A great many Kirks I visited in Ayrshire were designed by people from prosperous Towns and Cities far away. Mauchline Parish Kirk was designed by local architect William Alexander. Mr Alexander became a regular worshipper at the Kirk and it's refreshing to hear of such local connection. Without a doubt the Kirk is inexorably linked with Ayrshire's own poet Robert Burns and many of his friends. The whole graveyard is dotted with plaques indicating a wealth of who's who among the bards contemporaries. I did not photograph each site but did take a few images to give the general feeling of things in the Kirk yard. Photos are below.
The Cowgate itself is where James Armour, Robert Burns father-in-law owned several cottages. None exist today through general decay and a huge fire in 1909 which ended the life of many of the thatched single storey dwellings. Robert Burns reputedly chatted with his wife to be through a gable window of one of the cottages in the shadow of the Kirk. Locals tell me that when the cottage was demolished the window that Jean Armour used to lean out of to talk to Rabbie, was preserved.
The window was given at the time to William McMillan who was the village banker. As luck would have it Mr McMillan saw the importance of such a piece that he donated it to the Burns Museum. A great story and all happening within a stones throw of the Parish Kirk. I would like to mention incidentally, about the gargoyle image at the top of the page. Mauchline Parish Church has a total of four gargoyles, one pair each over the two main doors. They were sculpted by a gentleman named Mr Thom. Click on the face top image to enlarge.
Mr Thom was not a stranger to Robert Burns and his illustrious friends. For those who are familiar with the Burns Museum in Alloway Ayrshire, Mr Thom was also responsible for the statues of Souter Johnie and Tam O'Shanter.
Photo: Mauchline Parish Church. May 2005. Click to enlarge.