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Old Church Life in Scotland
Lecture I.—Churches, Manses, and Churchyards in Olden Times


Mauchline Session Records—The Present Church of Mauchline—The Old Church and its Outward Appearance — The Old Church as it was before the Reformation—The Surrounding Monastery—Changes on and in the Church at the Reformation—Few Fixed Seats—Fairs in Churches Onre—Introduction of Pew System—A Grievance in Connection with the Pew System--The Galleries and Common Loft—The Dell—The Clock—The Windows— Repair of Church Fabrics and Drink to Workmen—-Manses of Old Date—Size of Old Manses—Manses Thatched with Straw, and Roughly Finished in Many Ways—Delivery of Manses by Executors of Former Ministers—Churchyards— Tombstones—Association of Mauchline Churchyard with Burns—Filthy Condition of Churchyards at One Time—Houses on Churchyard Dykes—The Ash Tree in Mauchline Churchyard.

THERE is no kind of reading that to the generality of people is more irksome than the old records of church courts. It might be said that if a hundred men were to be apprehended at random on any of the streets of Edinburgh, and told that they must cither enter the Queen's service for seven years, or submit to sixty days in the Presbytery House, deciphering the old musty manuscript records of some rural Kirk Session, ninety-seven of the hundred would ask for the shilling and volunteer for Africa. And yet there is interesting information to be culled out of Kirk Session and Presbytery Records that will well repay a deal of trouble. There are both facts of local history to be found and exemplifications of old ecclesiastical life. And it will be admitted that not only is everything bearing on the history of a district interesting to all within its bounds, but that everything illustrative of Church life and Church rule long years ago possesses interest of a general kind to people at large.

Circumstances which need not be here specified have led me to read up the whole of the extant records of our Parish Kirk Session, besides other church records both published and unpublished ; and I propose now to submit to the public some of the results of this reading in a series of lectures on old Scottish ecclesiastical life, especially as I have found it illustrated in our own parochial history.

Our Kirk Session Records are neither very voluminous nor very ancient. It is stated in the New Statistical Account of Scotland, published in 1837, that at that date there were ten volumes of our Session Records in the hands of the clerk or minister. Since 1837 another volume has been added to the number, but somehow or other there are now only nine volumes in all instead of eleven. Some of these volumes, too, are very tiny, and scarcely deserve the name of volumes ; some are unbound and incomplete; some are scroll books and are headed "Brulie Minutes;" [The word brulie does not occur in any dictionary that I have seen, but I presume it is derived from the French word "brouillon," a scroll or first draught of a document.] some are to all intents and purposes duplicates ; and some may be described as a miscellany of minutes of different dates arranged or stitched together, without any regard to chronological sequence. The date of the oldest of our minutes is 26th December, 1669, and the records are very far from being continuous after that date. Especially is this the case during the forty-four years of Mr. Maitland's ministry. There are no records for example covering the period from 1708 to 1731. And the cause of such a blank in the records of a long peaceful tract of parish history may be gathered from sundry entries in the books of the Presbytery of Ayr. One Scssion-Cierk after another made off with a volume of minutes in retaliation for non-payment of salary, or with the view of compelling payment, and the impecunious Session, despite of Presbyterial dehortations, took very languid steps to recover their property.

That there were Kirk Session Records in Mauchline long before 1669 is beyond all doubt. Mauchline is an old parish, and as far back as 1567 there was a complaint given in to the General Assembly, "be the brethren of the kirk of Machlin," against a gentleman for maintaining in his house an excommunicated person who had been "sometyme an elder of the said kirk."

And in saying that no records of the Kirk Session of Mauchline prior to 1669 are now extant, I am virtually saying that the records of what would have been to us the most interesting periods in our parish history are lost. But the records we have, fragmentary though they are, and dating only from the times of the persecution, are interesting nevertheless. They tell tales of parochial and domestic life ; they illustrate old and obsolete laws ; and they reveal antiquated forms of thought that have long since passed away.

With these preliminary remarks I shall now proceed in this lecture to speak of churches, manses, and churchyards, as they were one hundred, two hundred or more than two hundred years ago.

In the article on Mauchline in the New Statistical Account of Scotland it is stated that the present parish church "is reckoned the most elegant church in this part of the country." The expression elegant may or may not be the most appropriate to apply to the church, but that question need not be discussed, for we are not at present concerned with matters of aesthetics. Certainly, however, the church is a goodly and substantial edifice, and one that we have reason to be well satisfied with and proud of, for besides answering the purpose for which it was built, it gives a presence to the village, and forms a notable feature in the surrounding landscape.

But the real import of the phrase "elegant," as applied happily or unhappily to our church in 1837 is that it indicates by comparison the general architectural character or style of churches at that particular date. Now-a-days there are many churches not far off that are a facsimile of ours, or, if the expression may be pardoned, a facsimile with improvements ; and there are many other churches in Ayrshire of a different order of architecture that would probably be considered by competent judges much more elegant than ours in their outlines, as well as much more profuse and beautiful in their ornamentation. Indeed an American lady of some distinction, who paid a visit to the village several years ago, has set forth in print that "the kirk is as plain and homely as a house can be made," and that she does "not accede to these barn-like places of worship, while close at hand such lordly dwellings are erected for man's residence." Mrs. Hawthorne's strictures on the church and its internal arrangements, as well as her caricature of the service, [The minister referred to by Mrs. Hawthorne (the late Rev. James Fairlie) was not only a very worthy man, but a man of eminent attainments in languages and literature.] are it may be admitted a good deal overstrained, and have been the subject of not a little parochial ridicule; but thus much must be conceded that so common-place in appearance is our church notwithstanding its tower and its gothic windows, that a foreign lady not altogether blind failed to see in it any feature to be admired or commended. Yet in 1829, when newly built, it was the talk and wonder of the country side, and in 1837 it was described in a book which may be called a national work, as the most elegant church in this part of Ayrshire.

What then, it may be asked, were other churches like, fifty years ago? The old church of Mauchline which was pulled down to make way for the building of the present one may be regarded as in many respects a good sample and type of an old parish church. It was not reckoned elegant in 1827, and neither it was, with all the accretions that had gathered round it and all the defacements that had been made on it since the date of its erection many hundred years ago. It was a long narrow low walled building with high steep roof. For many a day previous to its demolition the ground outside the wall was in some places several feet above the level of the floor inside, and at the door on the south wall there was a flight of descending steps that led down into the area of the church. It was buttressed all round too with unsightly stair-cases, one in the centre of each gable and two against the north wall, all leading to separate galleries within. Aiton, in his survey of Ayrshire (1811), says "the churches of Stewarton, Dunlop, Mauchline and Largs are so extremely contemptible that I trust the heritors will soon get them replaced with buildings better suited to divine worship and their own opulence!" But the Church of Mauchline was nevertheless a notable sort of building. It had a pedigree and a history. It was one of the pre-reformation churches in Scotland. It was built in the time of Popery, and it witnessed all the stir of the Reformation. It had been used both for Catholic and Protestant services—both for Presbyterian and Pre-latical forms of worship. And so, however dingy or ugly, ill-favoured or antiquated it may have looked in the eyes of people from New York and the cities of yesterday, it had something about it that was venerable and dignified, ancient and honourable. And in its day—the day of its prime, three hundred and fifty years ago—it was considered as goodly and as elegant a structure as the present church was considered to be in 1837. The historian Calderwood, in his account of Wishart's visit to Kingencleuch in 1544, calls the church of Mauchline " a tabernacle that was beautiful to the eye/' Its antiquity and honour were thus associated with the tradition at least if not with the visible trace of youthful beauty.

In its latter days the old church was a plain rectangular building—like a barn—and for aught I know such may have been its form always. Many of the most ancient Catholic churches were of that form. More commonly, however, especially in all but the earliest times, Catholic churches were cruciform, and had on their ground plan a representation of the cross. The original rectangle, we might say, had an arm attached to each side about or a little above midway in the church area. These arms were called respectively the north and the south transepts, for the shaft of the cross like the rectangle or basilica always lay east and west. There is no tradition that I ever heard of that the old Mauehline church was cruciform, but the print of the church shews on the south side the trace of a large arch, as if there had been or was contemplated to be a wing at that point.

In the days before the Reformation the old church would of course be divided and furnished according to Catholic notions. Part of the church at the upper or cast end would be railed or partitioned eff from the part below. Generally this was done by a screen, as it is termed, and as may be seen in many churches and cathedrals in Scotland at the present day. Sometimes, as at Crossraguel, it was by a massive stone wall with a common door in the centre. The east or upper end of the church was called the choir or chancel, and the lower or western end went by the name of the nave. The common herd of worshippers were restricted to the nave, and the choir was the inner sanctuary, where privileged ecclesiastical persons enjoyed the dignity of separation from their fellows at prayers and sacraments. [The clergy attached to particular churches were frequently very numerous, very near as many, says an ancient author, as the flock under their care. In the Church of Constantinople there were by imperial determination 60 priests, 100 deacons, no readers, and 25 singers.—L'Estrange, Alliance, p. 213.] The choir was always paved—sometimes with plain stones, sometimes with glazed tiles of various hues, and sometimes with tiles of fancy shapes and patterns on which animals and figures were traced in high or low relief. The naves of churches on the contrary were often unpaved, and strewed with rushes for the convenience of worshippers in kneeling. So precise, too, was the order of worship, in at least some places, that the men were ranged on the right hand or south side of the church, and the women on the left hand or north. [ In the earliest liturgies of the Church of England there was a rubrick which directed that at the close of the preliminary service on days of Communion "so many as shall be partakers of the holy Communion shall tarry still in the Quire or in some convenient place nigh the Quire, the men on one side and the women on the other side. "—L'Estrange, p. 198.] At the upper end of the choir, close to the east gable stood the altar, ["Altars with the Catholics,' says L'Estrange, p. 176, "do not observe one regular position, some are placed in the middle of the choir, some at the upper part, endways north and south, and if eye witnesses may be trusted the chief altar in St. Peter's Church at Rome stands in the middle of the chancel." In Laud's Service Book, 1637, it was ordered that the Communion Table "shall stand at the uppermost part of the chancel or church."] which with the platform on which it was placed, behoved to be by the law of Moses four and a half feet high. Above and behind the altar there were often colossal and splendid specimens of woodwork which formed the architectural glory of the church's interior. [palding says (vol. ii. 216), that in 1642 two of the ministers of Aberdeen "yokit William Charles, wricht, to the doun-taking of the bak of the high altar, standyng upon the eist wall of Bishop Gawin Dumbar's yll alss heiche nar by as the sylving thairof, curiouslie wrocht of fyne wanescot, so that within Scotland there was not a better wrocht peice. . . And in doun-taking of ane of the thrie tymber crouns quhilk they thocht to haue gottin doune haile and unbroken, by their expectation it fell suddantlie upon the kirk's gryt ledder, brak it in thrie peices, and itself all in blaidis, and brak some pavement with the wecht thereof."]

