latter died and he set up the Presbyterian form of church governance. He served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland several times and his opposition to state involvement in the Church brought him into conflict with James VI. He was, as a result, held in the Tower of London from 1606 until 1611. After his release he moved back to France where he lived the rest of his life.