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History and Background

The presesnt church was opened for public worship in August 1829.
It stands on the site of St Michael's church which dates back to the the thirteenth century and which was granted parochial status by the Bishop of Glasgow in 1315.
St Michael's Parish Church stood on land belonging to Melrose Abbey and in those days the Parish comprised of the present Parishes of Mauchline, Sorn and Muirkirk




Protestantism was greatly aided in Mauchline by visits to the parish by two of the Reformation's most influential figures.
In 1544George Wishart, finding the doors of the church barred against him, preached for three hours on Mauchline Moor. Following his return from exile in France and Switzerland, in 1559, John Knox preached at Kingencleugh.
It was Robert Campbell of Kingencleugh that Knox entrusted the care of his widow and children.
When the Scottish Parliament adopted the "Confession of the Faith" in 1560 the Reformation was immediately accepted in Mauchline.



The interior of the building

The present interior of the church dates from the mid 1950's when extensive renovations had to be carried out due to the discovery of dry rot. At the rear-right hand side of the building there is a memorial plaque to the Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Mitchell, minister of the parish from 1890 till 1930 and Moderator of the last General Assembly before the union of the Chuch of Scotland and the United Free Church in 1929.

The organ was built by Willis in1888 for Strathbungo Parish Church, Glasgow. It was gifted and instaled in 1980 with a legacy bequeathed by the Rev. A. Stewart, the last Minister of Mauchline North Church. At this time the chancel was also refurbished.

The stained glass window was erected in 1903 and is dedicated to the memory of Major General Sir Claud Alexander, Bart of Ballochmyle. It has four lights which portray the story of Christ and Centurion.

The silver Baptismal Basinwas gifted in 1788 by the Honourable Lady Anne Whitfoord in acknowledgement of the many happy years she had spent in Mauchline under thew excellent instruction of the then minister the Rev. William Auld ("Daddie Auld" of Robert Burns's "The Kirk's Alarm"). The church still has in it's possession the Minute Book relating to the Burns era and in June 1786 he appeared before the Session and admitted his responsibility for Jean Armour's pregnancy and, as a result, both had to appear in Church on three occations to receive public rebuke. Two years later both again appeared again before the Session when it was agreed that thier marriage should be regularised. In this way Burns made peace with the Church and gave a guinea note for the relief of the poor.


Hold the mouse on a letter to see who is buried there, then click for more details

Daddy Auld John Richmond Clockie Brown James Whitefoord Andrew Noble James Humphrey The Armour burying ground James Smith The Ballochmyle Graves Dr. Matt Stewart Mary Morrison Gavin Hamilton Willie Patrick Master Tootie 1885 Stone 1796 Stone James Hamilton Geo Jullian Harney Robert Wilson Holy Willie Nanse Tinnock Godly Bryen The Poosie Nansie Graves


A. This stone was donated by a poor Catrine widow, being all she could afford, as a contribution to the construction of Secession Church in 1796. It was the hearthstone from her house.Return to map

B. In 1884 the Secession Church building was taken down, a new church being built and paid for by October 1885.These two stones were saved from the building when the then north church was demolished after the union of Mauchline north and old churches in 1976.Return to map

C.WILLIE PATRICK- Herd boy and outdoor servant at Mossgiel. Proud of his association with the Burns family: his reminiscences were published as a booklet in 1881.Return to map

D. "MASTER TOOTIE" - Alias Laird McGaun, referred to in a poem addressed to Gavin Hamilton recommending a boy. Cromek states he was a knavish cattle dealer.Return to map

E. JAMES SMITH - This whiter stone commemorates the death of a covenanter shot in 1685 near Galston after aiding the escaped of covenanters imprisoned at Newmilns. He died of his wounds in Mauchline Prison. The date on the tombstone is in error.Return to map

