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Genealogy Section








[From articles contributed to the Largs and North Ayrshire Family History Society Magazine by Dr Bill Gibb. Permission given to reproduce these articles here by Dr Bill Gibb]

Pictures provided by Dr Bill Gibb (Arran) and Kenny Monnaghan

[Ardrossan Castlehill]  [Ardrossan Parish]  [Beith Auld Kirk]  [Beith Boys Brigade]  [Beith Cemetery]  [Beith Church of our Lady]  [Brodick Old Graveyard]  [Brodick Cemetery]  [Brodick Castle]  [Cumbrae Cathedral of the Isles]  [Dalry St Margaret's]  [Dalry Cemetery]  [Dreghorn Churchyard]  [Dreghorn Cemetery]  [Fairlie Burials]  [Haylie Brae Cemetery]  [Holy Isle]   [Irvine Old Parish]  [Kilbirnie Auld Kirk]  [Kilbirnie Old Cemetery]  [Kilbirnie New Cemetery]  [Kilmory]  [Kilwinning Abbey]  [Kilwinning Bridgend] [Knadgerhill]  [Lamlash] [Largs Old Parish Church Graveyard]  [Lenimore]  [Little Cumbrae] [Lochranza] [Perceton] [Pirnmill] [Prehistoric Graves]  [Sannox]  [Shiskin]   [Shewalton]  [Stevenston New Street]  [Stevenston Hawkhill]  [Stevenston High Kirk]   [The Sailor's Grave]  [The Prophet's Grave]  [West Kilbride]


The following is an attempt to provide information that will assist members, who may he unfamiliar with the areas, to locate the graves and burial records of their North Ayrshire ancestors.


Monumental Inscriptions

In 1983 the inscriptions on monumental stones in burial grounds of Cunninghame District were recorded, under the auspices of the Manpower Services Commission and of Cunninghame District Council, and further supported by Largs and District Historical Society and the Friends of Cumbrae Museum. This effort resulted in the production of eleven large volumes of inscriptions, covering the area now known as North Ayrshire, indexed by names and located by maps of the graveyards and cemeteries. Each stone was also photographed. The volumes are located in the Historical Section of Ardrossan Library (Tel 01294 469137). Each local library also holds a copy of the monumental inscriptions for the local cemetery.


PART 1. The Three Towns.



There are seven burial grounds in the area of Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston. Two are in day to day use, and one is in occasional use. 

Probably the oldest disused graveyard is that on Castlehill, Ardrossan, most conveniently reached from Hill Place. The 36 monumental stones lie in grass about 160 metres north of the castle ruins, and on the south side of the rectangle of foundation stones, all that remains of the church destroyed by a hurricane in 1691. The grave stones are so weathered that at least 24 of them no longer show an inscription. The remainder carry only fragments of words and occasional names. The oldest date that is legible is 1662. There is no register of those graves.

A second church was erected in 1697 at a more sheltered spot, about a mile from the castle, beside the Stanley Bum, but it fell into disrepair and was abandoned in 1744. The remains of this church, again merely a rectangle of stones, may be seen in a small park on the north side of Stanley Road about 100 metres west of the point where the Stanley Burn passes under the road. There is record of one burial within this building, and those of five of the Weir family of Kirkhall in an adjacent private burial ground. The latter is no longer evident. Details are given in "Historical Notes of Ardrossan" by Arthur Guthrie, (1882).

A third church was erected at Manse Street, Saltcoats, but it too was later replaced by a larger building in 1773, as Ardrossan Parish Church, on the same site. A graveyard was established on the south side of the building. Nowadays it contains 192 monumental stones. When the inscriptions were recorded in 1983, at least 20 stones were found to be illegible. A register of 575 interments between 1874 and 1915 is available for examination in the Local History Section of Ardrossan Public Library. Unfortunately, there is no name index to the volume. This church ceased to function in 1908 and is now a museum.

