Thomas Reid's tombstone

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Thomas Reid's tombstone at the entrance of the Gilbert Scott Building of Glasgow University Reid's Tombstone.JPG
Thomas Reid's tombstone at the entrance of the Gilbert Scott Building of Glasgow University
The Professors' Monument in Glasgow Necropolis where Reid's remains were placed. Prof's Monument.JPG
The Professors' Monument in Glasgow Necropolis where Reid's remains were placed.
Glasgow University Tower
The tombstone is on the right hand side of the entrance to the tower Glasgow University tower - - 1108298.jpg
Glasgow University Tower
The tombstone is on the right hand side of the entrance to the tower

Thomas Reid D.D. (17101796), was Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow and founder of the Scottish common sense movement in philosophy. Remarkably, his tombstone is to be found in the vestibule of the main building of Glasgow University and directly under the 85m (278 feet) high tower of the Gilbert Scott Building. Reid’s remains were originally laid in Blackfriars Church burial-ground, in the grounds of Glasgow College in the High Street, Glasgow. The tombstone was removed when the College moved to Gilmorehill in 1870. It was placed in its present position when the building of the Tower above it was begun, thus forming a fitting ‘monument’ to Reid. In comparison, the Scott Monument in Edinburgh is only 200.5 feet (61.1 m).

Thomas Reid Scottish philosopher

Thomas Reid was a religiously trained British philosopher, a contemporary of David Hume as well as "Hume's earliest and fiercest critic". He was the founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense and played an integral role in the Scottish Enlightenment. In 1783 he was a joint founder of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

University of Glasgow University located in Glasgow, Scotland and founded in 1451.

The University of Glasgow is a public research university in Glasgow, Scotland. Founded by papal bull in 1451, it is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. Along with the universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and St. Andrews, the university was part of the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century.

Scott Monument Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott

The Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It is the second largest monument to a writer in the world after the José Martí monument in Havana. It stands in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, opposite the Jenners department store on Princes Street and near to Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station, which is named after Scott's Waverley novels.



Tombstone inscription may be translated as follows:

Sacred to the memory of Thomas Reid, S.T.P., formerly Professor of Philosophy at King’s College, Aberdeen; more recently Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow, from the year 1764 to the year 1796; who renewed everything in the science of the human mind, as once the distinguished Lord Bacon of St. Albans did in natural philosophy; who combined sharpness of mind, all kinds of learning, utmost seriousness of character, and likewise kindness; who died 7th October, 1796, at the age of 86, and whose bones together with the ashes of Elizabeth Reid, his much loved wife, and three daughters carried off by premature death, are buried here in this tomb. The erection of this monument was ordered by his most affectionate, and only surviving daughter, Martha Carmichael. [1]

The full Latin inscription is as follows:

Memoriae sacrum THOMAE REID, S.T.P., quondam in Schola Regia Aberdonensi Philosophiae Professoris; nuper vero, in Universitate Glasguensi, ab anno 1764 usque ad annum 1796, Phi1osophiae Moralis Professoris; qui in Scientia Mentis Humanae, ut olim in Philosophia Naturali illustris ille Baconus Verulamius, omnia instauravit; qui ingenii acumini, doctrinaeque omnigenae, summam morum gravitatem, simul atque comitatem, adjunxit; qui obiit 7th October, 1796, annos natus 86. Cujusque ossa cum cineribus ELIZABETHAE REID, conjugis carissimae, triumque filiarum, morte praematura abreptarum, sepulchro hic condita sunt, hoc Monumentum poni jussit filia piissima, unica superstes, Martha Carmichael." [2]


When the Glasgow College buildings in the High Street were demolished, Reid’s remains were placed with those of other professors and their families in the Professors’ Monument in the Glasgow Necropolis near Glasgow Cathedral. The Monument is at the south end of the sixth row of monuments from the eastern end of the cemetery, and overlooking Reid’s home in Drygate. [3] It has the following inscription: "In memory of Professors of the University of Glasgow and members of their family whose bodies were interred in Blackfriars Churchyard and removed here in 1876."

Glasgow Necropolis cemetery in Glasgow, Scotland

The Glasgow Necropolis is a Victorian cemetery in Glasgow, Scotland. It is on a low but very prominent hill to the east of Glasgow Cathedral. Fifty thousand individuals have been buried here. Typically for the period only a small percentage are named on monuments and not every grave has a stone. Approximately 3500 monuments exist here.

Glasgow Cathedral Church in Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow Cathedral, also called the High Kirk of Glasgow or St Kentigern's or St Mungo's Cathedral, is the oldest cathedral on mainland Scotland and is the oldest building in Glasgow. Since the Reformation the cathedral continues in public ownership, within the responsibility of Historic Environment Scotland. The congregation is part of the established Church of Scotland's Presbytery of Glasgow and its services and associations are open to all. The cathedral and its kirkyard are at the top of High Street, at Cathedral Street. Immediately neighbouring it are Glasgow Royal Infirmary, opened in 1794, and the elevated Glasgow Necropolis, opened in 1833. Nearby are the Provand's Lordship, Glasgow`s oldest house and its herbal medical gardens, the Barony Hall, University of Strathclyde, Cathedral Square, Glasgow Evangelical Church, and St Mungo Museum.

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  1. Translated with the help of the Classic Department of Glasgow University.
  2. Reid may have written at least part of this epitaph himself before his death. The reference to the works of Francis Bacon reflects his own interest and in a late letter to Dugald Stewart, he draws his former pupil's attention to the importance of Bacon. See, for example, Daniel N. Robinson,'Thomas Reid's Critique of Dugald Stewart', Journal of the History of Philosophy, Volume 27, Number 3, July 1989, pp. 405-422.
  3. Cf. A. C. Fraser, Thomas Reid in the Famous Scots Series (Edinburgh: Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier, 1898), p. 128.). Other remains of professors were transferred to Craigton Cemetery in the south-west of the city.