Balgay Cemetery

Our Scottish Ancestors
Buried at Balgay Cemetery

By Liz Smith, Dundee, Scotland


The graves of five of the children of John Bowman and wife Helen Guthrie are buried in Balgay Cemetery.
They are Isabella Bowman, b. 1827; Mary (Bowman) Crichton, b. 1831;  John Guthrie Bowman, b. 1837;
 Helen Bowman, b. 1841; and Charles Bowman, b. 1844.

Dundee City Council is responsible for the upkeep of the cemetery, though not for the headstones which are the responsibility of the owners of the lairs.


John Guthrie Bowman, b. 1837, was the first child of the John Bowman and Helen Guthrie to be buried in Balgay Cemetery.  When he died in 1890 two lairs were bought in which John, wife Mary Ann Hogg, and granddaughter Marion Hogg Kidd are buried.  The gravestone also commemorates their son George Stirling Bowman, who was killed in World War I and whose grave is in France; and their daughter Annie Scott Bowman, who lies in a pauper's grave in Eastern Cemetery.

Eastern Cemetery
Annie Scott Bowman, daughter of John Guthrie Bowman and Mary Ann Hogg is buried
  here.  Annie was permanently disabled due to an accident and died in a nursing home.

A family story says that Annie was badly injured in a horse-riding accident and spent the rest of her life in a hospital. By the time Annie died in 1926 the rest of the family had emigrated to Canada and the United States and would not have been able to bury her in the family grave.

Another family memory says that John Guthrie Bowman, a horse trainer, died as a result of a kick from a horse.  One day his stable boy was teasing a horse in the stable, which in turn kicked John, who died as a result of his injuries.

The gravesite is almost directly opposite the War Memorial for the 1914-1918 War. It is in a sloping bank and is quite tidy.  The stone is a small one and has broken off its plinth.  Fortunately it lies face up.

In loving memory of
Our dear father and mother
John G. Bowman
Born 1837 died 1890
Mary Ann H. Bowman
Born 1840 died 1903
George S. Bowman
Born 1875 killed in France 1916
Ann S. Bowman
Born 1868 died 1926
Marion B. Kidd grandchild
  • John Guthrie Bowman, son of John Bowman and Helen Guthrie.
    Born  January 25, 1837, Ward of Carnegie, Parish of Carmyllie
    Died September 3, 1890, 16 Balfour St., Dundee.
    Burial September 6, 1890.
  • Mary Ann Hogg, wife of John Guthrie Bowman.
    Daughter of Alexander Hogg and Ann Scott, Parish of Barry & Panbride.
    Born March 24, 1840, Parish of Barry.
    Burial March 16, 1903, Dundee
  • George Stirling Bowman, husband of Jessie McIntosh Robertson
    Son of John Guthrie Bowman & Mary Ann Hogg
    Born May 31, 1875, 22 Balfour Street, Dundee.
    Died November 11, 1916, France.  WW1. Vimy Memorial, France
    Military service Great Britain: Fife and Forfar Regiment, 3 years.
    Military Canada: 47th Battalion, C. E. F. British Columbia, Canada
  • Marion Hogg Bowman Kidd, infant.
    Daughter of Susan Hogg Bowman and Charles Kidd,
       who immigrated to East Liverpool, Ohio.
    Grandson of John Guthrie Bowman and Mary Ann Hogg. 
    Great Grandson of John Bowman and Helen Guthrie
    Born August 1, 1910.  Died September 4, 1910, Dundee.


View from the World War I Memorial looking east.



Mary Bowman, b. 1831, married her cousin, George Crichton.  Mary left her husband and family between 1861 and 1871 and moved to Lochee.  When Mary died in 1896 her son, John Crichton, bought one lair in Balgay and had his mother buried there.  She is the only one buried in the grave.  There is no headstone but she is commemorated on the headstone in Barry where he husband is buried.

  • Mary (Bowman) Crichton, daughter of John Bowman and Helen
     Guthrie is buried in an unmarked grave at Balgay cemetery.
    Born August 5, 1831, Curleys, Parish of Carmyllie
    Died June 27, 1896, 2 Keirs Lane, Dundee.  

Unmarked gravesite of
Mary (Bowman) Crichton
at Balgay Cemetery

Gravestone of George Crichton and Mary Bowman in Parish of Panbride.