The old church of Mauchline was attached to a monastery which was affiliated to the Abbey of Melrose and governed by a resident prior. Around the old church, therefore, there must have been monastic buildings, but of these no remains exist now except the old tower or castle. But on two of the sides of the castle there are marks of a roof as if some building of less height had been attached to the castle at these points. In all likelihood, therefore, one line of houses trended north and south from the castle to the church, and another east and west from the castle parallel to the church. And the second of these lines of houses probably extended as far west as the great chestnut tree which stands about forty or fifty yards from the castle, for the foundations of a wall or walls have been traced thus far. Whether these two lines of houses forming with the church a ail de sac comprised all the monastic buildings at Mauchline is not known, but if the monastery had been of any considerable size we should have expected that on the south side of the church there would have been either one quadrangle or two quadrangles as at Crossraguel. Be that as it may however, there were monastic buildings adjoining the church. These buildings would comprise a chapter house, where the monks met for business ; a refectory or dining-room, where they had their meals; a kitchen and pantry, where their food was cooked and stored ; cells or dormitories where they slept; perhaps also a library and a schoolroom, and a separate residence for the prior. In front of these buildings, too, there would run piazzas or covered walks which were called cloisters, where the monks arm in arm strolled together and conversed. And seven times a day the monks from their cells would pass into the church to watch and pray according to the precept of the great Master whose words are the golden rules of duty.

And speaking of the monaster)' I may here say that monasticism is an institution that has been much maligned. The monks are commonly supposed to have been a disorderly community of fast and loose living men who belied profession of religion with scandalous practices. And in support of that opinion the great authority of Luther, who was a monk himself. is cited, "For one day of fasting,'" says the Reformer, "the monks have three of feasting. Every friar for his supper has two quarts of beer, a quart of wine with spice cakes or bread prepared with spice and salt, the better to relish their drink. And thus, he adds, instead of being pale, and wan, and emaciated, they are stout and robust, and their faces glow like the fiery angels!" But notwithstanding what Luther avers of the monks in the degenerate days that immediately preceded the Reformation monasticism is now acknowledged by most Protestants to have been originally and for many years a noble expression of Christian piety. The monks were then poor and frugal, and their clays were divided by rigid rule between prayers and useful labours.

At the Reformation great changes took place not only in the form of worship within churches, but on the outward appearance of churches and their surroundings. There was a general raid upon monasteries, and as there were then in Mauchline and the neighbourhood not only many staunch but some very violent Reformers we may surmise that the Mauchline cells were dismantled, as well as dispossessed of their tenants. And we may be no less confident that the church itself did not escape rude handling. There was an Act of Privy Council passed for the dismantling of idolatrous houses, and the interpretation put on that act was that churches were to be stripped of all monuments of idolatry and instruments of superstition. Images and altars were to be removed, broken to pieces, and burned. As a matter of course, therefore, the altar which ornamented the east end of Mauchline church would after the passing of this act be taken down, if it had not been previously displaced and destroyed. And as if to make the desecration of the old edifice as complete as possible, the chancel or in other words the holy of holies was, if not just then some time afterwards, secularised by its conversion into a schoolroom. A pulpit with precentor's desk in front was also erected in the church, and either for reasons of conveniency or with the view of uprooting all associations of sanctity with the eastern end of the building, the pulpit was placed against the south wall, and both minister and precentor were directed to set their faces like the seething pot in the prophet's vision towards the north. In the days when people, still alive, remember its appearance, the old church was crowded with galleries, each of which was approached by a separate staircase. Over the old school room at the east end was the common loft, and at the west end there was a corresponding gallery called the Auchinleck loft. In front of the pulpit against the north wall there were between the east and west lofts two small galleries, separated by a large window, and these were named respectively the Patron's and the Ballochmyle lofts. On the south wall to the cast of the pulpit there vas another gallery, so diminutive that it looked like a tent bed in a state of elevation. This was the Barskimming gallery. And the probability is, a probability amounting almost to certainty, that each of these galleries was erected after the Reformation, and that the names attached to them indicated at whose cost and for whose convenience they were respectively erected. Down stairs in the area of the church the sitting-room was practically confined to the space between the drops from the cast and west lofts. The part under the east loft was partitioned off as has been said for a school-room, and the part under the west loft was unseated, and served as a vestibule to the large north-west cloor. Down the centre of the church from the vestibule in the west end to the partition in the cast end stretched the communion tables with their surrounding seats. From the north and south walls pews extended out to the passages on either side of the space set apart for communion. Under the drop of the west loft and running up to the south wall was the seat known to sinners as the repentance stool, or to speak more correctly the place of public repentance. Its designation, however, was a charitable misnomer, for except the back seats in the galleries it was about the least public place in all the church. I have not heard, but I suppose that a slight elevation above the other seats in front gave to the stool its requisite and much dreaded prominence.

And the old church of Mauchline as thus crowded with galleries and packed with sittings was a fair specimen of country churches about the beginning of this century. But the old church had not always since the Reformation the appearance I have described. It was not till 1775 that fixed tables and seats for communion were erected. Previous to that date the centre of the area was an open space filled on communion days with removable tables and benches. And at a still earlier date there were strictly speaking no sittings at all. Pews are of modern origin. People at one time either stood and knelt by turns during the service, or they brought stools with them to church for their own accommodation.

[In some ancient churches it was customary for the people to stand during the sermon, and in others for the people to sit. Augustine in one of his sermons says, ' I sit in preaching to you, and you are at the pains of standing to hear me.' In another part of his writings he says " it is better ordered in some foreign churches, where not only the preachers sit while they teach the people, but seats are also provided for the audience lest any wearied with long standing should be hindered from attention, or forced to leave the church." When people, however, had seats for sitting on during the sermon it was customary for them to stand dining the reading of the gospel. 'While the holy gospel is being read,' says Chrysostom, ' we do not attend in a careless posture, but standing up with much gravity we so receive the message, yea the greatest potentate on earth stands up also with awful reverence, takes not the liberty to cover his head with his imperial diadem, but in all submissive manner behaves himself in the presence of God who speaks in those sacred gospels." And in the Scottish Service Book (Laud's liturgy) of 1637, it was directed that when the minister should announce the reading of the gospel, "the people all standing up should say 'glory to Thee oh Lord,'" and at the end of the gospel when the presbyter shall say so endeth the gospel, "the people shall answer, ' thanks to Thee oh Lord,' all still reverently standing up."—Alliance of Divine Offices, pages 177-8 and 164.

In the Session Records of Aberdeen for 1606 complaint is made of the burgh officers for sitting in public houses and drinking during the time of sermon, and order was given that they " should stand each before his own bailie in church,'''']

In 1604 the Kirk Session of Aberdeen ordained that all women of honest reputation who could afford to provide themselves with stools should have stools in kirk to sit upon in time of preaching and prayers. The disposal of these stools was generally entrusted to the beadle, and the gratuities he received for accommodating people with stools formed one of the perquisites by which his pay was made up. In 1662 the mother of the church officer at Fenwick craved the Kirk Session for some of the benefit that her son derived from his lucrative appointment. The Session instructed the officer to allow his mother the fees at baptisms, and "to have what advantage she could make of the church chairs and stools." And these stools were occasionally used for other purposes than letting and sitting upon. As a famous judge, who was a humourist as well, once said in delivering judgment on a question about church sittings, "the area of the church was in former times left void, and people brought their stools with them, which they threw at the minister if they did not like his doctrine."

This account of the interior of old churches enables us to understand how fairs could be held within churches, as from the terms of several old Acts of Parliament the)' seem to have been. On what were proclaimed as fair days pedlars, with permission of the church wardens, would set up their stalls in the open space of the church, against the walls or wherever they found it convenient, and people would repair to these stalls for all kinds of fancy merchandise, as they would now-a-days go to a bazaar. [In his article on Luther and Erasmus Mr. Froude states that in the great days of the indulgence sales, "The sale rooms were churches, the altars were decorated, the candles lighted, the arms of St. Peter blazoned conspicuously on the roof. Tet-zel from the pulpit explained the efficacy of his medicines." In 1571 the General Assembly passed an act inhibiting civil magistrates from holding courts in kirks.]

It may seem strange to us that there should have been fairs in churches, or in any of the sacred enclosures around churches. The word fair, however, is derived from feria, which originally meant festival, and here is the way in which a modern author, zealous as any Anglican or Scotch Episcopalian can be for the honour of the ancient Catholic Church, accounts for the origin of fairs. "Monasteries," he says, "were places of such general resort that they were often the stage of mercantile as well as sacred transactions. The great concourse of people that generally assembled around religious houses on holy days required refreshment. This suggested the idea of gainful trade to traffickers who repaired thither not only with victuals and drink, but different other articles of merchandise which they disposed of amongst the crowd." The same author in describing the priory of St. Andrews, says that to the west of the prior's house was the cloister, and in it was held the Senzie Fair on the second week of Easter. The stalls of the merchants had thus the advantage of being covered in, and it does not require a great stretch of imagination to suppose that if stalls were once allowed in the cloisters, and the cloisters were found insufficient to accommodate the traders, either charitable or pecuniary considerations would permit still further encroachment on the holy ground. [The constitution or opening of the fair was long after the Reformation a matter of great solemnity. In 1633 the Town Council of Dumbarton ordained that "magistrates, haill burgesses and inhabitants should go out and meet the guiddes coming to the faire, and convoye the samine to stand at this burgh on Wednesday nixt, as they shall be warnit be the officer or be sound of drum."]

