WITH the exception perhaps of
Kirkmichael, there is not a sweeter churchyard in Carrick than the one which
encompasses the old Parish Kirk of Dailly. The village which once stood
beside it has now disappeared, so that nought remains to break the solitude
but the ripple of the burn that skirts it, and the sough of the trees that
surround it. The church has been disused since 1766, while the wails of what
was once the modest manse of the minister stand a short way off.
Three families of the neighbouring gentry have
their tombs here. The Bargany lairds lie within the church; the Killochan
lairds on the north side; and the Penkill lairds at the end next the gate.
Within the Penkill enclosure has recently been interred Mr W. B. Scott,
Poet-Artist, with his profile above it.
But the tombstones most fondly cherished by
the people are those erected to our Covenanting martyrs—one to John Semple
and Thomas M'Clorgan, and another to John Stevenson and others, a handsome
obelisk recently erected by the people of the district. These tombstones
have been renovated this year by a few friends who respect the Cause for
which the men suffered.
John Semple was shot at Eldington, now
included within the farm of Maxwelton, while John Stevenson lived at Old
Camregan, a short way off. Stevenson wrote a book entitled, "A
Soul-strengthening and comforting Cordial for old and young Christians," in
which he records concerning the days of his outlawry—"I lay a whole February
in the open fields not far from Camregan, and one night was all covered with
snow in the morning, while many nights I have lain with pleasure in the
churchyard of Old Dailly, and made a grave my pillow." The Rev. Mr Kay, my
old Schoolmaster, is likewise buried here, and many others whose memory has
perished from the earth.
The church is of the usual parallelogram
form, with a small vestry adjoining, within which lies a large blue stone,
called the Charter Stone of Dailly, whose precise function is now forgotten,
but it is supposed to have constituted the church a special sanctuary of
some sort. This church was a favourite haunt of Peden's, and we can well
fancy him pointing out David Mason, the informer, with the quaint
reproof—"Here comes the Devil's Rattle-bag." Robert Pollok, author of the
Course of Time, came here also, intending to write a book concerning John
Stevenson, of whose character he expressed a high admiration.
The grey gloaming
falls on Old Dailly Kirkyard,
And the trees that surround it are still,
And no sound is heard in Old Dailly Kirkyard
But the burn trinkling down from the hill.
And the old roofless kirk stands encompassed by graves,
Like a sentinel posted on guard
To watch over those who have lain down to sleep
'Neath the sod in Old Dailly Kirkyard.
A calm peaceful
spot is Old Dailly Kirkyard,
Far removed from the din of the town,
And there's good company found in Old Dailly Kirkyard,
Of men who were, men of renown.
For Martyrs lie there who were true to their God,
And little their lives did regard,
And their bodies now hallow the grow, where they rest,
Sleeping sound in Old Dailly Kirkyard.
John Semple now
sleeps in Old Dailly Kirkyard,
Secure from the rough trooper's blow;
And John Stevenson lies in Old Dailly Kirkyard,
Hid safe from the search of the foe.
And Thomas M'Clorgan, and others who've gone
To reap their promised reward;
Their bodies rest here till the Last Trumpet's sound
Shall be heard in Old Dailly Kirkyard.
There are gentle
folks lie in Old Dailly Kirkyard,
Before whom the peasants did bow;
And learned men lie in Old Dailly Kirkyard,
Though their learning's of little worth now;
But the brave ones who died for our Freedom and Faith
Are the men whom this day we regard,
And we cherish their names as we stand round their graves,
In the hush of Old Dailly Kirkyard.