  • Husband, George Crichton  and three of their children are buried at
    Barry Cemetery, in the Parish of Barry. Mary Bowman is buried at Balgay Cemetery

  • Headstone in Barry Cemetery
    Erected by
    George Crichton
    In memory of his mother
    Isabella Guthrie
    Who died at Carnoustie
    3rd June 1886
    In the 87 year of her age
    And his children
    George who died 17th June 1854
    Age 16 months
    James who died 6th July 1859
    Age 4 years
    Mary who died January 1872
    Age 11 years
    The above
    George Crichton
    Died 30 April 1895
    Age 68 year
    And his spouse
    Mary Bowman
    Died 27th June 1896
    Age 66 years



Helen Bowman married William Fletcher and, when she died in 1904, he bought one lair in Balgay.  William went to Australia where he died aged 91.  The lair to the right was bought shortly after, on 22nd September 1904, in the name of Bella (Isabella) Bowman, Helen's sister.

  • Helen Bowman, daughter of John Bowman and Helen Guthrie.
    Wife of William Fletcher, who died in Melbourne,
    Australia at age 91.
    Born February 26, 1841, Balkello Farm, Parish of Tealing.
    Died September 14, 1904, Dundee, 163 High Street, Lochee

Light gray headstone on left. Helen Bowman

Loving memory
Helen Bowman
Wife of
William Fletcher
Who died 14th September 1904
Aged 56
And of the above
William Fletcher
Who died at Melbourne aged 91

The headstone was broken and the bottom part hidden.  The council superintendent who showed Liz Smith the
stone very kindly pulled it forward so she could read most of the inscription.  Liz found this headstone completely by chance.  "I had no idea of what had happened to Helen after 1881 and that day I was looking for the grave of Isabella Bowman, her sister.  When I found it there was Helen's right next to it.  This was also the site where I realised that the plan to make access of the graves easy for mourners had not altogether worked.  The grave is, like so many others in Balgay, on a slop and I very nearly fell downhill.  Research isn't always done in quiet rooms."


Isabella Bowman, born June 3, 1827 Cottown of Wester Skichen, Parish of Carmyllie, daughter of John Bowman and Helen Guthrie, died August 20, 1908, at 163 High Street, Lochee, Dundee.  The lair at Balgay had already been bought, shortly after her sister Helen died in 1904.  Her niece, also named Isabella Bowman, who lived with Isabella, was buried in the same grave as her aunt.  Isabella's great-nephew Peter Bowman is also buried in this grave.

In loving memory
Isabella Bowman
Who died
 27th August 1908
aged 81 years


  • Niece: Isabella Bowman, daughter of James Bowman and Mary Findlay.
    Granddaughter of John Bowman and Helen Guthrie.
    Born 1876 Carnoustie.
    Occupation: Jute Weaver-possibly working for the firm of Cox Brothers where her half-brother Alexander worked.

    Mother Mary Findlay died of epilepsy when Isabella was three months old. When Isabella's father James Bowman remarried two years later, Isabella went to live with her grandmother Helen Guthrie and aunts in Lochee.  After the death of Grandmother Helen Guthrie, 1882, Isabella continued to live with her aunt Isabella Bowman (1827-1908).

  • Peter Fyffe Bowman, son of Peter Fyffe Bowman and Mary Helen Paton
     Grandson of James Bowman & Margaret Fyffe
     Great grandson of John Bowman and Helen Guthrie.
     Born August 21, 1886. Died March 4, 1919. 
     Buried in same grave as Aunt Isabella Bowman, his father's half-sister.



Two lairs were bought in Balgay cemetery when Charles Bowman, died 1916, and wife Jane Grant died 1928, are buried. Their eldest daughter, Helen Guthrie (Bowman) Law, was buried there too, but is commemorated on another gravestone in the cemetery.  Their two sons are also commemorated on the stone but are actually buried in the grave of their grandparents, David Grant and Barbara Chalmers. 

Erected by
Jean Grant
In memory of her husband
Charles Bowman
Dairyman Lochee
who died 22nd September 1916
aged 72 years
also their sons
John Guthrie Bowman
who died in infancy 31st Oct 1887
David Grant Bowman
who died 2nd August 1888 aged 9 years
The above
Jean Grant
died 12th March 1928
aged 82 years.