Ardrossan Parish Cemetery was established in 1854. It occupies a large walled area on the west side of Sorbie Road. The entrance is about 100 metres north of the crossroads with Parkhouse Road and the High Street. Up to the present time, almost twenty five thousand burials have taken place in this site. When the recording of the inscriptions was carried out in 1983, the map that was also prepared was arbitrarily divided into sections labelled A,B,C, and D and the graves in each section numbered. A Surname index is provided for each section. owing to the large number of graves in each section the searcher will probably find it helpful to copy from the book a little sketch map as an aid to locating the grave.

As with all other Council controlled cemeteries in North Ayrshire, the Burial Registers, Lair Registers, and maps showing the location of a lair are now held in the Cemeteries Office at 43 Ardrossan Road (Tel: 01294 605436), where they may be viewed by appointment. Unfortunately, however, these maps use a totally different numbering system to that in the monumental inscription volumes. Here the letter A to D signify the type and location of the lair within a section of the graveyard, rather than the section in which it is to be found. The burials are recorded chronologically, so one has to know the approximate date of the burial to find the location of the grave. 

Ardrossan Public Library has four volumes of Burial Registers for this cemetery. In general they contain more information than the lair Registers. Three of the volumes cover the period 1874,to 1957. In the first (1872 - 1903), when the deceased is a child the name of the parent or guardian is included. In the two later volumes, details of the condition, occupation and residence of the deceased are provided. The fourth Register is entitled "Burials in section E, 1900 - 1974". No monumental inscriptions will be found for those listed in this Register, since they were designated as "paupers". They are buried in this graveyard in areas known as "common ground", and although the Lairs are numbered, no names are shown on the cemetery maps. I understand that this method of dealing with such destitute persons was discontinued after Regionalisation. Nowadays a Local Authority Department such as Social Work, etc will purchase a Lair for the deceased.

The best technique to finding details of an ancestor buried in this cemetery is to first use the monumental inscription name index. This will give date of death, and from this, the cemetery map, the Burial Register and the Lair Register should provide all the information required.

New Street Cemetery, Stevenston, is relatively difficult to find. It is situated behind houses on the west side of the street (B752). and is approached through a lane whose entrance is about 230 metres from the junction with Stevenston Main Street. The Stevenston Bum and a high steel fence separate the cemetery from the adjoining back gardens. The gate is kept locked, but there is a notice indicating where a key may be obtained. The cemetery was opened in 1861 and contains 681 monumental stones. Again, further information may be obtained at the Council Cemeteries Office. 

Hawkhill Cemetery is situated on the eastern outskirts of Stevenston, on the north side of the A78, and just beyond the junction with the B752 to Ardeer. It is a non-denominational cemetery opened in 1929, designed to take over from New Street Cemetery. By 1983 it contained about 2000 monumental stones. The numbering of the location of the stones, used by those who recorded the monumental inscriptions, is again quite different from that used in the Lair maps located in the Council Cemeteries Office. All three cemeteries are kept in good condition by the Council.

Stevenston High Kirk (Church of Scotland) stands on high ground on the north side of Stevenston Main Street. A small church dating from 1670 was erected in 1744 and replaced by the present church in 1833. The graveyard situated around the church, contains over 420 monumental stones and extends on the east side down a steep slope to the Stevenston Bum. A large number of the stones am broken and illegible. Although it is thought that some stones were set in place during the 17th Century, the earliest legible stone dates from 1707. Within the church there are a number of commemorative plaques and stained glass windows upon which various persons are named. Vaults beneath the floor hold the remains of members of landed families in the area. 

Here also in 1983 the legible monumental inscriptions were recorded, black and white photographs taken, and a map showing their location drawn. A Register of burials was sent to the Scottish Record Office in 1961, where it may be found at Ref. CH2/336/2. It contains records of burials from 1820 - 1849. It appears that after that date persons were buried in the graveyard of Ardrossan Parish Church or in the new local cemeteries.


No deaths appear to have been recorded for Ardrossan or Saltcoats in OPR576. However.