F. THE ARMOUR BURYING GROUND - Four of Burns children are buried here. Three died in infancy and the forth, Elizabeth Riddell Burns, born at Dumfries in 1792, died at Mossgiel in 1793.Return to map

G. JAMES HUMPHREY - the subject of Burns "Epitaph on a noisy Polemic". He used to introduce himself to visitors from whom he hoped to obtain a trifle with "Please Sir, I'm the bletherin bitch".Return to map

H. ANDREW NOBLE - Parish Schoolmaster and Session Clerk of the church in Burns' time. The Greek inscription reads "The best things are laid up for us in heaven".Return to map

I. JAMES WHITEFOORD - Infant son of Sir John & Lady Whiterfoord of Ballochmyle. Sir John was a patron of Burns and an enthusiastic Freemason: his daughter Mary Jane Whitefoord was the heroine of Burns' song "Farewell to Ballochmyle".Return to map

J. JOHN RICHMOND - Born in 1765 and a clerk in the office of Gavin Hamilton - an early friend of Burns. Richmond moved to Edinburgh in 1785 and when Burns arrived a year later he stayed with him. In 1789 Richmond established himself in Mauchline as a solicitor.Return to map

K. "DADDY AULD" - The Rev. William Auld respected minister of the Parish Church for 50 years. Born in 1709, educated at Edinburgh University and then at Glasgow and Leyden. He died in 1791.Return to map

L. "CLOCKIE BROWN" - John Brown mentioned by Burns in his poem "The Court of Equity". He was a watch & clockmaker.Return to map

M. THE BALLOCHMYLE GRAVES - A railed enclosure. Wilhelmina Alexander the heroine of "The Bonnie Lass of Ballochmyle" is buried in Glasgow, not here.Return to map

N. THE POOSIE NANCY GRAVES - Black Geordie Gibson, his wife Agnes Ronald (Poosie Nansie) and their daughter "Racer Jess". Poosie Nansie was the landlady of the licensed ale & whiskey shop, which was the scene of the "Jolly Beggars Cantata".Return to map

O. "GODLY" BRYEN"- James Bryen, a farmer at Welton, also mentioned in "The Court of Equity".Return to map

P. DR MATT STEWART - Dr Stewart was born in 1717 and was an eminent 'geometrician' at Edinburgh University. He died on 23rd January 1785 and "near this spot are deposited his mortal remains". His son Dugald Stewart was professor of Moral Philosophy also at Edinburgh University. It was in 1786 at Dugald Stewart's home in Catrine that Robert Burns "dinnerd wi' a Lord" (Lord Daer).Return to map

Q. NANSE TINNOCK - Keeper of an ale house in Castle Street frequented by Burns.Return to map

R. MARY MORISON - claimed to be the poet's "Bonnie Mary Morison" but this is in some doubt. Ellison Begbie (Peggie Alison) is now regarded as the heroine of the lyric "Mary Morison".Return to map

S. "HOLY WILLIE" - William Fisher ordained an Elder in 1782. The subject of "Holy Willie's Prayer" and "Epitaph on Holy Willie". Rebuked by the Session for drunkenness in 1790. He was found dead in a snow-filled ditch in 1809.Return to map

T. ROBERT WILSON - "The Gallant Weaver". Reputed sweetheart of Jean Armour during her estrangement from Burns and subject of the song of that title.Return to map

U. GAVIN HAMILTON - Writer or lawyer in Mauchline and friend of Burns. Both belonged to the "New Lichts" (liberal thinkers in religion) and were Freemasons. The lines on the plaque are from Burns' poem "A Dedication to Gavin Hamilton, Esq.".Return to map

V. GEO JULIAN HARNEY - This stone commemorates the last leader of the Chartist movement - a potent force for electoral and social reform in the nineteenth century.Return to map

W. JAMES HAMILTON - A message boy at Mossgiel when burns lived there. He was once sent with a letter to Jean Armour with earnest admonition to "give it to no-one but herself". Return to map

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