Glencairn Parish Church and Churchyard

Another very interesting and extremely historical church and churchyard which could easily be missed as it sits behind a row of houses beside the main road through the village of Kirkland. I must admit I was quite taken with this site. The churchyard is a Commonwealth War Grave and also contains many memorials to the fallen of earlier wars. Some of the carvings on the gravestones were quite spectacular. This is my excuse for providing more information than I usually post!


The overgrown East Gable with the West Gable seen below the towers of the present church.
As it used to be!

At least three 10th century cross fragments from this site are preserved. The church was replaced in 1836 by the present one. The Modern(!?) Glencairn Parish Church became a Category A listed building on 3 August 1971. The Gothic-style church was built in 1836 to a design by architect William MacCandlish of Dalry. The transept has unusual arrangement of a large arched opening with the north window and 3 doors recessed on the north wall.

The present Church
Entrance to Churchyard
The present Church
Carving Detail

Gravestone of an individual (John) who died in 1663 aged 100!! Interestingly, the 6 and 3 are the wrong way round.
The Covenanters grave. There are four bodies in here. The inscriptions on the stones and the description on the vertical stone behind them are below.

Gravestones, with appropriate inscriptions, in the churchyard mark the burial places of James Bennoch, Robert Edgar, Robert Mitchell and John Gibson, Covenant martyrs.The Martyrs’ Graves are in a small railed enclosure located 10.0m east of the west end wall of the church.

‘Col. James Douglas, now Liev. General, Brother to the Duke of Queensberry, together with Liev: John Livingston, and a Party with them, surprised 5: men in a Cave at Inglestoun, in the parish of Glencarn, being betrayed by Andrew Watson now prisoner in Drumfries; their names were John Gibson, Robert Grierson, Robert Mitchel, James Bennoch, and John Edgar, all which were at the command of the said Col: Dowglas brought forth & immediately shot dead, without giving them so much time as to recommend their Souls unto GOD. One John Ferguson sometimes a profest Friend, thrust one of them through; supposing he was not dead: This was done in the Year 1685.’ Four of men are buried at Glencairn church under three gravestones stones.

James Dennoch

Stone erected 1702-1714. Inscription:

‘Here lyes James Bennoch shot to death by Col Duglas and Livingstons dragoons at Engleston for adhering to the word of God Christs Kingly goverment in his house and the Covenanted work of Reformation against Tyrany Perjury and Prelacy Apr 28 1685 Rev 12 11.’

‘Here lyes a monument of popish wrath

Because I’m not perjurd I’m shot to death

By chruel hands men godless and unjust

Did sacrifice my blood to Babelss lust.’

Robert Edgar and Robert Mitchell

Stone erected 1702-1714. Inscription:

‘Here lyes Robert Edgar and Robert Mitchell martyrs shot to death by Col Duglas and Lvingstons dragoons at Engliston for adhering to the word of God Christs Kingly goverment in his house and the Covenanted work of Reformation against Tyrany Perjury and Prelacy Apryl 28 1685 Rev – 12-11.’

‘Halt passenger tell if thou ever saw

Men shot to death without process of law

We two of four who in this churchyard ly

Thus felt the rage of popish tyranny.’

John Gibson

Stone erected 1702-1714. Inscription:

‘Here lyes John Gibson martyr shot to death by Col. Douglas and Livingston’s Dragoons at Engleston in Glencairn for adhering to the word of God Christ’s kingly goverment in his house and the Covenanted Work of Reformation against Tyrany, Perjury and Prelacy. April 28 1685 Rev 12 11.’

‘My souls in heaven here’s my dust

By wicked sentance and unjust

Shot dead convicted of no crime

But non complyance with the time

When Babels bastard had command

And monstrous tyrants rul’d the land.’

I think that will do!

By photos,poetry and haiku by Derek Ross

I am a photographer/ poet from Dumfries in South West Scotland. I concentrate on minimalist images and prefer using an iPhone these days. As far as my writing is concerned, I usually write short poems (some in Scots dialect), hence my interest in haiku and related forms.

3 comments

  1. Fascinating story Derek, well researched and presented. Great illustrations too. How do you alwasy manage to get such lovely sunny weather?

    Liked by 2 people

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