The Registers available are:

Ardrossan Cemetery - Burial Register and Lair Register, 1874 to date. (A name index is available).

New Street Cemeterv. Stevenston - Burial Register from 1895 to 1998, including a name index 

Hawkhill Cemetery, Stevenston - Burial Register and Lair Register, 1930 to date.

Old Parish Registers

It appears that subsequent to OPR 576, Ardrossan, there are records in a Supplementary Register of some 48 deaths occurring between 1818 and 1854, provided by persons who came forward with details after 1855. A type written list is available in the Local History Section of Ardrossan Public Library.


Part 2. BEITH.

In Beith there is a active public cemetery, and three disused graveyards associated with churches.

Beith CemeterySituated on the east side of King Street in the north west corner of the town, this burial ground slopes down to the north into the Garnock valley, providing excellent views in that direction. It was opened about 1863 and is very well kept. The graves are interspersed with occasional shrubs and rose bushes. By 1883 - 84 when the Manpower Service Commission transcribed the monumental inscriptions there were more than 1400 gravestones.

Records at the Cemeteries Office, Ardrossan Road.

Burial Register, including dates of death, exist only from January 1959

The Lair Registers date from 9th November 1863 and include the dates of interment.

The Auld Kirk GraveyardThe remains of the Auld Kirk surrounded by a small graveyard and an iron railing with a padlocked gate are located on the west side of the town Cross, between Eglington Street and Main Street. The first parish church was built on that site in 1593, extended in 1754, and a belfry added about 1800. When the new parish church was built elsewhere in the town in 1807 - 10 the oldest parts of the original church were demolished leaving only the belfry and a small windowless stone building a few feet from it. A number of the gravestones are laid on the ground and are no longer legible. Within the belfry there are among others a number of plaques commemorating the Patrick family, landowners in the area. One cannot gain entry to the other small building, which is also reported to contain a plaque, since the key was broken off in the lock about three years ago and nothing has been done to remove it. It is thought that this building formerly served as a mortuary, as it contains a horizontal stone slab and a sink supplied with water.

There are a total of 179 gravestones within the graveyard, of which 77 were found in 1883 to be illegible, or blank. The earliest legible stone is dated 1709. The book containing a record of remaining inscriptions with a map showing the location of the graves in this and other Beith burial grounds is available in both Beith Public library and Ardrossan Library.

The keys for the padlock on the gate and for the door to the belfry are available from the occupant of the cottage at the entrance to Beith cemetery,

The Boys Brigade Hall Graveyard.  This building stands in grounds on the north side of Head Street and dates from 1784. Its current use is announced in bold lettering and a crest on the frontage. A former Dissenterís church. it served various congregations until 1928. In later years it became a cinema before passing into the hands of the Boys Brigade. The grounds in which it stands are the graveyard of the former church, and are surrounded by high walls and iron railings. There is a large double leaved entry gate that is not locked. The gravestones are in relatively good order, although some of them have collapsed. The inscriptions show dates from 1809 to 1957. In 1984 only three stones were found to have been illegible inscriptions.

Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Graveyard.  This Roman Catholic Church stands near the corner of Mitchell Street and Crummock Street. At the corner within the church grounds there is a small garden which appears in former years to have been a graveyard. Four gravestones are still evident within it. This building. formerly known as Mitchell Street Church was another of the Beith dissenting Presbyterian churches, before passing to the Roman Catholics. The inscriptions on the gravestones are in good order and appear to date from the period 1850 - 1870, before change of ownership of the building. There is no evidence that those particular inscriptions were transcribed in 1983 - 84.

Old Parish Registers.  OPR58 1 records deaths in Beith from 178.3 to 1787.





In Dalry there is a church graveyard and two cemeteries. 

St Margaretís Church stands near the centre of the town at the southwest side of " The Cross ". The present building is the third church on this site and dates from 1873. The two earlier churches built respectively in 1604 and 1771 became too small to cope with the ever-increasing congregation, as the town and itís industries grew in size.

