My blog continues with an underlying Robert Burns theme with special emphasis this evening on the Auld Kirk at Alloway (Old Church at Alloway). Before going into details I will first cover off other developments of the day, viz:

  • Posted information on Collie family history to my separate GlasgowAncestry blog based on information at Glasgow’s Necropolis.
  • Pleased to see that my new web page for Robert Burns has appeared on my Catswhiskerstours website. Burns is Scotland’s national poet who grew up in the Alloway area, maybe an hour south of Glasgow. Very pleasant countryside too!
  • Weather in Glasgow is about par for time of year. Surprisingly dry but still cold with some ice about.
  • Reverting now to my blog theme. A ruined church (Kirk) in a small village in Ayrshire does appear an unusual topic BUT the poet Robert Burns was a great fan of this site on three principal accounts: (1) He buried his father in the kirkyard (see image at right) (2) Burns persuaded his friend Francis Grose to include it in his Antiquities of Scotland publication and (3) the Kirk was the inspiration for Burns famous tale Tam o’Shanter.

The actual site may go back to early Christian times around the 6th century but the current building dates to at least 1516 and possibly the 13th century. By the early 1700s the building had fallen into disrepair and despite some attempts of restoration it has been ruin for about 300 years. There are many interesting and ornate gravestones on the kirkyard including Burns father, his younger sister and two nieces. In Tam o’Shanter, Burns uses a kirkyard scene of witches and warlocks dancing reels and jigs to the tune of bagpipes played by the devil himself. One witch, Nan, almost succeeds in catching Tam at the nearby River Doon; although the witch is thwarted at the last minute she does make off with the tail of the horse, Meg.

I can image that this ancient kiryard would indeed present an eery experince on a dark night.

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