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Notable Memorials: Sir Hugh McCulloch of Pilton, Greyfriars

Sir Hugh McCulloch of Pilton, knight, descended of the ancient family of McCulloch of Cadboll, who with much praise, to the disadvantage of none, but with the approbation of all, purchased to himself a splendid and opulent fortune. He was grave in his manners, harmless in conversation, sincere in devotion, a faithful friend and pleasant companion, a most just citizen; singular in piety toward God, and honesty towards his neighbor. At length, full of years, he died upon the sixth day of the Month of August, 1688, and of his pilgrimage the 70th year. To whose memory, and for the merits of Ins most beloved spouse dame Jean Gibson, James M’Culloch of Pilton, sole heir to the defunct, caused erect this monument. (Latin inscription translation).

Before 1672, Hugh McCulloch was known as a writer in Edinburgh. By 1675 he had been knighted. Sir Hugh was laid to rest in Greyfriars kirkyard in Edinburgh. Photographs of his elaborate headstone, bearing the McCulloch of Myreton coat of arms by matriculation, are works of art in their own right. A modern photograph by Joe Rock is displayed at the National Gallery of Scotland. A 1914 photograph by Dr. Thomas Keith is displayed by the Eastman Museum in New York. A much earlier, salted paper photograph by David Octavius Hill & Robert Adamson around 1845 is in the University of Edinburgh Collections. Be sure to visit the National Galleries, Eastman Museum, and University of Edinburgh sites to view these magnificent photos.

The reference above to McCullochs of Cadboll seems to indicate that Sir Hugh descended from the earliest known McCullochs of Ross-Shire, including Alexander McCulloch who was granted land in Tain by Alexander, Lord of the Isles, in 1436, and his descendants who seem to include Thomas McCulloch, Abbott of Fearn.