The gravestones stand around the church and in a large walled plot on itís south side. The earliest decipherable memorial carries the date 1706 and the latest one appears to be 1876. There are 123 monumental stones in all, and about 29 of them appear to have been illegible when the inscriptions were transcribed in 1983-84. The walled plot became a " Garden of Remembrance " about twenty years ago. A number of large gravestones stand along the inside of the wall or lie flat in front of it. Few of them now bear any legible inscription. There is a central grass patch with some low concrete blocks that appear to be all that remains of benches bordering the path around it. At least one gravestone carries some very obvious graffiti.

Within the church there are a number of memorial plaques and stained glass windows bearing the names of once important / wealthy townspeople.

With the increasing population in the industrial areas of the country it became obvious by mid 19th Century that the church yards could no longer cope with the demand for burial space. Accordingly the Government passed a Law in 1850 that enabled Local Authorities in London to purchase land and create public cemeteries. In the next few years this was extended throughout England and to Parochial Boards in Scotland, who were quick to take advantage of this relief. Thus most public cemeteries date from this period.

Dalry Cemetery is located in the north western outskirts of the town. The entrance is on the north side of West Kilbride Road, ( B870 ), and the cemetery opens out in a roughly triangular layout on rising ground with a south facing open aspect. It is neatly kept and all monumental stones appear to have legible inscriptions. Only a few have fallen. There are a total of 983 monumental stones, the earliest bearing the date 1855.

Towards the end of the 1940ís it was becoming apparent that burials could not continue unless more ground space was found. A new cemetery was thus created in 1948 outside the east wall of the existing one and continues today in active use.

Details of the monumental inscriptions in these burial grounds, as transcribed in 1983-84, are available in Dalry Library.

Burial Records.

Such Registers as are available are to be found in three locations.

1) Ayrshire Archives at Craigie, Ayr has:  Dalry Burying Ground Register of Burials 1866- 1935,  Dalry Burying Ground Ledger 1867- 1886

2) Ardrossan Local History Library, Princes St, Ardrossan has:  Registers of Burials 1867- 1894,  Dalry Cemetery Caretakerís Book 1914-1935

3) North Ayrshire Cemeteries Office, Ardrossan Rd, Saltcoats has:  Register of Burials 1935 to date,  Lair Books 1867 to date

Old Parish Registers - No deaths are apparent in OPR 587 for Dalry.



This small island is privately owned and may be visited only after receiving the owner's permission. At its southwest side, on a cliff top near the beach, there is a small graveyard. Measuring about four metres square, it is surrounded by a low stone wall that gives it the appearance of a sheep pen. 

It contains
eight graves, three along the west wall and the rest along the east wall.
The former comprise two graves of members of the Wodrow family who lived on the island during the eighteenth century, and that of Alex Urquhart, a game keeper, who was drowned in 1946 when, on returning to the island, his boat filled with water. The remaining five graves are of members of the Parker family who prior to the current owner had purchased the island in 1913. The burials date from 1956 to 1972.

The monumental inscriptions on gravestones on both islands may be viewed in the Millport library. This opens only on Tuesday afternoon and evening and on Friday morning and afternoon. As with other North Ayrshire inscriptions they are also available in the Local History Dept. of Ardrossan Library.

Great Cumbrae.



On this larger island there are four graveyards and a modern cemetery. Two of the graveyards are associated with the Cathedral of the Isles situated inland from the Millport seafront. The Cathedral and the associated College buildings, standing on high ground within an extensive walled garden on the east side of College Street, were opened in 1851 and the Cathedral consecrated in 1876 

Close to the west side of the Cathedral building on levelled ground there is a small rectangular graveyard containing
38 engraved stones. These mark the graves of the Episcopal clergy and staff of the Cathedral. Also present is the grave of Hon. George Frederick Boyle, Sixth Earl of Glasgow, Founder and Principal Benefactor of the Cathedral and College.

