At the foot of Keith Street, hemmed in by red brick modern housing, lies the final resting place of some of Partick’s
Any passer-by would be forgiven for mistaking this unassuming rectangle of ground enclosed by old
stonework and wrought iron railings as being just another private garden for the inhabitants of Keith Court. However,
this is the site of Glasgow’s smallest graveyard.
The headstones have long since succumbed to gravity and the inexorable passage of time, however the demarcation of
the burial plots is readily apparent. Only a discerning eye can make out the words written on the wooden plaque on
the far wall:
The Society of Friends is the formal name for Quakers, a Christian sect, and by 1695, the Society boasted a membership
of over 1,000.
John Purdon, a member of the Purdon clan who were rooted in Partick and are honoured by nearby Purdon Street, gifted
the site to the local Quaker community in 1711.
“Quaker Meg,” John Purdon’s wife, was the first person to be interred
in the graveyard, and much superstition attached itself to the site after her burial. Rumour had it that if a villager
put his ear to the tombstone and asked "what did y’get for your supper the night, Meg?" they would hear her
Quaker funerals in the predominantly Protestant Partick were not treated with the respectful solemnity usually accorded
to such events in our time. Anecdotal evidence suggests that locals, particularly the youths, would heckle and jeer the
mourners in attendance.
Given the notoriety and superstition surrounding Meg Purdon’s interment, it can be assumed that her ceremony
was beset with similar such vitriol from the residents of the Goat. It is widely presumed that the climate of intolerance was
one of the factors leading to the abandonment of the burial site.
Even in the modern era, vandals have been known to remove the commemorative plaque. Indeed, in 1978 the plaque was prised
from the railings, but was rescued before it was to be put in a foundry.
The burial ground now belongs to Glasgow City Council and is maintained by the residents of Keith Court.