The pew system was introduced into the Church of Scotland by degrees. Prior to the Reformation there were at least some desks or seats to be seen in Scottish churches. In 1560, the year of the Reformation, an order was given for the purification of Dunkeld Cathedral. The work was to be thoroughly done. The persons charged with it were "to pass incontinent to the Kyrk and tak doun the haill images thereof, and bring them forth to the kirk zayrd and burn them opinly." They were also "to cast doun the altaris and purge the kyrk of all kynd of monuments of idolatry." But to these instructions there was a postscript added, "fail not bot ze tak guid heid that neither the dasks, windocks nor duris be ony wise hurt or broken." It was long after the Reformation, however, before there were many desks to be seen in Scottish churches, and still longer before churches were filled with pews. From certain entries in old records it would seem that the scats first erected in churches in this country were for the benefit of ladies of rank. In 1603, for instance, the Kirk Session of Stirling refused liberty to the Commissar of the town "to big ane removabill dask for his wyff before that seat pertaining to my Lady Countess of Argyll." The session apparently thought it somewhat presumptuous in the Commissar aspiring to set up a desk for his wife close by the Lady of Maccallum. Four and twenty years later, however, the same Kirk Session were more accommodating to people that had no handles to their names, for in 1627 they gave orders to their treasurer "to build ane seat before Margaret Frskine her seat for the minister his wyff and for all succeeding minister's wyffis cfter her." It was not till long after that date that ministers' wives generally were provided with seats in church. In 1700 the minister of Riccarton complained to the Presbytery of Ayr that he had no seat allowed him in the church for the accommodation of his family. And the minister of Mauchline was no better off in that respect, for although it is minuted in the Session Records that on the 23rd Nov. 1698, "the Session appointed the heritors and elders to meet at the kirk by ten of the clock on Wednesday next, the 30th instant, about the business of furnishing a scat in the church to the minister's family," it is stated in the records of Presbytery that Mr. Maitland in 1703 complained that a family scat had not yet been provided for him. [The minister of Galston had the privilege of a family seat in church in 1650, but he had lo erect the seat at his own cost, as the following minute of Session shows, "The same day it was granlerl lo the minister lo build a single desk betwix the foresaid seatt and the pulpit, provyding it injure not these that sitt beyond nor the standing of the communion labiles."]

Down to about the middle of the 17th century there were very few desks or seats in church, and where there were any they were erected generally by individual persons at their own expense and with the sanction of the Kirk Session. [The following minute in the Fenwick Session Records of date February, 1645, gives one a pretty clear notion of what was the interior appearance of a parish church in Scotland about the middle of the seventeenth century. "The Session, considering the prejudice the people susteined by the multiplying of furmes towards the bossome of the church, ordanis from henceforth that no furmes be placed about the cuinzies (that is corners, the church being shaped like the letter T) neither that any persons remove their neighbours seat without advice of the Session, otherwise to be found censurable.'"] In the session records of Galston we find repeated applications to the Kirk Session between 1626 and 1656, or even later, for liberty to "mak and set up ane desk." In some instances the application is made by an heritor for himself, in another instance by an heritor for his tenants, and in a third ease by seven persons for a joint seat. In 1637 a very notable resolution was passed by the Galston session to the effect "that the whole daskes of the kirk be maid of one form, and all of one kind of timber, either of oake or firr." About the time of Cromwell's protectorate seats in churches had become much more numerous than they were twenty years previously, and they were often erected without authority. In the Burgh Records of Glasgow there is an order minuted in 1656 to repair "furmes that they may be kept for the use of old men and young men of quality, and not for every common man as they are now." And in the same year the following minute was entered in the same records. The Council, "tacking to their consideration the great abuse lately begun and crept in by the setting of so man)' chyris, stools, and other fixit saitis in all the churches within this burghe be all manner of persons promiscuouslie without any warrand," resolve to cause the same to be removed, and to forbid the erection or placing of any seats in churches "but by warrant of magistrates." And very unseemly squabbles about these desks and forms were about that time and fifty years afterwards of frequent occurrence in churches.

[In the records of the Kirk Session of Dumbarton the following minute occurs, and gives us a good idea of church life and church strife at the period it refers to, 27th Feb. 1620. "In regard . . of the misbehaviour of Johne Robisonne, couper, on the ane part, stryveing to be in ane dask, alledgand to have ryt thairto, and of Umphra Dennie, Walter Boquhanan, couper, to hald him out, the minister being in the pulpit, the session ordainis the said dask to be removit from the part it is, and to set it ncirest the kirk door, and none but the por personnis to sit in it quhil it be tryit qho hes ryt to it." In the records of the Presbytery of Ayr there is an account of a wrangle in 1643, in the church of Coylton, between the Laird of Laig-land and the gudman of Corbiston about the removal and setting of a seat. It is said that in their contention they waxed so hot that they "offered to strike one another." The same year the laird of Maxwood was summoned before the session of Galston for " doing some abuse and disorder in the kirk," by enlarging his own dask and breaking the dask of his neighbour, and he was found to have done wrong and created scandal thereby. In the Kirk Session Records of Fenwick for 1646 there is mention of people being delated to the session and made to acknowledge their misbehaviour for "removing and braking others seats' in the church." Squabbles about sitting ground seem to have occurred too when congregations met in the fields. In 1647 a man was summoned to appear before the Kirk Session of Fenwick for "his inhuman throwing of Elizabeth White over a brae to the hazard of her life, which was clone before the congregation which was necessitat to meit in the fields because of the great confluence of the people of other congregations whose pasture (sic) wer from home.'

One or two such tumults occurred in Mauchline church. In 1677 John Reid of Merkland was summoned before the Session to answer for his conduct on the Saturday before the Communion. The conduct libelled was contention about the occupancy of a church seat. One witness deponed that he saw Merkland "rug at William Ross of Hillhead and two others, and cast away William Ross's bonnet." Another witness deponed that he saw Merkland strike Ross on the back "with his nief and thrust him out at the desk door." And this was not the only row at the communion of 1677. On the same day as Merkland was called to account, one John Mitchell was brought before the Session and was "challenged with violently casting Helen Hardie from off the face of a desk upon the communion Sabbath morning." This, it will be observed, was in the saintly days of the persecution, and in a parish that was one of the Covenanters' strongholds.

It might be too general a statement to say that it was out of these squabbles that the orderly pew system originated. It is certain, however, that such squabbles did in some instances at least lead to the introduction of pews in churches. In the year 1658 there was a dispute in Rothesay about "the room of the kirk where Scoulag's desk was," and the dispute we may be sure was characterised by the well known perfervour of the Celtic islanders. Some people of the name of Bannatyne alleged that the said "room" belonged to them, and that their predecessors " had a form there whereupon they sat, and upon a stool before the same.'' This right they further alleged had been exercised from time immemorial till last Sabbath, when they were desired to rise and make room for some of Scoulag's tenants. The following Monday the Bannatyne stool was broken by Scoulag or one of his agents. "Wherefore the saids claimers desired the Session that the said desk might be removed, and they restored to their own interest, that they might build a desk for themselves'' in that part of the church. The consideration of this case opened up the whole question of "sitting room in church." Old records were searched, and the legal bearings of Acts and customs regarding the reparation and maintenance of Church fabrics were considered. "The Provost in name of the town declared that there was a division of the kirk betwixt the burgh and the landward, and that the burgh's part was thirteen cuples nearest the quier," that is nearest the east end. On being asked his authority for that statement, he answered, " that in repairing and roofing of the kirk so much was the burgh's proportion, and that the burgh had given out land for upholding so much of the kirk yearly." It is stated that the Kirk Session on consideration of these premises did, "with consent of the heritors," ratify the said division of the church, and ordain "that the burgh shall have these thirteen cuples which they yearly uphold to build seats in for the townsmen, and that the landward shall have from that down to the west gavill to build seats in" for the remaining parishioners. And the erection of seats was ordered to be proceeded with at once. The landward part of the area was divided among the heritors "according to their interest and free rent," and a wright was employed to erect the seats according to a scheme that will be best, although very ungrammatically, expressed in the words of the minute, "Whensoever the workman is come and builds the first seat, the next in order shall without delay employ him to sett up his also, which if he does not (being advertised twenty-four hours beforehand) it shall be leisum to the next in order after him to employ the workman and to set up the seat in the other's room."

At what particular date seats were first introduced into Mauchline church, and how slowly or rapidly they increased in number it is not easy to determine, because our Session Records go no further back than 1669. From occasional entries in the oldest book of extant minutes of session it would seem that in 1669 the church was well but not fully occupied with seats. The elders had at that date a seat for themselves, for in 1671 there was paid by the Kirk Session a sum of 20s. Scots "for dressing the elders' sait." In the month of August of the same year liberty was granted by the Kirk Session to Robert Miller "to build a seat at the back of Auchmannoch seat." In 1673 William Mershell was allowed in the east loft as much room as would accommodate four persons. In 1693 Robert M'Gavin of Dyke was "appointed to re-edifie his foir-fathers' daske, being next to Merkland's seat." But in 1703 there was no seat for the minister's family, and we may be very sure that when such was the case there would be many other families in the Parish without seats in church. [In 1710 it was reported to the Presbytery of Ayr that " the kirk of Stair wants a bell, regular seats, and reparation of the roofs and windows." In 1698 the minister of Sorn complained to the Presbytery " that there is not a kirk-yard dyke, nor a pulpit, nor a common loft in the church, nor a schoolmaster in the parish, nor a bridge over the water, nor utensils for the sacraments."]

It was originally the Kirk Session 'and not the heritors that granted or refused liberty to people to erect seats in churches. And when pews came to be regarded as a necessary part of a church's equipments we find it minuted in Presbytery and other records that "the heritors, with the minister and session, are to meet themselves and adjust the allocation of the sittings." [Case of Riccarton, 1723, in records of Presbytery of Ayr. In 1739 the Court of Session declared that the disposal of the area of a church pertains to the heritors and not to the minister and kirk session.] Besides granting liberty to individual persons to build seats in churches Kirk Sessions occasionally expended part of the "stock" or funds in their hands for the erection of pews, and then rented or rouped these pews for the accommodation of the public and the benefit of the poor. As recently as 1775 the Kirk Session of Mauchline reported to the Heritors that "there was a decrease in their stock to the extent of \\, 16s. 4d." This decrease, it was explained, was caused by an outlay in erecting seats in the area of the church, but it was added as proof of the wisdom of that outlay that the rents derived from these seats was equal to an interest of 30 per cent, per annum on the sum spent.

