"ELIZA'S PATH": A SPECIAL APPEAL
by Martin Gostwick
This is our first appeal in a decade. It is addressed particularly to our members, as well as to all those who know about and admire Hugh Miller.
We are a small charity which manages to fund most of our activities from membership subscriptions, such as the Hugh Miller writing competitions, fossil collection exhibitions, public meetings, our website, and magazine.
Eliza's Path is, however, a project beyond our limited financial scope. The project is for the erection of a high quality steel railing with appropriate signage, leading up the steep path to the Old St Regulus Burial Ground. Situated on the outskirts of Cromarty, it is popularly known locally as the "Pirates' Graveyard." At present this historic site is almost invisible and difficult to access, especially for the old and infirm. It is a historic site of great beauty and tranquillity, which deserves to be so much better known, easier to reach and therefore more often visited.
The old St Regulus burial ground
Its particular association with Hugh Miller and his wife, Lydia Falconer Fraser, is that it contains the grave of their first born child, Eliza, who died of a fever aged only 17 months. Her headstone is Hugh's last work as a stonemason. His ancestor the buccaneer John Feddes is buried close by, and within the grounds are the remains of the former medieval castle's chapel and the burial vault of Clan Urquhart chiefs. The graveyard is also the scene of several of Hugh Miller's folk tales.
The construction cost of the railing has been estimated at £16,000. We are applying to several business donors in both public and private sectors to contribute, but we also seek individual donations from members and other Miller admirers, because it is of such importance and potential for enhancing the Miller Legacy. It is of especial interest to Hugh and Lydia Miller's direct descendants, since a main purpose is to honour the memory of the young Eliza. This is why the appeal carries the signatures of two direct descendants, Stephanie Kulesza and Sue Busby.
We look forward to receiving whatever you feel able to give. Payment can be made through our PayPal account at the foot of this page, or by cheque to the address given below.
Martin Gostwick, Secretary, The Friends of Hugh Miller
Stephanie Kulesza, great great great grand-daughter
Sue Busby, great great grand-daughter
Please send cheques to:
Secretary, The Friends of Hugh Miller
c/o Russell House
55 Shore Street
CROMARTY IV11 8XL
Tel: 01381 600301