The auld gardener

John McGregor was Gardener for Dunblane. Today he would be called a “Council worker” but in his time his occupation was termed: “Statute Labourer”.

John McGregor lived with his wife and family at Cross Wynds:

It would seem that he worked as gardener for Dunblane up until the time of his death:

This auld gardener died of cholera.  Thirty years before, Dunblane had its worst cholera outbreak and one of those who succumbed was my great-great-great-great grandmother, Susannah Rutherfoord. There were so many cholera deaths in Dunblane at this time, that the doctor, Dr Cornelius Stewart – ‘Old Corny’ – was said to have measured patients up for coffins before they had died.

Susannah Rutherfoord’s sampler, stitched in 1813 when she was still a girl, hangs above our fireplace:

John McGregor, Dunblane’s auld gardener, was buried, beside Dunblane Cathedral. A tombstone marks his grave, whereas most of Dunblane’s cholera victims were buried without any markers.

John McGregor has long since become part of the turf that he once tended. Around his grave, in this time of Coronavirus ‘lockdown’, a flower meadow has grown. The auld gardener, had he been alive today, would have been a “key worker”.