About two hundred metres further up the east side of College street there is a wooden gate with a footpath beyond leading to a group of gravestones in a small field. This is the burial ground of members of the Cathedral's Episcopal congregation. In 1983 when the monumental inscriptions were recorded it contained
39 gravestones and 10 grave marker posts. Although it is still an active cemetery, it is now in a very poor state. Many of the gravestones lie tumbled and askew in long grass.

There are two burial registers held in the Cathedral for those graveyards, but they do not appear to state in which graveyard and at what point each grave is located. The earliest recorded burial is on 22 September 1851. An examination of the Registers may be arranged by contacting the Priest in Charge, Rev. Tony Burdon (Tel: 01475 530353). A donation towards the Cathedral funds would be appropriate for this service.

The other three burial grounds are communal and lie adjacent to Golf Road on the outskirts of Millport.

The entrance to the first of those (Millport 'Old Cemetery') is on the left side of the road a few hundred metres beyond the junction with Bute Terrace. It lies somewhat incongruously between the buildings of Mid Kirkton Farm and a Caravan Park. Apparently there are records of a church being erected on this site in 1612. However, with an ever-increasing population, it was demolished and replaced by a larger building in 1802. This in turn was demolished and the present Parish Church erected a short distance away in Bute Terrace in 1837. No trace of the early church is evident in the 
Old Cemetery, but a row of small gravestones near its centre with inscriptions dating from early in the Eighteenth Century (the earliest is 1703) may show its approximate position. The vehicular access to this burial ground, now grass covered, is up a short steep slope, while pedestrian access is by a small flight of steps and through the remains of a turnstile.

The cemetery has a roughly rectangular shape and contains
371 stones. It is neatly kept and there are very few fallen stones. On either side of the entrance a number of the monuments have been built into the surrounding stone wall. 

At the far end of the site beside a small mausoleum there is an opening in the wall leading to an extension known locally as the 'Middle Cemetery'. It has a triangular area and contains
207 stones. They are arranged in neat rows, and the earliest inscriptions refer to deaths in 1870. A small number of the stones have collapsed.

A short distance further up the right side of Golf Road lies the island's modern cemetery. 
The site is level and the stones are arranged in neat parallel rows. It appears very well kept. The earliest stones carry dates in 1936. Each grave has a numbered marker that should make very simple the search for a particular one.

Burial Records.

The Cemeteries office is located within the Local Authority Housing Department on the Millport seafront at 49 Stuart Street (Tele: 01475 530471). The burials are recorded in Lair books that act also as Registers. The records for the Old and Middle Cemeteries extend from September 1848 to 1949. There are four such Lair Book/Registers for the modern Cemetery, lairs being purchased as earl as 1933 while burials did not start until 1936.

Cumbraes OPR 552 does not record deaths. 







There are nine graveyards/ cemeteries on Arran with monuments carrying legible inscriptions. In 1983 - 84 the monumental inscriptions were copied and may be seen at the Isle of Arran Heritage Museum, Rosaburn Brodick, which is open daily from 1st April to 23rd October ( 10.30 am - 4.30 pm ). Outwith this period it is only open on a Wednesday ( Tel 01770 302636 ). A further copy of the volume of inscriptions is available in Ardrossan Library, Dept. of Local History ( Tel 01394 469137).

The ruined remains of medieval chapels may be seen at various points on the island, some with gravestones lacking inscriptions. Details of those chapels are given in an introduction to the monumental inscriptions volume. 

Burial Registers/ Lair Books for most of the graveyards / cemeteries are available at the local Cemeteries Office within the Registrarís Office building on Shore Road, Lamlash, (Tel 01770 600338 ), and may be examined by prior appointment. Details of the periods for which information is available are given below for each site.

1. LAMLASH. Kilbride graveyard and cemetery.

This burial ground stands on a hillside to the northeast of Lamlash. It may be reached by a narrow winding road passing through Lamlash golf course. One enters this road from the main Brodick - Lamlash road at a point about 150 meters past the entrance to the golf course. It is easily missed.