It need scarcely be said, for all are aware of the fact, that when a parish church is built now-a-days it must be provided with pews to accommodate two thirds of the examinable persons in the parish. The sittings arc then allocated by the sheriff of the county among the different heritors, according to their valued rental or their assessed expenses in the building of the church. In the sittings allocated to them the heritors have the privilege of accommodating their tenants in the first instance to the exclusion of all other people. The consequence is that in nearly every parish a large number of parishioners have great difficulty in finding seats in church. They desire to obtain a seat or part of a seat from which they will not be extruded, and it is only by an act of grace and during the donor's pleasure that they can get such a privilege. This state of the law is the most serious grievance that the members of the Church of Scotland have to complain of. The Moderator of the General Assembly 1883, thought the matter of such grave importance that he gave it a prominent part in his closing address. "There is a question,'' he said, "which will soon press itself on the consideration of the national Church in connection with its home work, viz., how to provide accommodation in our churches for those that desire to wait on our ministrations. The Church would then become more truly the Church of the nation, and the house of God for all. Nay," he went the length of saying, "one is sometimes tempted to go even further, and to wish that our parish churches were replenished with rush bottomed chairs like the naves of cathedrals." And Dr. Rankine has not been the first man to give expression to these views. The well known ecclesiastical lawyer Pardovan, [So necessary a part of every minister's library was Pardovan's book considered when it was first published, that Presbyteries enjoined the purchase of it on their members. The following minute occurs in the records of the Presbytery of Ayr, 1710, January 19th, "Those who have not taken of Pardovan's book are to do it." It would appear too that a few years later a similar injunction was laid on ministers to possess themselves of Wodrow's great work. A minute of Presbytery in 1719 states that "several of the brethren have signed and payed in the money to Mr. Robert Wodrow towards the printing of the history of the sufferings in the Church of Scotland since the year 1660, conform to the Act of Synod, and the deficients have all engadged to do it."] who wrote in the beginning of last century, says, "it would look more impartial like, and resemble more that humility love and sympathy recommended to Christians by the Apostles, and would look liker the subjects of Christ's kingdom which is not of this world, if church members would take their seats in the church without respect of their civil character, as they do at the Lord's table." There is certainly some ground for dissatisfaction with the present law and custom of the church in regard to church sittings. The proposed plan of open pews, however, would probably lead to other evils. It might prevent parents getting their children seated beside themselves. It might lead also to an unseemly scramble for favourite places. Lord Hailes, in the judgment already quoted from, says in regard to the plea, "that the inhabitants of a parish are to have seats at random and indiscriminately, so that he who comes first to the church will have his choice—this might have done very well in former times, when people sat on their own stools, but it will not do in our age." Good order requires a division of church sittings; and there would almost need to be in every country parish some standing committee appointed by the heritors to ascertain what seats are not fully occupied, and to dispose of these from time to time in such a way as will best serve the public interest.

Mention has been made of the galleries that crowded the old Church. The gallery was what might be termed a Protestant institution. One of the chief distinctions between the old Catholic and the new Protestant modes of service, was that preaching was held of much greater account in the latter than in the former. Long ago it was just occasionally that people were treated to sermon by their Catholic priests, and in some places abroad a sermon is seldom heard of in a church at the present day. There used to be a bell rung at a certain stage of the service when there was to be a sermon. ["All ringing and knowling of bells in the time of the letany high mass &c, was interdicted by'the injunctions of Edward the VI. and Queen Elizabeth, except one bell in convenient time to be rung before the sermon," L'Estrange, Alliance 172.] This was called the sermon bell, because it was rung when there was to be sermon, and it was not rung when there was to be no sermon. And says an old author whom I shall have occasion to quote frequently, "sermons were rare, very rare in these days, in some places but once a quarter and perhaps not then, had not authority strictly enjoined them/' People in these olden times went to church to kneel and pray and receive the blessed sacrament from the priest's own hands and it was only on some special occasion (as when some itinerant preacher with the gift of oratory came round to the church on his tour) that there was preaching. But the Reformers in Scotland changed all that. They cried up preaching and cried down priesthood. Every Sabbath they had preaching in church—in fact preaching twice a day on Sunday—and in the course of the week they had a supplementary diet of discourse. It was not an open space therefore for standing or kneeling in that they wanted in church, but as much sitting room as possible for the accommodation of the whole of the parish throughout a long service. They had accordingly to make the most of the room they had in existing churches, and hence galleries.

The galleries in our old church were probably all erected since the Reformation. The only one that could possibly have been erected before that date without interfering with the ritual was the west or Auchinleck gallery. The very name given to that gallery however, let alone other considerations, indicates that it was a post-Reformation structure and was put up at the cost of one particular heritor for the special benefit of himself and his tenantry or dependants. And it was quite common long ago for individual heritors with permission of the Kirk Session to erect galleries in Parish Churches. Very rude structures too these sometimes were. As recently as 1676 an heritor of Galston asked leave from his kirk session to build a loft in that part of the church which had been allowed him by a decreet of the Lord Justice Clerk. The request was granted on two conditions. One of these was that the petitioner should "quat that room of the kirk which he presentlie possesses," and the other was that he should "cover the soles of the loft with deals that it may not be prejudicial to them which are below." The galleries in Mauchline Church were probably erected not very long after the Reformation. There is no reference to the erection of any of them in the extant session records, which go back to 1669, and there are references in our oldest minutes of session to some of the galleries as having been then erected, and so long ago that they were in need of repairs. In 1691 there was a sum of 12s. scots paid to the smith for mending the key and lock of the west loft door, and in 1673 there was liberty granted by plurality of votes in the session to William Marshall, merchant, to have " as much rowme as will contain four persons in the foresyd of the easte lofte beside Alexander Peathin his seat."

One of the galleries I have said was a common loft. And the phrase common loft is one that occurs very frequently in old Session and Presbytery records. Every church was supposed to have its common loft, When there was no common loft in a church complaint was made, and a common loft was ordered to be built. This common loft seems to have been in some cases built by the heritors jointly— in some cases by the Kirk Session with the funds or stock in their trust—and in some cases by private speculators who were allowed by the Kirk Session the privilege of a modified proprietorship, to recoup their outlay and reward them with interest for their public spirit. In Mauchline the common loft had apparently been put up by the heritors, for in 1771 there is reference in a minute of heritors' meeting to the east loft as belonging to them corporately, and as being, with the exception of one seat claimed by Mr. Gibb of Greenhead, let by them for sittings. In Cumnock, however, the common loft had been built by the Kirk Session, as appears from the following sentence in the minute of the Presbyterial visitation of that parish in 1708, "It was complained by Mr. Alexander Drummond that some of the poor's money was employed to build a new common loft in the church, and the Presbytery, judging that this was an alienation of the poor's money, and that the said expense did ly upon the heritors, did recommend it to them to refund the session." In Dunfermline there was a common loft built by a private speculator, and the conditions on which it was built are thus set forth in a minute of Kirk Session, dated 1647, " Robert Sharp, wright in Pittencrieff, gave in to the minister and elders of the Kirk Session a stent of the haill particular seats and classes within the new loft buildit by him and John Sharp his brother, on the north-east end of the said kirk, for the greater ease and relief to the said Kirk Session." It was then minuted that Mr. Sharp should receive the several stents—or purchase money—from such as should enter and take possession of the seats. "Likewise in case the said seats shall be long in selling the said Robert shall have power to take annual rent therefor, conform to the Act of Parliament, fra those that shall be long in entering thairto. Likeas the said Robert is content herewith and obleiss him no to trouble or crave the Session hereafter for any further payments to him for the said loft and seats therein, and he received the key thereof, providing that those who shall enter to the said seats and rooms shall come to the Session and get their license, and act thereupon fra the Session, acknowledging the poor for the same." The seats in these common lofts were (during last century at least) generally let by roup to the highest bidders. This was not only the best way to recoup outlay and bring in revenue for the benefit of the poor, but it was the only effectual mode of settling claims for sittings between competing applicants. Our records shew that in 1776 (as one example) the seats in the common loft, ten in number, were let by roup for 5, 8s. iod, one of the front seats realising 22s. 6d, and the other 16s. 6d. And in 1775 the Kirk Session extended the common loft system by seating the central part of the area downstairs, and letting the seats there also with the proviso that on communion days these seats should be used by communicants as table seats.

From pews and galleries I pass on now to the other furnishings and equipments of churches.

A bell is now-a-days considered a necessary part of the equipment of a Parish Church. And from the way in which we read in the very oldest Session Records of the first bell the second bell and the third bell on Sunday we might conclude that every Parish Church in Scotland had always been provided with a bell, and that without a bell congregations could not be convened. And such is the case. The heritors of a landward Parish have always since the burden of providing and upholding churches devolved on them had to procure a bell for the church. There is a curious statement however in a book published in 1715 by a Mr. Morer, who was a minister in London, and had previously served in Scotland as chaplain to a regiment. "Bells, he says, they (the Presbyterians in Scotland) have none or very rare excepting the saint's bell to call the Presbytery or Congregation together."

[The saint's bell as usually denned in dictionaries was just the bell that never was used in the service of the Church of Scotland. Mr. Morer's statement probably means that the Presbyterians use no bell except the great church bell for assembling the congregation, and that they have no such ringing of bells in the middle of service as the Catholics have. Regarding the phrase " the saint's bell" it may be remarked that Dr. Sprott says "our old parish Churches usually bore the names either of New Testament saints, or of the early missionaries who planted the gospel in our land," and that "when these names are forgotten they can sometimes be discovered from the day of the old Parish fair which was usually held on the anniversary of the Parish saint." There must have been more saints in Mauchline once than there are now if there was a separate one commemorated at each of the annual fairs. Can the name of any saint be buried in the word Mauchline? No such origin has ever yet been assigned to the name of our Parish, and so far as I can ascertain none of our fairs has been held on the day of any saint whose name could etymologically form a foundation for the word Mauchline. The Mauchline race has long been held on the last Thursday of April, and in the Book of Days the name of one of the saints associated with the 25th April is St. Alattghold or Macallins of the Isle of Man in the 6th century.—{Proverbs 26, verse 19 last clause! !) To speak seriously, however, these were in Ayrshire fairs named after particular saints. The Galston fair is sometimes in the old Session Records (1713 for instance) called St. Peter's fair, and it was held either on St. Peter's day, 29th June, or when Sunday made that impracticable, on the first convenient day afterwards.]

