Old High Kirk, Kilmarnock, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on an impressive and intruiging piece of church architecture as represented by the Old High Kirk ( Presbyterian) at Kilmarnock , Ayrshire, S.W.Scotland which was erected between 1731 and 1734. The design may have been influenced by that of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London which opened in 1724. Further information as follows:

  • Built as a chapel of ease on land given by the Fourth Earl of Kilmarnock in return for “one penn Scots…yearly…if asked”.¬† (¬†A chapel of ease is a place of worship located in a place of convenience for parishoners who experience difficulty in attending the principal church.)
  • Steeple was added in 1740.
  • The church was well known to Scotland’s National Poet, Robert Burns.
  • The first two ministers were James Oliphant and “Black Jock” Russell. Oliphant was¬†the minister from 1764-73 and was¬†mentioned by Burns in ‘The Ordination’ as making the church ‘yell’.¬†Oliphant wrote A Mother’s Catechism and a Sacramental Catechism, both of which¬†achieved popularity in¬†his day.¬†
  • There is another Robert Burns connection in that John Wilson (1759-1821), printer/publisher of the First Edition of Burns’ poems, known as the Kilmarnock Edition, is buried in the church burial ground. Other noteworthy persons buried here are the Tannock Brothers (artists), Thomas Morton (inventor of the barrel-loom) and Thomas Kennedy (inventor of the water meter.)

A fascinating building situated close to the centre of Kilmarnock.

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