The graveyard is surrounded by a brick wall, and contains the ruined and roofless remains of St Brides chapel that appears to date from the 14th Century, and is said to have served as Kilbride Parish Church until sometime in the 18th Century. The graveyard is closely packed with 458 monumental stones, a number of which stand within the chapel ruins. The earliest legible stone carries the date 1603

On the north side of the graveyard there is a large modem cemetery divided into two sections and containing, in 1984, a total of 585 monumental stones. The eastern section appears to date from the late 19th century, while the western section contains graves from about 1940. As with all Arran burial grounds, everything is neat and well kept. 

Burial Records. Three Lair Books, from 1883 -, from 1945 -, and from 1977 -.

2. BRODICK. Old Graveyard.

This graveyard, which was formerly associated with Glenshurig church, is located beside the String Road at the junction with the cart tracks to Glenrosa and Glenshurig. It is totally screened from the road by trees and bushes, and the entrance to it is only easily discoverable when on foot. The church was erected in 1839 and demolished about 1931 when the congregation joined the Church of Scotland in Brodick. Having the appearance of an isolated forest clearing, the graveyard contains 121 monumental stones, the earliest legible one dating from 1863. What appears to be the latest inscription records a death in 1978.

Brodick Cemetery.

The modern Brodick Cemetery is located a short distance further up the String Road and on its south side. It slopes up from the road and is screened from it by a high neat hedge. There is no Notice Board to indicate the presence of the cemetery. At the time of writing it contained 60 monumental stones, the earliest inscription dating from 1985

Burial Records. Three Lair Books, from 1895 -, from 1910 -, and from 1985 -.


On the hillside above the Castle and within the estate there is a small private cemetery adjacent to the path that leads to Goat Fell. It contains three graves, viz. those of the 11th and 12th Dukes of Hamilton, and of the wife of the latter.

4. SANNOX graveyard and cemetery.

This is another location that is difficult to find. One proceeds north along the coast road through, and almost out of, the village of Sannox, until a roadside notice is seen indicating a cart track leading to Glen Sannox. The entrance to the graveyard is about 250 metres along this minor road and on its left side. A stone wall surrounds the graveyard, in a roughly hexagonal arrangement. In one comer remnants of a St Michael chapel dating from the 14th Century are evident. There are 132 monumental stones, many tumbled and 32 more or less illegible. 1721 would appear to be the earliest legible date on a memorial. At the west end of the graveyard there is a gap in the stone wall giving access to a later extension containing a further 49 stones.

A small modem cemetery is located beyond the south side of the old graveyard. The stones in it appear to date from the early 1940s

Burial records. Burial Register, from 1915 -, Two Lair Books, from 1942 -, and from 1971 -5.

5. LOCHRANZA graveyard and cemetery

In this village there is no difficulty in finding the graveyard. On entering from the east, from the direction of Glen Chalmadale, one soon sees, on the left side of the road, St Brides Church and its many surrounding gravestones, protected by a stone wall. The church appears to have been built in 1795 on the site of an earlier building. Many of the 373 stones predate the erection of the present church, the earliest commemorating a death in 1720. There are also a number of more modem commemorative plaques within the church.

On the south side of the graveyard an opening has been created in a fence giving access to an adjacent area of grass in which a small cemetery has been laid out. The stones in it date from 1986

Burial Records. Burial Register ( graveyard), 1901 - 1996. Lair Book ( cemetery ), from 1986 - ,

The Sailorís Grave.

About halfway between Lochranza and Catacol, a small memorial plaque may be seen in the grass on the landward side of the coast road. It commemorates the death and burial of a sailor, John McLean, who died of cholera on his ship in 1854. Permission was sought to bury him in LochRanza graveyard but was refused due to fear of the disease. He was buried secretly at the roadside in unconsecrated ground by a shipmate. Neither the name of the ship, nor the place of birth of the deceased appears to be known.



