Little Dalton Kirk

The ruins of Little Dalton Kirk (DUMFRIESSHIRE, SCOTLAND) can be found on the banks of the Dalton Burn to the NW of the village of Dalton. It lies off the road from Dormont and Mouswald and can be easily missed. The Kirk dates from the  15th century with some masonary dating to a 13th century predecessor. It served the community of Little Dalton and its lords. The village lay on the lands of Holmain, seat of the Carruthers family, one of which fought with Robert the Bruce. The village was a thriving crofting community until the 16th century when the village declined. The Kirk was finally abandoned in 1633 but the graveyard  was used until 1788. There is a table gravestone in memory of Dr William Carruthers dated 1764.

Closeburn Old Kirk

The remains of the former parish church, rebuilt in 1741 incorporating the remains of its predecessor and in use until 1878 when its successor was built.

Norman fragments survive and a 10th.c Anglian cross-shaft (now in Dumfries Museum) and a grave-slab of similar date, preserved in the porch of the modern church in 1920, but now also in Dumfries Museum, are probably from this site, although located only to Closeburn.

The remains consist of an E gable wall 30′ long and 3′ thick with an arched and moulded doorway, a circular window and a belfry which contained a bell dated 1606. “Closeburn” was in 1200 “Kylosbern”, said to be a commemoration of an English saint, but Osbran was an Irish bishop and anchorite who died in 752.

The bell from the belfry still exists and was still “in situ” until recently. It is inscribed:-



Dalton Old Parish Church

Dalton Old Parish Church      

A wee gem of a category A ruin. The ruin we see was built in 1704 and was built on the base of the walls of an earlier church which may date from the 12th century. Some of the base of the earlier church can be seen along the North side. There are stone stairs at each gable which lead to gallery doors. There is an impressive round (bullseye) window on the eastern gable. The Carruthers family features on many of the tombstones and monuments.

The ruin shares the grounds with the present Parish Church which was built in 1895, super seeding the old church.. Although a category B building it is pretty plain in comparison but it does have an interesting tower.



A pair of Clyde-type chambered cairns situated on a hillside above Wigtown Bay at Kirkdale Glen, near Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries and Galloway. Cairnholy may be derived from “Cairn Ulaidh”’ meaning “Treasure Cairn”. The smaller of the two cairns is also called “The Tomb of Galdus”, which is highly unlikely as the cairn was ancient even in Galdus’ day.

“Cairn Ulaidh”, the treasure cairn,
and further up, “The Tomb of Galdus”,
lie bared above Wigtown Bay.
The earth of the mounds
has gone the way of flesh,
has seeped into the hill,
leaving only stone skeletons
and corrupted names.

There are those
who dig deep in such places.
Here they found a jade axe,
the tip of an arrow,
cup and ring marks,
and beneath the threshold,
the impressions of hearths,
signs of ritual fire.

It is that old mystery,
life and death,
time turning, renewal.
Cairnholy just confirms
that there are no new questions.
Here we ask ourselves,
and with the mortar of wonder,
build our own monuments.

Derek Ross.

Kirk (Church) Project

I enjoy history and photography. Some of the best places where these two interests come together are old Kirks (Churches) and Graveyards. I hasten to add that I am not a religious person, but I do find the history of such places to be fascinating. They were, after all, the centre of towns and communities back in the day and were very important. Of course, many still are. I am very lucky to live in Scotland where countless such sites exist with such rich histories.

I started this project pre-lockdown, hopefully I will be able to continue to loose myself in my favourite places soon. Meanwhile, I’ll start with one of the most picturesque wee local Kirks.

Built in 1868. to serve the nearby Maxwelltown House and Parish. It was commissioned by Isabella Laurie as a memorial to her husband John. The house has a connection to Annie Laurie, the subject of the famous song by Lady John Scott. It is now a Grade B listed building. Situated between Dunscore and Moniave in Dumfries and Galloway, the chapel sits in its own grounds. A very beautiful and evocative place.


 The Nith is full
 and pours through the town.
 A heron stands,
 head-still above it all.
 It is waiting,                                                                                                                                                                                            for that one chance.
Debris slides by,
torn by the full tide.

The heron                                                                                                                                                                                               lets it all go… 
                                                                                                                                                                                                             and waits, some more.

 (The Nith - River that flows through Dumfries, Scotland)

 Derek Ross