Castles & Mansions
Cumnock Living Memory Group
Education & Schools
|Armitage, Dr .William|
|Boswell, Annabella Alexandrina Campbell Innes (1826-1914) of Garrallan|
|Boswell, Patrick Charles Douglas of Garrallan|
|Hardie, James Keir|
|Hughes, Nan Hardie|
|Latta, Sir John|
|McCowan, Sir David|
|McTurk, James Keir Hardie|
|Todd, Adam Brown|
|Warrick, Rev. John|
Hotels & Public Houses
A walk round Cumnock Parish Church (Present)Cumnock Old Church stands proudly in the centre of the town, a focal point for its parishioners. Its predecessor, built in 1754, was in such a state of disrepair that the local landowner, the Marquess of Bute, was petitioned and a decision was made to rebuild. In 1864 demolition of the old building began. The weathercock was removed, and is now in the Baird Institute in Lugar Street, and the church bell was hung on the Bell Tree at the foot of the Strand. It continued as Church and Town bell, to be rung twice daily, until the tree became unsafe and had to be cut down. Eventually the bell was installed in the belfry of the school which was built in 1870. That same bell now occupies pride of place in the vestibule of the present church and is well worth inspecting. It was cast in Rotterdam in 1697, decorated with geometric designs and has a hunting scene around its border. De Vesscher bells are very rare, even in Holland, and only three exist in Scotland, the other two in Kirkcudbright and Kells. A plaque in the church tells the bell’s history.
On 23rd August 1864, the foundation stone of the present church was laid. The building cost £6,227 and opened its doors on 15th November 1866 with seating for 1100 parishioners and a gallery for the Marquess of Bute as patron of the parish. The Bute family never used the gallery as they converted to the Roman Catholic faith.
On entering the main door, there are two round blue glass windows, one on either side. These windows were presented by the Women’s Guild in their centenary year – 1987. Access to the church knave is through two glass-panelled doors – the Faith door and the Love door, which depict the sacrament of Holy Baptism and the constancy of God’s love.
Unusually, the pews face the visitor. Right at the far end of the church, looking down from above is the Bute Gallery with the WWI and WWII memorials underneath. On the wall of the Bute Gallery there is a cloth embroidered with the names of all the members of the church from 100 years earlier. Through the back door is the Bute Hall which was once the burial crypt of the Bute family. Around the walls are plaques commemorating those members of the Bute family buried there. There is also a photograph of the church as it once looked before the railings around it were sacrificed for the war effort.
Re-entering the church, facing us on high are the two magnificent stained glass windows over the main door. These were presented by the Marquess of Bute when the church was built. Underneath are the pulpit, the communion table and chairs, the baptismal font and the eye-catching mosaic mural depicting the story told in Matthew Chapter 14 verses 22-32 of Jesus walking on the water and reaching out to rescue Peter. The figure of Jesus with the eleven disciples safely held in the shape of his cloak represents the safety of a boat.
To the left of the pulpit is the library with a large glass-topped table. Under the glass is a table cover on which the church members signed their names which were then outlined in delicate embroidery. This was completed as a Millennium Project.
In the four corners of the table cover are the name and dates of the four previous serving ministers.
Rev. J. Spence Robertson 1875-1927.
Rev. Douglas McClymont 1927-1971.
Rev. James Ferguson 1972-1984.
Rev. Martin McKean 1984-1993.
The present charismatic minister is Rev. John Paterson, a popular figure in the church and within the wider community.
Resting on the table top are photos of the two Indian children currently sponsored by the church – Sandra McFarlane and Abinash. On the side wall are the Skares WWI Memorial and the bell for Skares School.
On the opposite side of the church is the small Memorial Chapel with its communion table on which rests a book commemorating friends and members of the Old Church who have died. In the chapel are two chairs, each with the Bute crest, brought down from the Bute Gallery. Before each chair is a kneeler covered in beautiful tapestry.
Access to the upstairs pews is by staircases on either side of the entrance hall. From there, is a fine view of the knave and also the beautiful commemorative stained glass windows gifted by families in memory of loved ones
Archibald Breckenridge, solicitor, for his wife.
Herbert Morton, former owner of the picture house, for his wife.
The Kerr family window with its exquisite detail.
The Boswell crest in memory of Patrick Boswell of Garallan.
From upstairs, a closer view of the Bute Gallery can be seen, and another view of the stained glass windows above the main door.
On the way downstairs, the intrepid visitor might be tempted to climb the vertical wooden ladder leading to the clock tower, where the clock is wound weekly so that citizens of Cumnock may know the time. The original clock was presented in 1872 by Captain William Allason Cunningham of Logan and Afton and cost 100 guineas.
Cumnock Old Church is steeped in history yet is living testimony to the many people who have worshipped there and have left their mark in the legacies they have bequeathed to the generations still to come.