Whatever we make of that statement however there was a bell attached to the church of Mauchline from the earliest times of which we have any account in our Parish Records. In 1671 there was paid by the session S. 14s., for "stocking" the bell and in 1673 there was a further sum of 5 paid for dressing the bell and providing iron for it. And long ago there was a stone belfry on the church. There is an entry in the Session Records of payment to a smith for sundry "pieces of work for the bell house or steeple"' and in 1691 there is another entry of 18s. scots expended "at the bringing home of the stones to the steeple." That old steeple however was not so tenacious a piece of mason work as the rest of the church, for in 1775 at a meeting of heritors it was reported that " the whole frame about the bell was loosened and the bell in danger of falling at ringing." In the last days of the old church, there was a wooden belfry on the east gable. It was formed by two parallel upright beams about three feet apart, resting on the staircase and held together by a series of cross bars, while it was bound to the wall by iron brackets. People say that previous to the erection of this wooden monstrosity the bell was suspended from one of the boughs of the ancient ash that stood in the churchyard. This would likely be after 1775 when the frame was so loosened that it was unsafe to ring the bell. Grave elderly persons still flourishing among us like green bay trees, and whom we could scarcely suspect of having ever been guilty of improper pranks, are not ashamed to tell that in their youth it was reckoned one of the highest achievements of village valour to despise parochial authority and set the bell a ringing. Wedding peals were sometimes extemporised in that way and occasionally the villagers were roused from their slumbers by midnight revellers mimicking the monks of old and tolling unholy matins. That was a species of larking which Mr. Auld neither enjoyed nor approved ; and in 1773 he represented to the heritors the propriety of so securing the bell rope, that it would not be in the power of every passer by to ring the bell. But it does not seem that this well meant representation had much effect, for in 1778 and close upon the sacrament season if not actually on the very night after the thanksgiving Monday there was a tremendous clanging heard over the town, and then as if the tongue of the bell had been seized by an upper air policeman, there was an instantaneous and dead silence. Next morning when people looked over to the churchyard the mystery was revealed, for there was the bell standing on end, mouth uppermost, like a duck petrified in the act of diving. Such a daring deed of profane mischief was of course not allowed by the kirk session to pass unnoticed. On the Tuesday after the sacrament the session met to distribute the communion charities, and they minuted that they had been "informed of vagrants in the night time causing disturbance by the ringing of the bell and otherwise." An inquisition was therefore set on foot, and the church officer was examined about his knowledge of the affair. And to the credit of the kirk session be it said that the offenders were soon tracked out, and on the following Sunday were brought up for church censure. Not a bad parochial court of justice it will thus be seen was the kirk session in those old rough times and especially when it had for its head and guide such a strong-minded, sagacious man as Daddy Auld.

Besides a bell the old church was graced with a clock, or knock as it is termed in the older records. [This it would seem from Mr. Morer's account of Scotland was nothing unusual. While the Scottish churches are generally destitute of all bells except the saint's bell, he says "yet on the steeples besides the hand dial they have an engine to show the change or age of the moon." Whether any such lunar chronometer ever was erected in Mauchline church there is no record that I know of to shew, but there was as I have said a common clock.] The knock house stood in a little gallery called the knock loft, built against the inside of the east gable. A narrow inside stair led to the knock house from the east loft, and people still alive remember this stair and likewise a hole in the gable through which the shaft that bore the hajidies of the knock protruded. It is evident that the knock was placed in the Church at a very early period, long before the date of the first extant minute of Kirk Session. As far back as 1674 there is reference in the Records to the knock. And a very primitive piece of mechanism it had been. The handles were of wood, and it is doubtful if the face was not so also. In 1675, the knock and the knock house were both suffering so much from age, that they stood in need of considerable repairs. Nails to the value of 18s. 6d. Scots were needed for the knock-house, and for work done on the knock-house and repentance stool together, two pounds were expended. There were also at the same time five shillings paid for "nine dales to the Kirk and the palms of the knock." Two years afterwards "the brod of the knock" needed painting, and this cost 10s. The knock was, in fact, both a rickety and a costly piece of furniture—continually in need of oil—and every now and again needing to be replenished with a new cord, a new nut, new rowers, new paces, a new back sprint, or a new something else. But it was regarded as a very useful piece of public property. It was both a civil and an ecclesiastical functionary. It showed the hour both on week days and Sabbaths, and regulated secular as well as spiritual affairs. Part of the cost of maintaining and repairing the clock was accordingly borne by the town. In 1682 the following entry was made in the records, "Given to Patrick Lermont for his dressing of the clock, December, 1680, 4. 0s. 0d., being the equal half of what he got betwixt town and session."' This is the latest payment for the knock that I have discovered in the Session Records, but whether the knock was then allowed to run itself permanently down, or whether it continued to be oiled and painted, mended and renewed, from time to time for fifty or a hundred years afterwards, I cannot say. There was no clock face on the east gable of the old church within any living man's memory. But people who remember the old church, remember the bones of an antiquated clock that lay in the old school-room. There is no doubt that that was the old church knock whose "brod" was painted in 1687, more than two hundred years ago. And a vigorous effort was made in the present century to rejuvenate the old clock. When the new church was built in 1829, the old clock was oiled and furbished once more, and placed in the square tower above the present vestry. Many rude repairs, too, were afterwards executed upon it by a village jack at all trades. But it was to no purpose. The clock was done both bodily and mentally. Its old knees knocked against each other, and in damp weather it suffered dreadfully from rheumatism. Its memory was gone too, and it forgot both the hours of the day and the days of the week. Worse than all, it became like an old dotard whom boys make mirth of. The birds of the air mocked at it and made fun of its infirmities. Crows and jackdaws, magpies and blackbirds, sparrows and chaffinches, not to speak of gallant robins and coquettish wrens, perched on its great wooden palms and swung them down to the half hour, and up on the other side to the twenty-five minutes. In fact, the modern idea of a revolving bird cage was doubtless taken from the old Mauchline clock in the year 1830. Public amusement, however, soon got satiated with this monotonous crow and jackdaw performance, and public patience got exhausted with a chronometer, that for giving the time of day could be no more depended on than a weathercock. Once more, therefore, and finally, the old clock was taken down from its post of honour, but not of usefulness, and was superseded by the m&dern indicator that now regulates the hours of divine service on Sundays, and of labour on week days. But, I am happy to announce to the lovers of local antiquities, that the old knock has not disappeared. Its machinery may still be seen and examined on the landing above the vestry, as also its wooden palms and its copper dial plate, which either is what was called the brod in 1677, or is a more recent substitute for what was originally a wooden face.

The old church was, of course, lighted with windows, and in some parts of the old Records these windows are called glass windows. Now-a-days we should think such an expression redundant. At one period, however, there were windows in Scotland that were not glazed. The traveller Ray, writing in 1661, says, that in Scotland the fronts of the houses were made up with fir boards nailed over each other, with here and there round holes or windows, called shots, for people inside to put out their heads by. In the very best houses, even in palaces, he says, the windows at that date were never glazed all over, but were made up at the foot with wooden shuts to open and admit the air, as well as to let people see out. [In the Edinburgh Antiquarian Magazine, 1849, there is an extract given from a Kirk Session Record, about a woman who was one Sunday sleeping in the churchyard, and whose head "fell on yee window and broke yee glasse." The writer, who gives this extract, asks, "Are we to infer, that however many windows were in the church only one had been filled with glass." In the Records of the Presbytery of Ayr, there is a statement of the repairs judged necessary to be made on Mauchline Church in 1719, and one of the items in this statement is "for glassing of the whole church 60 foot of glass." Not as much glass as would suffice now-a-days for one window. What disrepairs were put up with at one time may be conjectured from the fact, that in 1701 it was reported to the Presbytery of Ayr, that the Kirk of Dalmellington "is wholly unglassed."] There was no unnecessary verbiage, therefore, in calling the windows of the church glass windows. It might mean that the windows so designated were glazed all over, or that it was the upper portion of the windows that was referred to. We can understand also how it should be thought necessary when glass was scarce and costly to provide protection for glass windows. The protection commonly made use of in churches was either a wire trellis, or great outside wooden shutters which were called storm boards. Among the repairs needed on Maybole church in 1718 there were mentioned to the Presbytery, "glass to the windows of the church that is wanting, and wyer to the laigh windows." At one time there was a wire screen over the windows of Mauchline church, for in the note of repairs on the church submitted to the Presbytery in 1719, there is an entry of "60 foot of glass at 4s. scots perfoot,and 64foot of wyer at the same rate." Atan earlier period there were storm boards for covering the windows. In 1676 there was expended, partly in the repair of these storm boards, and partly on lead, a sum of 19s. 4d. And down till near the end of last century there was much need of wire screens or window shutters for the windows of the church, although it would seem that long before that time both the shutters and the wire had been removed.

Till 1789 the school-room was in the east end of the church, and the church windows were consequently exposed to constant danger of breakage from boys. In those grand old times, too, more than a hundred years ago, when there were no policemen to interfere with individual liberty, there was far more mischief likely to arise from juvenile frolics than there is now. It cannot surprise us, therefore, to find that at a meeting of Kirk Session in 1782 it was reported that by reason of boys playing at ball and throwing stones, the glass windows both in the church and school-house had been broken in time past, and were liable every day to be broken in the same manner. It behoved the Kirk Session, accordingly, to take ways and means for protecting the property of which they were custodians, and it is interesting to see how they proceeded in that matter. The records tell us that the Session resolved, with the view of preventing such mischief in future, to warn the inhabitants by tuck of drum that if any person should be found guilty of breaking church or school windows he should be prosecuted for three times the amount of damage done, and that the schoolmaster should be authorised to prosecute either children or parents as he thought proper. One cannot but admire the consummate knowledge of human nature displayed by the Kirk Session in this resolution. The warning by tuck of drum and prosecution for triple damages must have spread dismay over the juvenile community—for it would scarcely occur to boys not old enough to have given over playing at hand ball and throwing stones, that no matter what amount of damages was sued for the court would order payment only of such damage as had been committed. But a loud bark sometimes saves the necessity of a sharp bite, and this seems to have been the kindly principle on which the Kirk Session of Mauchline proceeded in dealing with juvenile offenders.

