Just inside the entrance, there is a soldier with a list. He is sitting behind a collapsable picnic table. He holds out his hand and I pass him the letter from my inside pocket. 

The soldier examines it, searches his list and strikes off my name with a pink highlighter. He drops my letter into a cardboard box.

“Join the line sir.”

I join the line, feet squarely on the red tape X on the floor.

     the nurses’ mask

Kirkbean Parish Church

Kirkbean Parish has many connections with the United States, so it is perhaps fitting that the distinctive former Parish Church was built in 1776 – the year of American Independence.

However, the upper tower was not added until 1835. Towards the end of the 19th century, the sanctuary was refurbished with Victorian church furnishings.

Kirkbean Church was the oldest church in the combined parish of Colvend, Southwick and Kirkbean until it closed for public services in November 2010. It is now a private dwelling.

The graveyard contains the rather plain slab-stone grave of John Paul Jones‘ father who had been a gardener at nearby Arbigland House. The graveyard, which remains accessible to the public, is a rich source of family history.

Although the current building dates from 1776, earliest indications of a Christian presence in Kirkbean come from the 12th century when the parish was under the patronage of the Benedictine Nuns at Lincluden. They maintained a vicarage at Kirkbean until the end of the 14th century.

The pillars at both sides of the entrance bear the names of those of the parish who served in WW1 and survived, a nice touch.