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Kirkintilloch Town and Parish
The Old Aisle


The artist's marble rests,
On the lips that I have pressed,
In their bloom
And the names I lov’d to hear,
Have been carved for many a year,
On the tomb.

The following history of the burying-ground is exhibited in the visitors’ room of the lodge at the entrance gate :—

“Kirkintilloch Old Aisle Burying Ground, a.d. 1140.

“The old aisle church of Kirkintilloch was founded by Thorald, proprietor of the Barony of Kirkintilloch and Cumbernauld, and High Sheriff of Stirlingshire, about 1140. It appears, from the chronicles of Melrose, that King David I. granted a charter to the Abbey of Kelso, which was witnessed, ‘apud Strivelin Johanne Glasguensi, Episcopo, Toraldo, Vicecomite, and others’. John, Bishop of Glasgow, died 28th May, 1147, and Herbert, Abbot of Kelso, was elected his successor. In the same year (1147) the King granted a charter to Cambuskenneth Abbey, viz., ‘Ecclesiae Sanctae Marise de Striveling et canonicis in ea,* conveying ‘terram de Kambuskinel,’ etc , witnessed by seventeen persons, among whom is ‘ Herbertus electus de Glasgu.’ The chartularies of Arbroath, Dunfermline, and other monasteries, contain royal charters granted between 1165 and 1214, witnessed by William, son of Thorald. In the chartulary of Cambuskenneth is a charter by * Willielmus filius ThoraldiVicecomes de Strivelyn,’ granting to that abbey the church of Kirkintilloch, * cum dimida carrucata terre pro anima mea et animis patris mei et matris mese,’ witnessed by 4 Alano filio ejus,’ and others. In the same chartulary is a bull by Pope Celestine III., dated at Rome, on the Ides of May, 1195, enumerating and confirming grants previously made to the abbey, among which are mentioned land ‘ in villa de Bynnin, ex concessione et confirmatione Jocelyni, Episcopi, Glasguensis, et Willielmi filii Thoraldi et ex regia confirmatione Ecclesiae de Kirkintulloch cum dimidia carrucata terre.’ Jocelyn or Gotelin was Bishop of Glasgow from 1174 to 1199. In this chartulary there is also a confirmation by King Alexander II., dated 27th March, 1226, of the abbey’s possessions, including the kirk of Kirkintilloch, and its half carrucate of land. In Bagimont’s Roll, 1275, the vicarage of Kirkintilloch was taxed £2 13s. 4d., being a tenth of its estimated yearly revenue.

“William, son of Thorald, was succeeded by his son, *Alexander, filius Willielmi filii Thoraldi’ (see chartulary of Dunfermline), who was styled ‘Viscomes de Strivelyn." He granted to the See of Glasgow, ‘tres marcas annuatim in pura et perpetua elemosina de Molendino meo de Cadder.* John, a brother of Alexander, succeeded. There is a royal charter of confirmation to the See of Glasgow (see chartulary of Glasgow) of certain lands, date 1242, witnessed by ‘Johanne Vicecomite de Strivelyn.’

“The Comyn family, of whom Thorald, William, Alexander, and John, above mentioned, were members, continued to be proprietors of Kirkintilloch, and Cumbernauld Barony, and heritable Sheriffs of Stirlingshire, until their forfeiture, consequent on their rivalry with Robert de Bruce. The barony was then granted to Robert Fleming, who died in 1313 or 1314. ‘The Bruce* confirmed a charter to Malcolm Fleming, son of Robert, of the whole barony of Kirkintilloch, with its pertinents, which formerly belonged to John Comyn, Knight’; also created him Earl of Wigton, and also appointed him Sheriff of Dumbartonshire and Governor of Dumbarton Castle. Afterwards the estate is described in the title-deeds as the Barony of Lenzie. In 1390 David Fleming, by a charter, in which he is styled,

