Tarbat Discovery Centre
Content warning. Some visitors may find this object upsetting.
This memorial plaque was placed by Sir John Mackenzie and commemorates William Mackenzie and his wife. William was minister to the parish of Tarbat from 1638 to 1642. It is possible that they are also buried with their child who died in infancy. Though a child’s skeleton was found nearby there is no mention of this on the plaque.
The plaque has been designed so that its shape emulates a ‘doorway to Heaven’. Carved into the frieze above the doorway, there is a skull between two bones. This symbol is known as a ‘memento mori’, a reminder of our mortality and common in art history. Such symbolism was popular in Britain from the medieval to the Victorian period.