Alexander McArthur – Thornhill Mortcloth Society

On 28 November 1921, Alexander McArthur was buried in Norrieston Churchyard in the village of Thornhill. Born in Daldron, situated in Landrick Estate, McArthur spent the majority of his life in Thornhill and was active in several local societies. This included the Thornhill Mortcloth Society.

The Thornhill Mortcloth Society managed and administered Norrieston churchyard from 1771-1924. They oversaw the allocation and transfer of lairs, burials and mortcloth hire, maintained the churchyard and boundaries, and furnished the services of a gravedigger.

McArthur was a prominent member of the society and served two terms as President. He was first elected in 1877 for two years and then for thirty years from 1890-1920. Presidents were elected at the end of every year which means Alexander must have been doing something right if he was the President for over three decades!

Alexander was a popular character in the area. There is a note in the Thornhill Mortcloth Society minutes stating that he was ‘seldom absent from a meeting and who even attended their last annual meeting and signed the minutes although 92 years of age’.

McArthur also had strong ties with Blair Drummond estate. He served for 81 years under the Drummonds of Blair Drummond and had seen service over five different landlord during his tenure. He was made overseer of the Thornhill part of the estate in 1855.

His obituary in the Stirling Observer notes that he witnessed several changes occur in the village of Thornhill during his lifetime. One of the most notable being the installation of a water supply.

The paper states ‘He remembered clearly when there was but one village pump, which is now known as the ‘Pump Loan’ and that he ‘superintended the  many alterations and extensions until the present supply was put in some years ago’.

The obituary finishes by noting that ‘the sound of Alexander’s foot going to work in the morning was taken as a sign for setting the clock for the day’.