*Davi, Lord of Bigare and Lenzie," mortified his lands of Duntiblay, with a part of its mill, to a chapel in the town of Kirkintilloch. John, Lord Fleming, Chamberlain of Scotland during the minority of King James V., kept back for seven years payment of the tythes of his lands in Kirkintilloch, amounting to thirty-three bolls of wheat and two bolls of barley each year, and was prosecuted at the instance of the abbot and monks of Cambuskenneth. Thereafter they leased the tythes to the Fleming family for £So yearly. At the Reformation time John, Earl of Mar, acquired the property of the Cambuskenneth Abbey, and sold or transferred Kirkintilloch tythes and church to the Earl of Wigton. In 1621 (see Acta Pari. IV., 607) the people of Cumbernauld district petitioned Parliament to have Lenzie Barony made two parishes, or to have the church brought nearer to the centre of the parish. In 1646 a new church was built at Cumbernauld for Easter Lenzie, now made a separate parish, and the chapel in Kirkintilloch became the church of the western parish. The old church was then deserted.

“Its precincts, called ‘The Old Aisle,* have never been deserted; and, after being continuously a graveyard for seven hundred years, they have now received the enlargement sanctioned by the Sheriff of the county on 7th May, 1863, and compose with it the burying-ground of the parish of Kirkintilloch, in terms of the Burial Grounds (Scotland) Act, 1855.”

At Carrickstone, in the parish of Cumbernauld, near the track of the old Roman wall, is an ancient Roman ara or altar, which is now set up on the road-side, and has evidently given the name to the place, as it is known as the Carrick-stone. Tradition says that on this height Bruce, marching from Carrick in Ayrshire, rested his army on his way to Bannockburn, and on this ancient stone fixed his standard. “A feeling of reverence seems to have long clung to it, on account of it having been, at one time, used as a resting-place, where the coffins of the dead were placed while being conveyed to the 1 Auld Isle/ formerly the common graveyard of the then united parishes of Cumbernauld and Kirkintilloch, or Easter and Wester Lenzie.” Before the bridge at “Brig’en” was built, the Luggie was crossed by burial parties at a ford, and in the centre of the stream was a large stone, on which the bearers rested the coffin.

Tradition says that a market was held at St. Ninian’s church every Sunday after service, and this was so common throughout Scotland as to render it more than likely to have been the practice there also.

“The holding of markets on Sunday was a custom which originated at a very remote period, and from the long time the practice continued, it had doubtless been found convenient both for exposer and purchaser. Indeed, the same course was carried on even after the Reformation; and it was not until the year 1593 that Parliament thought of legislating upon the point, when an Act was passed ‘to discharge, remove, and put away all fairis and marcattis haldin on Sondays’; but the people were so much prejudiced in favour of the custom that nearly a century elapsed before the terms of the Act were even generally complied with.”—-Jervise.

No more romantic and beautiful burying-ground than the Old Aisle can be seen anywhere.

The ancient part, which has been in use so long, consists of about an acre, and stands on the summit of a gentle acclivity, but entirely secluded from all signs of life as regards the immediate surroundings. The old belfry is the most conspicuous object, and, like an ancient banner, proclaims by its presence the antiquity of the place. As may be expected, the ground is long ago fully occupied, or, more properly speaking, every yard of it has been tenanted and retenanted for ages; and the ground is now covered, as a rule, with old time-worn tombstones, the inscriptions on which are mostly illegible. David Gray, the poet, is interred in this part.

Under the new regimh about six acres have been added to the area and enclosed ; three acres sloping gc tly down to the south-west, and the other three to the south-east, ending in a retired and beautiful dell; a prominent object in the foreground being the iron bridge over the Bothlin bum.

In these are interred many well-known inhabitants of the town and parish, among whom we can only mention Miss Cluggton, the philanthropist. An elegant monument of red sandstone marks her last resting place, faced with a massive tablet of bronze in the f<»rm of a Gothic window. An admirable likeness of the deceased lady is on the top, and the inscriptions are with great good taste—short, but expressive; the institutions founded through the exertions of that noble spirit being her best monument, and will keep her memory fresh and fragrant long after the red sandstone has crumbled into dust The inscriptions bear: —Beatrice Clugston, 1827-1888. Dunoon Homes, Broomhill Home, Glasgow Convalescent Home. Charity, Mercy, Humility.

The history of the Old Aisle would require a volume in itself, and we heartily wish and hope that some Guthrie Smith will arise in the near future to do the subject the justice it deserves.


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