The Howff is a burial ground in Dundee. Established in 1564, it has one of the most important collections of tombstones in Scotland. The land of the burial ground was part of the Franciscan (Greyfriars) Monastery until the Scottish Reformation. In 1564 Mary, Queen of Scots granted the land to the burgh of Dundee, for use as a burial ground. It was used for meetings by the Dundee Incorporated Trades. Old parish records for burials within The Howff begin in the late 18th century. Prior to this records of mortcloth hire, a cloth rented out by the Guildry and Trades to cover bodies or coffins before burial, provide evidence of burials dating back to 1655. Meetings at The Howff ceased in 1776. The last burial took place in 1878 (George Duncan). The walls along the west side date from 1601.
The vault to the extreme south west (now simply saying 'Blackness' inside) was the burial Vault of the Wedderburns of Blackness House in Dundee. A sealed window on its exterior appear to indicate this was either a watch-house or part of the original meeting-house prior to the vault being built (c.1630).
The graveyard is highly unusual by Scottish standards, containing a high number of Roman-style coffer tombs. It also contains a high number of inscriptions which philosophise on death itself rather than discussing the person interred.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).