Forbes Mausoleum – Falkirk, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Forbes Mausoleum

This abandoned mausoleum from 1815 sits deep within the forest surrounding Callendar House. 


Callendar House is a sprawling, 14th-century French chateau surrounded by over 170 acres of lawn and forest. Heavily frequented by joggers and dog-walkers, the expansive grounds are home to magnificent flora, fauna, and a glistening pond. 

Unbeknown to most, however, is the abandoned mausoleum that lies deeper within the forest. Dating back to 1816, Forbes Mausoleum is a circular, Classical monument memorializing the death of William Forbes I. Designed by Archibald Elliot, it boasts twelve fluted columns that emerge from a podium.

Above the doorway, an inscription of a verse taken from a Greek poem nods to the impermanence of human life. It has been loosely interpreted as follows:

All things we mortals call our ownAre mortal too and quickly flown;But could they all forever stay, We soon from them must pass away.

Several members of the Forbes family are buried in the surrounding cemetery, along with individuals who worked on the estate. Unfortunately, due to time and neglect, the headstones are either broken into pieces or overgrown with vegetation. The remnants can be found a short distance away, walking northwesterly direction.

The mausoleum, now sealed shut, hasn’t been used in years. Heavily tattooed with colorful graffiti, it’s slowly being overtaken by the forest and the markings of those who stumble upon it.

Know Before You Go

Callendar House and Park is free and open to the public. If arriving by car, you can find free parking by the entrance. Once you're at the chateau, head about 800 yards southeast to get to the mausoleum. There are map boards located throughout.

The Park is within a 15 - 20 minute walk from either of the local train stations in Falkirk: Falkirk High and Falkirk Grahamston.

There are lots of great walks and views you can enjoy throughout the park. This includes a portion of the John Muir Walking Trail. One will also find remains of the Roman Antonine Wall running parallel to Callendar Road.

There is a tearoom in the chateau that serves breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea. Please note that the Callendar House is closed on Tuesdays. There are public restrooms nearby, as well as ice cream vans.

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