  • Charles Bowman, son of John Bowman and Helen Guthrie.
    Born August 14, 1844, Bakello Farm, Parish of Tealing
    Died 1916 . Husband of Jane Grant


  • Jane Grant, daughter of David Grant and Barbara Chalmers
    Born January 29, 1846, Inverarity & Methy
    Died March 12, 1928, East Blackiemuir, Laurencekirk


  • Helen Guthrie (Bowman) Law. Wife of Norman Law
    Daughter of Charles Bowman and Jane Grant. 
    Granddaughter of John Bowman and Helen Guthrie.
    Born: December 27, 1874, Mill of Murroes, Parish of Murroes.
    Died April 17, 1943. Dundee


  • David Grant Bowman, son of Charles Bowman and Jane Grant. 
    Grandson of John Bowman and Helen Guthrie.
    Born April 6, 1879, Mill of Murroes, Parish of Murroes.
    Died August 2, 1888, Dundee.
    Commemorated on the parents' headstone but are:
    Buried at grandparents David Grant and Barbara Chalmers gravesite.


  • John Guthrie Bowman, son of Charles Bowman and Jane Grant. 
     Grandson of John Bowman and Helen Guthrie.
    Born October 9, 1887, Dundee.
    Died October 29, 1887, Dundee. 
    Commemorated on the parents' headstone but are:
    Buried at grandparents David Grant and Barbara Chalmers gravesite.





David Grant and Barbara Chalmers had three lairs. Buried at this site are David and wife Barbara, two sons, and a daughter named Betsy, Jane's sister. However, Liz Smith states, "I cannot find anywhere any record of Betsy and she is not buried in this grave.  Apart from this gravestone she doesn't seem to exit."  Although not mentioned on the headstone at the Grant  gravesite, the two young sons, of Jane and Charles Bowman, named David Grant Bowman and John Guthrie Bowman, are also buried here.

In memory of
David Grant
Died 8th June 1877

Also his wife
Barbara Chalmers
Died 22nd February 1912
Their daughter Betsy
Died 21st May 1884
And their son John
Died 21st September 1880
Their son David Grant
Died 12th April 1935
Also his wife
Margaret W. Ritchie
Died 22nd January 1917
His eldest daughter
Jessie Grant
Died 22nd June 1971
Aged 84 years

On the plinth:
I come to thee Lord Jesus
O hear me when I pray
And in the fountain of they blood
Wash all my sins away

On one of the sides:
In memory of
Their youngest daughter
Isabella R. Grant
Died 16th May 1978
Aged 87 years



Mary Taylor (Bowman) Crichton, daughter of Charles and Jane Bowman, and her husband, Peter Crichton are buried in the lair to the right of her parents. A family story says that Mary was Jane's favourite.  Jane was very fond of a young man and Mary was given the middle name of Taylor in memory of him.  Jane specified that Mary should be given the lair along with the family bible on her (Jane's) death.

  • Mary Taylor Bowman, daughter of Charles Bowman and Jane Grant. 
    Granddaughter of John Bowman and Helen Guthrie.
    Wife of Peter Crichton. Died March 1977, Dundee
    Born February 3, 1884, Dundee
    Died March 1977, age 93

  • Peter Crichton, husband of Mary Taylor Bowman. 
    Born, ca. 1890
    Died July 1963, age 73.

Peter Crichton
Died 28th July 1953
Aged 73 Years
Mary Bowman
Wife of the above
Died 8th March 1977
Aged 93 Years





Helen Bowman is commemorated on a headstone with her husband Norman W. Law.  Helen is buried in the same grave as her parents.  Norman Law, husband of Helen Bowman, bought the lair on the 28th of January 1899 when their first child, Charles B. Law died, aged 3. In 1904 a daughter, Grace, died aged 3 months and was buried beside her brother.  Next was Norman's mother, Mary Morgan, in 1919.  In 1926 their 6 year-old nephew was buried there.  Finally Norman Law was buried in 1955.  The grave is now full.

Sacred to the memory
Our dear father
Norman W. Law
Died 17th March 1955
Aged 83 years
Also our dear mother
Helen G. Bowman
Died 17th April 1943
Aged 68 years
Also their dear daughter
Died 6th May 2000
Aged 88 years

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