Bengal in the Borders
The Brighton Pavilion is perhaps the landmark British building showing Indian architectural influence. There are plenty of others - I once spotted a perfect Indian-style cupola peeping over a cemetery wall in Arundel. But you don't expect to see something quite so India-tinged as the building above popping up on top of a hill in the Scottish Borders.
I went to poke around what is marked on the map as a 'Mausoleum' visible from the main Jedburgh to Edinburgh road a few miles south of St Boswells, wading thrugh rose bay willow herb almost my height. I discovered that it's the grave of General Sir Thomas Monteath Douglas. Built in 1864, though he died four years later - in other words, he commissioned his own mausoleum. And with 360 degrees views around the enticing Borders landscape.
You can't quite make out from this photo, but the small windows in the roof are star shaped. And the entrance to the mausoleum is guarded by two huge sleeping lions. There are quite a few web entries about the building - and some great photos, including from inside the mausoleum - yet none mention the Indian architectural antecedents.
But the General spent most of his life fighting in and commanding the Bengal Infantry. He was an old India hand returned to Scotland, and as he built his burial place, he brought back a touch of Bengal to the Borders.
Saw the Monteath Mausoleum to day for the first time ever and was shocked to see a beautiful building in a state of repair
Leave a Reply.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
Welcome - read - comment - throw stones - pick up threads - and tell me how to do this better!