Now-a-days the maintenance and repair of the church fabric devolves entirely on the heritors of the parish. But at one time it was the Kirk Session and not the heritors that provided the means for defraying the cost of at least tear and wear. The sources from which these payments were usually made were penalties and church door collections, and this application of church door collections, after provision had been duly made for the poor, was, whether legal or not, seldom found fault with. There is a curious minute bearing on this matter in the Session Records of Galston for 1675. The church of Galston had evidently been very ill lit, for in the records of Session there are several entries of permissions being granted to this man and the other to "break out a window above his seat.'' These small apertures, however, did not suffice to light the body of the church properly, and the Session thought it their duty to provide other windows. And a favourable opportunity was afforded them in 1675. A general collection had been made that year over the country for the relief of some Christians who had been taken captive by the Turks, but by the time the collection was made the relief was unnecessary. A goodly sum of money thus reverted to the session box, and the Session accordingly in striking out new windows in church resolved that they should "be peyd out of the first end of the Turks' contribution." It was seldom, however, that Kirk Sessions had the luck to fall heir to unclaimed collections, and they had usually to pay their way out of their own proper funds. In 1636 the Session of Galston made an agreement with a slater that he should have four pounds for repairing the Kirk at present, and forty shillings yearly " for halding the said kirk water tight in all tyme coming." In the records of the Mauchline Kirk Session, especially between 1670 and 1690, there are many old and curious entries of payments for church repairs. In some instances the language is antiquated, as "glassing new lozens in the church windows," mending the lock to the "bregan," getting cords for the " paizes," and providing fillet nails, mod nails, and single plainshers. In other cases antiquated customs are disclosed, as for instance, the use of fog in slating. At the present day it is not uncommon in the better class of houses to find a lining of felt inserted between the wood and the slates. Long ago instead of felt it was fog that was used. The slates were rough and coarse, and in order to lie firm and close on the roof they needed a soft bedding. This was supplied by fog. There was some slating done on Mauchline church both in 1677 and in 1686, and on the one occasion there was 1 11s. spent in fog; while on the other there was paid for "seven sackfuls of fog, 2 2s. 0d., Scots." And it was not in Mauchline only that fog was used in this way. In 1626 there was a forfeited consignation given by the Session of Galston to their officer "for powing of fog to the sclaitting of the Kirk." So far as I have noticed, it was always nails that were used for fastening the slates to the roof of Mauchline church. But at one period, not very remote, wooden pins were employed for that purpose in some buildings. At an inspection of repairs on the Manse (or Kirk) of Straiton, in 1725, it was reported to the Presbytery that "both slating and pointing were sufficient, and that having shifted several of the slates the tradesmen found about two inches of cover above the pin." It may seem strange to some of the abstemious people of this age, that a daily allowance of drink was always given to workmen long ago, whether they were employed on churches or on cottages, inside or outside, on terra firm a or on chimney tops. But such is the case ; and we can understand that at a time when both tea and coffee were unknown as beverages, malt liquors may have been more requisite for "the working man " than they are now. In our Session Records there are frequent entries of payments for drink to workmen. In 1677 two slaters were employed on the roof of the church, and for every pound of wages paid them there was an eighth of a pound allowed them for drink. Masons and joiners had each a similar allowance, and charity, which is kind, occasionally gave a small tipple to paupers. In 1674 the Kirk Session devoted the liberal sum of 16s. Scots, for ale to Agnes Hunter on her death-bed.

From the subject of churches I now pass on to the subject of manses, and as this is a subject that does not very much or very directly concern the general community, I shall not enter into it at any great length.

Before the Reformation there were manses in Scotland for the Parochial clergy. In many cases, however, the Catholic incumbents, at or immediately before the Reformation, when they saw what was coming, had the worldly wisdom to give their manses away in feus or long tacks to their relations and friends, and thus on the establishment of the reformed religion, the ministers found themselves excluded from what they considered their rightful residences. In 1563 an Act of Parliament was passed to remedy this state of affairs. In this Act it was declared that whether manses had been set in feu or tack, or had not, the ministers appointed to churches should have the principal manse of the parson or vicar, or as much thereof as should be found sufficient ; or else that a suitable " house should be built beside the Kirk" by those having right to the manse in tack or feu. In a subsequent Act of Parliament passed nine years later, it was stated that "na gude execution" had followed on the Act 1563, in respect of its being "in divers pairtes doubtful and uncertain," and on this preamble more precise enactments which need not be specified were made. Many other Acts ot Parliament anent manses followed at later dates.

In the oldest records of our Kirk Session there is little said about the manse here. The earliest reference to the manse that I have noticed in the Session Records is an entry in 1691 of the payment of 14s. scots to a mason, "for repairing the minister's house." The Kirk Session, it will thus be seen, either were burdened or they burdened themselves in 1691 with at least some manse repairs. In the Presbytery Records there is reference in 1646, and that is about as far back as these records go, to the manse at Mauchline.

There have, as everyone knows, been great improvements in the housing of all classes of people within the last three hundred or even the last one hundred years, and this improvement has been shared by ministers as well as others. Now-a-days the court orders a very high class of house for a manse—a house with at least three public rooms of goodly size and height of ceiling, and at least four bed-rooms, besides kitchen and other appurtenances. The only modern equipments that have not as yet been ordered by the court to be provided in new manses are a hoist and a telephone ! But former generations of ministers in Scotland had to content themselves with less roomy and less luxurious upputting. In the records of the Presbytery of Ayr there is a specification of a manse that was proposed to be built at Dalmellington in 1699, and as it was pronounced by the Presbytery to be a complete manse it will serve very fairly to shew us what were the current ideas on manse accommodation at the close of the seventeenth century. The manse is thus described; " threttie-six feet lenth and fourteen foot wide within the walls, threttine foot high of side walls, two fire rooms below and two fire rooms above and cumseiled, with window cases and boards, glasse, partition walls, and all that is necessary to make a compleat manse, with a barn of thrie couple lenth and a stable two couple lenth." And while this was the kind of complete new manse that some fortunate ministers were getting built there were much inferior manses that other ministers not so fortunate had to live in as best they could. In 1705 there was a report given in to the Presbytery of the state of the manse at Symington, and in this report it was said "there is only a hall with a laigh chamber and another high chamber, with a barn and a brew house, by which account the Presbytery judged there is no sufficient manse and office houses." [The parish of Kirkmichael has been long famed in the county for its model manse. The following is a description of Kirkmichael Manse in 1710, "A dwelling house having a laigh hall, a dry kitchen, a cellar and a chamber in the lowest storrie, as also three fire rooms in the upper storrie, two whereof are ceiled, with a barn, byre, stable, and brew house, and a coall fold with a locked door in it, as the office houses thereto belonging."]

Early in last century manses were generally thatched with straw. [Churches also at one time were thatched, as appears from an Act of Secret Council, 1563.] In the statement of repairs on Coylton manse in 1698, as submitted to the Presbytery, it is said that "to thatch the manse wholly over is needful, which will take of straw sixty threave." And in addition to that quantity of straw there would be required " twenty-six threave more for thatching the laigh house and some divetts thereto." In 1735 the manse of Auchinlcck was a thatched house, and in 1746, if not later, the manse of Dundonald was thatched. The practice of slating manses was nevertheless introduced in Ayrshire as far back at least as 1724. In the Presbytery Records of that year it is stated that the heritors of Girvan had "voluntarily yielded^ which looks very like saying that they had been compelled of their own free will to put a slate roof on the manse of that parish. What is at present called the old manse of Mauchline, which was built, as an inscription over the door states, in 1730, was slated from the first, but the adjoining kitchen and brewhouse, which, according to the common plan of manse and offices would be of one storey, were covered with thatch.

Something has already been said in this lecture about the windows in Scottish houses long ago, and much more need not be added now. [Aiton, in his survey of Ayrshire (1811) says, "About fifty years ago the farm houses in the county of Ayr were despicable hovels, many of them were built in part and some altogether of turf, or of mud plastered on stakes and basket work. . . The doors were seldom more than five feet high ; the windows about 18 inches high and a foot wide, into which glass or sometimes only boards, which could be opened and shut at pleasure, were fixed."] The common size of windows in manses last century was about three feet by two, and in some places, as at New Cumnock in 1707, they were protected by storm boards.

In other places, and at a somewhat later date, the clumsy storm boards were superseded by wire trellises. In Kirkoswald manse, in 1720, the whole amount of glass in the windows was a hundred square feet, and for the protection of the glass in the windows of the under storey there were 17 square feet of wire. The following is what is said in the Presbytery Records about the windows in Dundonald manse in 1725,and it is of special interest, as shewing that at that date windows were not always if even generally glazed from top to bottom.—"Anent the windows Imp. to sash them of the upper storey and to make them of the laigh storey good and sufficient half glasse and half boards, will be ane hundred and threttie pounds scots. Item, to make the cases and casements of the upper storey, and to fill them with glasse and bands to them, and to make the laigh storey sufficient, ninety-six pounds. . . It will take 200, 12s. scots to make the manse sufficient, providing the heritors agree to the sashing of the middle storey, and it will take 166, 12s. scots, providing the above windows be filled with glasse casements."

It was very roughly that the interiors of manses were fin-nished a hundred and fifty years ago. The common form of flooring laigh rooms was by pavement. Among the things reported to the Presbytery in 1709 as being "presently wanting" at Dalmellington Manse was "pavement for a laigh room," and in 1744 it was found by the Presbytery on an inspection of Riccarton Manse, that "the west laigh room required to be laid with deals or to be pavemented." And how manse rooms were plastered early in last century, may be surmised from another note of what was presently wanting at Dalmellington manse in 1709, viz., "some lime for casting an upper and laigh room." If the upper and laigh rooms were ill-finished, much more so were the garrets. In inspecting a new manse in 1739 the Presbytery of Ayr found that the attics were just one open room—lumber room it might be termed—from one end of the house to the other, and they minuted that "the garret cannot be complete without a partition round the stair case head with a door in it.''