This small rectangular burial ground is located close to the landward side of the coast road about two and a half miles south of Catacol. It is easily missed due to the small number of visible gravestones, the partly collapsed dry stone dyke that separates it from the road, and the surrounding vegetation. It was possibly the graveyard of a church that no longer exists. The graves appear to have been arranged in three approximately parallel rows, but there are only nine conventional monumental stones showing dates from 1794 to 1898. The remaining graves are marked only by flat pieces of native rock. In spite of its isolation, the grass within this cemetery is kept short. 

Burial Records. There do not appear to be any records for this cemetery.


Of all the burial grounds in Arran, this is the most difficult to find and reach. It lies just above the shoreline, against a cliff carrying the coast road, and about 500 metres south of the group of houses known as Whitefarland. To reach it, one has to enter the field at the north side of the houses, go south through it and a second field, and cross a style to reach the shingle shore at the far end. Proceed along the shore and move up onto the grass verge when possible. Trees at the shoreline and a heap of boulders will be seen in the distance. These mark the cemetery. It is so well hidden by the vegetation on either side of it and on the cliff face, and by the heaped boulders on the shore, that it only becomes apparent when one pushes through a gap in the bushes. It occupies a rectangular area about 12 metres square, and contains 19 monumental stones only one of which is illegible. They are arranged in neat rows and carry dates ranging from 1844 to 1962. In spite of its isolation, the cemetery is well kept. A mop and an open metal container were seen at one corner. 

Burial Records. There do not appear to be any records for this cemetery.

8. KILMORY graveyard and cemetery.

The village of Kilmory lies about a half mile east of Lagg on the coast road running around the south end of the island. Kilmory church adjoins a minor road about 400 309 stones, of which 19 were already illegible in 1984. The earliest date on a stone appears to be 1700. About 1940, provision for graves was extended by forming a cemetery which lies beyond the west wall of the graveyard. It now contains almost 100 stones

Burial records. Burial Register from 193 1 -, Lair Book from 1940 -,

9. SHISKIN.  Clauchan graveyard and cemeteries.

The village of Shiskin lies on the overland road (B880) between Brodick and Blackwaterfoot, about 2 miles inland from the latter. It has in its vicinity a graveyard, which is very difficult to discover without local inquiry. North of the village the road follows a long slow curve to the right followed by a sharp left hand turn over a bridge. Just beyond the bridge on the right side of the road there is a row of cottages (Bridgend) on a cart track. This leads to the Clauchan graveyard in a narrow glen with steep tree-covered sides. The Clauchan Water runs along one side of the graveyard. On the way to the graveyard one passes a ruined building which was evidently a preaching house built in 1805, and in continuous use until a church was built in Shiskin in 1889. The rectangular graveyard is contained within a low stone wall and is tightly packed with 279 monumental stones, of which about 40 were partly or totally illegible in 1984. There are a number of inscriptions dating from the 18th Century, the earliest would appear to be from 1741. There is a small cemetery extension containing 50 stones further up the glen beyond the graveyard. They seem to date from the early 1930s. A second more modern cemetery is located in a field beyond the north side of the glen. A rough path with timber-edged steps leads up to it from the glen, but it is more easily accessible from a cart track further along the main road. 

Burial Records. Burial Register, from 1902 -, Lair Books; old cemetery from 1938 -, new cemetery from 1968 -

The locations of some of the burial grounds in Arran would appear to be among its best kept secrets.


During the 18th Century burials took place in a graveyard on the west side of Holy Isle near the now roofless and ruined single-storey building about 150 metres south of the ferry landing stage. This continued until about 1780, when a boat carrying a funeral party across from the Lamlash shore was struck by a squall and some of the occupants drowned. According to John McArthur  ( Antiquities of Arran, 1873 ) and the New Statistical Account, burials on the island ceased thereafter. 

In 1835 the monumental stones were removed, and the graveyard turned into a vegetable garden. Today there is no evidence to indicate the locations of the graves. Some large smooth rectangular stones, that are probably weathered gravestones, lie in the grass near the roofless building and at points on the path that leads south.






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