It is evident that there had been no such storms hereabouts in the winter of 1732-33, as there were last winter (1883-84), for there could not have been any manse standing the following summer, in the condition in which the manse of St. Quivox was found in the summer of 1733. "The walls of the under storey," it was reported, "are all built with clay and (are weakened) with several bulges, rents and holes; and the foundations of the .west gavell (arc) undermined, so as a stick of eighteen inches long can be put in through beneath the same." The manse, it was said, was also "very bare of thatch and rigging," and the "office-houses were deplorable." But deplorable as was the state of St. Quivox manse in 1733, it was nothing in comparison with that of Monkton manse in 1737. The Presbyterial power of description was fairly baffled in trying to show how near the verge of dissolution that tottering tenement of clay had come. "The south side wall from corner to corner, about two or three feet from each corner excepted," it was said, "was entirely bulged and flying from the gavills, so that in several parts it hangs nine inches over the plumb at four foot height from the foundation. Of four stone gavills which are in the house only one seems to have been built with lime, the other three with mud, and, upon the whole, we think the house can by no reparation be made sufficient, unless these insufficient walls (to wit . .) be taken wholly down and rebuilt from the foundation, which in all probability would occasion the falling of the other parts.'

Pardovan says that ministers are obliged to leave their manses in as good condition as they were found in, but that before ministers can be made liable in that way, the Heritors should move the Presbytery to have the manses in which they are interested declared free. At the settlement of every minister in a parish, therefore, there used to be a regular inspection of the manse by the Presbytery and competent tradesmen, as there is yet, although not now in so thorough a manner, and a formal judgment on the state of the manse was pronounced. There are many reports of such inspections, with the discharges and deliveries that followed thereon, recorded in the Presbytery Books, but the following will suffice to illustrate the practice and procedure that were in common use. In 1708 there was a "committee appointed to meet at Dal-mellington anent receiving of the manse from Mr. Aikman's executors. . . . They report it wants eleven feet of glass at five pence a foot to be allowed for it, but the closse that Mr. Aikman causyed on his own charge will counterbalance the said damage of the glass windows. As for the barn, it was never made sufficient for Mr. Aikman, nor did he ever make use of it. As for the manse and the rest of the office houses, they are rather better, excepting the said glasse, than when Mr. Aikman received them. In testimony whereof the said workmen (the Inspectors) gave their oath. . . . Upon all which Alexander Aikman delivered up the keys of the manse and office houses to the heritors and took instruments in their hands." [It is stated in the Presbytery Records that at the settlement of Mr. Wyllie in Mauchline in 1646, the new minister and the former minister (Mr. George Young), "did submit what concerned either of them in the matter ol the manse of Mauchline, to the determination of the persons (ministers) appointed to induct." The Presbytery Records are a-wanting at the date of the induction of Mr. Veitch, who succeeded Mr. Wyllie, but at the settlement of Mr. Maitland, who succeeded Mr. Veitch, the Heritors reported to the Presbytery that " what was faulty in the manse should be speedily helped." The procedure at Mauchline in 1646, is explained by the tenor of Act of Parliament 1612, which was superseded by other Acts in 1649 and 1663.]

I come now to the last division of my subject—the Churchyard. Almost as dear and as interesting to men as the church in which their forefathers worshipped, is the sombre churchyard in which their fathers sleep their long sleep.

Our own churchyard is of great antiquity, but nevertheless there arc no tombstones in it with inscriptions bearing an earlier date than 1644. It must be remembered, however, that the erection of tombstones is a comparatively modern custom. Here and there over the country a solitary stone may be found with a date about as old as the Reformation, or an undated stone or cairn of much earlier erection, marking the burial-place of some distinguished chieftain or ecclesiastic whose death was deeply mourned, but it was only people of distinction that in ancient times were honoured with monuments. And although it is quite common at the present day for people to erect tombstones at their pleasure over the graves of their relatives in churchyards, the right of doing so was at one time disallowed, and possibly would, if tried at law, be disallowed still. In the records of the Kirk Session of Stirling it is minuted, in the year 1640, "how certain people without consent of session put in the Kirk yard little stones, one at the head and another at the foot of graves, whereby in process of time they apprehend to have a property," and it is therefore ordained that " all stones not erected by permission of session are to be removed." In 1634 the lairds of Barr and Galston deemed it necessary to crave liberty from the Kirk Session of Galston to "bigg ane ylle to the bodie of the kirk for their burial places." And liberty was given to each of these magnates to build an aisle at the back of his own desk, on the condition that the " said ylles have pennes joining to the bodie of the Kirk with windoes for light glassed and upholden be the saids Lairds." Forty years later the same Kirk Session was supplicated by another heritor to "bound and lay off for him a buriall place and grant him liberty to put up a stone wall about it." And it was only on certain written and stringent conditions that that request was granted.

A few, but not very many interesting, monuments stand in the churchyard of Mauchline. One Covenanter who fought and suffered for Christ's crown has his resting-place marked by a stone. He was a Galston man, and was wounded at a conflict with Captain Inglis' troops at Burn Ann, in the year 1684, and died of his wounds afterwards in Mauchline prison, or what is called in one of the minutes of Session in 1692, the "keep house." Of worthy Mr. Veitch and his predecessors in the ministry of the Parish, there is no memorial in the churchyard. Messrs. Maitland, Auld, Reid, Tod, and Fairlie, have all appropriate tombstones marking their place of sepulture, but there is nothing to indicate where the ashes of the older line of ministers repose. And henceforth all belonging to the Parish, whether clerical or lay, high or low, rich or poor, famous or infamous, renowned or unrenowned, who wish to be buried in the parish, must choose their graves in the new cemetery that was two years ago laid off in the old moor where the dragoons of Middleton and the yeomen of Clydesdale had their fray in 1684; for an order from the Queen in Council has now closed the churchyard absolutely and without reservation to any favoured party as a place of burial.

Every summer brings to Mauchline visitors from all parts of the world, from Maidenkirk and John o' Groat's, from England and Ireland, from Australia and the great Republic of America. All or nearly all these visitors make a loving and curious inspection of the church-yard. That little enclosure is to them an object of the deepest interest, but it is not because old stern Covenanters are resting there from their warfare, nor because morbid-minded monks, weary of the world, were buried there under the shadows of the old sanctuary, where morning, noon, and night they sang and prayed, and led sad but saintly lives hid with Christ in God. It is because the place has been consecrated by the genius of the national poet of Scotland. Many a time have the feet of Burns trod that hallowed ground. It was in the old church that he worshipped, and I presume it was in the old church that his marriage was " solemnly confirmed? It was in the old church and the present churchyard that those scenes of mingled solemnity and profanation were witnessed, that have been described, perhaps too truly, in his communion satire. It was in the modest mansion adjoining the churchyard, and contiguous to the castle, that Gavin Hamilton, the poet's friend and landlord lived, and where the poet spent many of his gayest and happiest hours. It was about a stone cast beyond, in a green meadow, on the banks of what was then a bright and purling brook, that tradition says the poet first caught sight of the village belle who became his bride, and whose charms he has immortalised in imperishable song. It was in the upper room of a small two-storied red sandstone house, facing the eastern gable of Mr. Hamilton's mansion, that the poet and his wife took up their first abode together. It was in one of the houses that still form the north-eastern boundary of the churchyard, and is separated from Burns' own dwelling

"By a narrow street
Where twa wheelbarrows tremble when they meet,"

that Nanse Tannock had her comfortable and respectable alehouse. It was probably in the large mediaeval looking mansion that forms the east side of the cross, that Mary Morrison's window stood, if the Mary Morrison of the song be, as seems disputed, and is doubtful, the Mary Morrison [Mr. Scott Douglas, the latest and best editor of Burns' poems, gives it as his opinion that the person called Mary Morrison was Peggy Alison, and in a letter to me about the inscription on Adjutant Morrison's tombstone in Mauchline churchyard, he says, "This is one of the instances of assumed connection—more or less remote—with Burns, which vanity prompted many weak aspirants to claim, when hero worship of the poet, and hero and heroine hunting in reference to his productions, grew into vogue some 25 or 30 years after his death." In a subsequent letter dated 24th April, 1877, he informed me that he had just been invited to cail on the widow of the gentleman who indited the inscription on the Adjutant's lumbstone, and to hear the grounds on which it was asserted that the Adjutant's daughter was the heroine of Burns' song. Mr. Douglas expected "more light on Mary Morrison" to arise out of that interview, but I never learned what the result of that interview was. I am informed, however, on authority, that another member of the Adjutant's family who lived to be a grandmother, used to speak of Burns (with aversion, I may add), as one whom she knew personally when he lived at Mauchline, and that she believed her sister Mary was the "lovely Mary Morrison" whom the poet admired. She often spoke of this long lost Mary who died in early youth from the amputation of a foot that had been accidentally injured, as " one of the fairest creatures the sun ever shone upon."] who lived in Mauchline in the days of Burns. Opposite the church gate, and forming the two lower corners of the Cowgate, were two houses, still more closely associated with the poet's writings. It was in one of these that the Beggars had their high carousals. The other is what a local poetaster and worthy elder of the Kirk has in a somewhat Hibernian style called—

"The house, though built anew,
Where Burns cam weary frae the plough,
To hae a crack wi Johnny Dow;
O nights ateen
And whyles to taste the mountain dew,
Wi' bonny Jean."

Immediately to the rear of this house was the one-storied thatched dwelling, with a garret window looking into Dow's hostelry, where the so-called bonnie Jean, in her happy maidenhood, lived with her respected parents. Such a centre of classic ground as the old kirkyard of Mauch-linc will scarcely be found in all Scotland, for in addition to the immediate surroundings, you look out from the church-tower on Mossgiel and Ballochmyb, the Ayr and the Lugar, the banks of Afton and the braes of Doon.

And in the churchyard lie many that were known and endeared to the poet. Two of his children arc buried there, within the railed enclosure belonging to the Armours. Gavin Hamilton sleeps there too, in another railed enclosure on the left hand as you enter the church. A few paces behind Mr. Hamilton's burial-place is the grave of Mary Morrison, and close by the side of her grave is the resting-place of Holy Willie. Elsewhere in the churchyard lie the remains of Posie Nancy, Racer Jess, the bletherin' bodie, Richmond the clerk, and a host of others that were cither the companions of the poet or the subjects of his songs.

It is not so much the classic or poetic associations of our own churchyard, however, as the old condition and supervision of churchyards generally, that we are concerned with in this lecture. And although this is not a subject of lofty interest, it is still one that claims from all students of social and parochial history some little measure of consideration.

It might be hazardous to say that distinctive notions on the subject of churchyards are, or have been held by the three great sects of religionists in this country—Papists, Prelatists, and Presbyterians—for neither are all Papists nor all Episcopalians nor all Presbyterians of one mind on that subject, or on almost any other. It is well enough known that in the days of the Papacy churchyards were solemnly consecrated for the burial of believers. But although consecrated, churchyards were sometimes desecrated in the time of the Papacy. They were used as stances for fairs and were made places of merchandise, at least the tenor of some old Acts of Parliament lead us to think so. The Episcopalians may be credited with being the party that in Scotland has held the highest doctrine regarding churchyards. John Row, the Presbyterian historian, expresses his horror and amazement at that doctrine. There is, he says, a singular care had in the book of Canons published by the Bishops in 1636, that the house of God be no ways profaned, nay, nor the churchyard. " Ergo," he concludes, " the bishops would have the place held holy." That seemed monstrous and detestable doctrine to good John Row. But although the Presbyterian Church Courts have never gone the length of calling churchyards holy ground, they have always evinced a laudable desire and have heartily endeavoured, with indifferent success, it may be said, to have churchyards protected against abuse and disfigurement. The Kirk Session of Perth in 1587 ordained that no stables be allowed in the kirkyard of their city after Whitsunday, and that if any stables should be found there the setters of them should pay a penalty of 10 scots. In 1634 the Kirk Session of Galston ordained that "give anie horse or ky beis fund in the Kirkyaird in tymes cuming (the Kirk dyke being at the present sufficientlie bigit and made fenceable), they sail be keipit untill the awners thereof pay 20s. toties quoties." And, as the result of this warning, we find that in 1638 two parishioners of Galston appeared before their Kirk Session and "purged themselffis of the horse being in the kirk yaird ye last Saturday at night." Previous to this latter date, the Kirk Session of Galston had been indicating that they would not allow some other abuses of the churchyard to pass uncensured. They had issued notice that whoever "delves, or breaks the sward of the laigh kirk yaird and common mercat place thereof in tyme coming sail pay 5 toties quoties to the Session with sic punishment as the Session sail injoine."

The mere fact that the schoolhouse in Mauchline was for many a day within the church, and that the churchyard was consequently the village playground, is sufficient to show that at one time the churchyard in this parish was not sanctified as it should have been ; and, indeed, enormities much greater than children's games were permitted or committed in the churchyard. In 1708, during Mr. Maitland's ministry, it was represented to the Session as a grievance that beasts were allowed to pasture in the kirkyard, and with the view of putting a stop to that nuisance a committee of Session was appointed to confer with the magistrate. It was reserved to Mr. Auld, however, to make the chief battle in the parish for churchyard purity. He commenced in 1750 by asserting his legal right to the grass of the churchyard, and by consequence his right to exclude every other person from the use of that grass. And in asserting this right he made it clear that it was not for the sake of any pecuniary benefit it could bring himself. It is minuted in the Session Records of 1750, that "the Kirkyard grass, according to use and wont, belonging to the minister, especially as not being sufficiently provided in grass according to law, was rouped and set for the ensuing season at eighteen pence, which the minister gave in compliment to the poor." A large donation satirists will say, but a well considered and manly assertion of personal right as the only means of securing an important public object, is what others who take an impartial view of the case will see and admit. Even this device, however, did not succeed in getting the churchyard made decent. In 1779 the Kirk Session thought it necessary to approach the Heritors with a complaint and petition on the subject. In that complaint it was stated that "by reason of the school kept in the church, by reason of many doors opening upon the churchyard and ready access to it from all quarters, it is altogether a thoroughfare and a place of rendezvous for all sorts of idle and disorderly persons, who break the windows of the church, break the tomb and grave stones, and deface the engravings thereon, and the complainers are sorry to add, that the churchyard is now become a sort of dunghill and common office-house for the whole town, a receptacle of all filthiness, so that one can scarce walk to church with clean feet."

The sentiment that led people to desire burial in the neighbourhood of a church, led them also to cluster their houses as closely under the shadow of the church as possible. In nearly all old towns and villages, therefore, we find houses built on the Kirk yard dyke, [Mauchline was one of those towns in Ayrshire that were said by Aiton in 1811, to be "extremely irregular, the streets narrow, very crooked, ill paved, often dirty, and their general aspect mean." The town, it may be stated for the benefit of people at a distance, is different now.] and stringent measures adopted by Kirk Sessions to prevent such houses becoming sources of nuisance. In 1662 the Kirk Session of Fenwick passed a resolution, that "none who have built, or shall build houses hereafter on the Kirk yard dyke, shall have liberty to strike out a door towards the church yard." In 1676 two householders in Galston presented bills to the Kirk Session for leave to strike out doors upon the kirk yard on the north side of their houses. The crave was granted on condition that no prejudice should result therefrom to any burial place. For many years during Mr. Auld's ministry, the question of allowing proprietors of houses adjoining the churchyard in Mauchline to have back doors opening into the churchyard was under discussion. In 1774 a complaint was formally given in to the Heritors against certain feuars for encroaching on the churchyard with "new buildings and middensteads." In 1779 the Kirk Session in the complaint already referred to, petitioned the Heritors, as the only means of putting stop to a clamant nuisance, to cause intimation to be "made to every person whose doors open into the churchyard to shut up the same, with certification that if they refuse, the Heritors will proceed to shut up both their doors and windows by building a stone wall just before them, agreeable to the Act of Parliament 15th James VI." At the close of this petition there was a flourishing compliment paid to the Heritors—presumably to engage their good offices the more warmly. "Such honourable regard to the house of God and the burial place of their fathers," it was said, "may well be expected from the Heritors of Mauchline, who in several respects, and particularly in their charity and bounty to the poor, are so honourably distinguished above all their neighbours." There was a legal question, however, involved in the procedure that the Session urged the Heritors to adopt; and in 1788 the Heritors desired the Lord President, who was one of their number, to take the opinion of counsel "how far they have it in their power to shut up the back doors of people who have entries into the churchyard from their houses."

The two things that conduced most in Mr. Auld's day, to the orderly preservation of the churchyard, was the removal of the school in 1789 to its present situation, and the enclosure of the churchyard a few years later with a proper wall. Now that burials have ceased to be allowed in the churchyard and that young trees have been planted among the tombstones for ornamentation, it is to be hoped that in future years the churchyard may become, as it ought to be, a garden of beauty and a fitting centre of classic ground.

The churchyard of Mauchline, we have seen, was in 1779 so imperfectly enclosed that it was a public thoroughfare, and the Kirk Session demanded that a wall two ells high, should in terms of the Act of Parliament be built round their burial place. And this leads me to say, that long ago there was no want of good and sufficient legislation in matters concerning churches and churchyards, schools and schoolmasters1 salaries, maintenance of the poor and punishment of criminals, but the difficulty was to get the laws executed. In most, if not in all parishes, there was an apology for a churchyard dyke, but in very many cases it was only an apology. From the earliest date of which we have record, there was nominally a dyke round the churchyard of Mauchline. Mention is made of that dyke in the Session Records of 1676. It was covered with turf, and the renewal of the turf that year cost the Session 6s. There were other repairs executed on the dyke that year, and these involved the Kirk Session in an outlay of 34s. for sand, and 14s. 4d. for "filling up the Kirk stile with earth and reding (cleaning out) a sink." How dilapidated the dyke had become a hundred years later, may be inferred from a minute drawn up in 1776, which states that " from Dr. Breckenrigg's house to James Smith's yeard, the wall is entirely gone into disrepair, and the churchyard is thereby laid open for cattle to trespass into it." In early records of parishes we read of Kirk stiles, as if there had been, as there doubtless were, several narrow entrances into churchyards. This fact of itself implied imperfect enclosure. In 1783 the Kirk Session of this parish represented to the heritors the propriety of having only one entrance to the churchyard. And although this object was never attained, nor is it desirable, the heritors in 1788 introduced a great improvement on the old-fashioned stiles by recommending to a committee of their number "to get a new great gate made for the approach into the churchyard, to be a bound gate, and to run upon rollers."

It was not unusual long ago, as it still is, to see one or more large trees in a churchyard. They give to the surroundings of the church a befitting look of dignity, antiquity, and solemnity, and in old times they often answered purposes of convenience. Sometimes the church-bell was suspended from one of such trees, and sometimes the joggs were fixed to one of them. In Mauchline there was a magnificent specimen of a churchyard tree. It was an ash of fabulous age and vast proportions. Six feet above the ground it measured fifteen or sixteen feet in girth, and when it fell in i860, in a gale on the 27th February, its bole yielded more than 200 cubic feet of timber. It was a notable feature both in the churchyard and town of Mauchline, and surprise has often been expressed that no reference to it is found in the Holy Fair or in any other of the poems of Burns.

It will be seen now that since the middle of the seventeenth century, when our forefathers contended to the death for Presbyterian principles, a great and beneficial change has come over the appearance of churches, manses, and churchyards in Scotland. The churches are much larger than they were—more ornate both externally and internally—better lit and better heated—better floored and infinitely better provided with pews, more pleasant in all respects to look at, and more comfortable to sit in. Manses, too, have kept progress with the times, and although churchyards are in many cases far from being what spots so hallowed should be, they are yet more orderly kept than in the proud days of spiritual independence, when cattle strayed into them at will, and slatternly people made them thoroughfares and something worse. These improvements, too, are not matters of trivial importance. They have a civilising influence. People generally feel constrained to live up to the level of their surroundings, and both taste and feeling are silently elevated under the sight of cleanliness, comfort, and beauty. And the apostles of aesthetics who go about preaching the duty of building beautiful churches, and keeping churchyards as trim and tasteful as gentlemen's lawns, are really, whether people see it or not, fellow-workers with those that preach the higher duty of moral and spiritual culture.

Note.—Since this lecture was printed I have received an opinion from an eminent authority that there never was, in the popular sense of the term, a monastery at Mauchline. See Appendix F.


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