Alloway Auld Kirk

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Alloway Kirk

The Alloway Auld Kirk, which dates back to the 16th Century,[1] is a ruin in Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland (grid reference NS33191805), celebrated as the scene of the witches' dance in the poem "Tam o' Shanter" by Robert Burns.

The kirk ruins and William Burnes's grave

William Burnes, father of the poet, is buried in the graveyard together with his wife Agnes and daughter Isabella as well as two of his nieces. Alloway was where he and his wife had first raised their family before moving to Mount Oliphant and Lochlea, and William had attempted to maintain the grounds of the Kirk, which was already a ruin at the time.[2] The original memorial stone has eroded and the present day stone differs in wording, memorializing both of Burns's parents, and includes an epitaph the poet wrote for his father.[2] Burns's sister, Isabella Burns Begg, is also buried in the Kirkyard, along with other notable figures such as David Cathcart, Lord Alloway.[1]

Robert Burns presented his friend John Richmond with a silver mounted snuffbox made with wood taken from the rafters of the Auld Alloway Kirk. The snuffbox bears the inscription;[3]

"Frae the oak that bare the riggin',
O Alloway's auld haunted biggin',
Frae the thorn aboon the well,
Whaur Mungo's mither hanged hersel'."

A David Auld removed the remaining rafters and used them to make chairs and other souvenirs, making a considerable profit from the sales.[4]

Following restoration work, the Kirk and graveyard were reopened to the public by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond in April 2008.[5] The church itself is a scheduled monument and the churchyard a Category B listed building.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Alloway Auld Kirk - Ayr - VisitScotland". Archived from the original on 24 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b Crawford, Robert (2009). The Bard. London: Jonathon Cape. p. 138. ISBN 9780224077682.
  3. ^ Duncan, Robert (1910). The Story of the Edinburgh Burns Relics with Fresh Facts about Burns and his Family. Andrew Elliot. p. 34.
  4. ^ Duncan, Robert (1910). The Story of the Edinburgh Burns Relics with Fresh Facts about Burns and his Family. Andrew Elliot. p. 35.
  5. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Alloway Kirk (SM308)". Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  7. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Alloway Kirk Graveyard including Hughes Mausoleum, Gatepiers, Gates and Boundary Wall and excluding Scheduled Monument No 308, 'Alloway Kirk', Alloway (Category B Listed Building) (LB21471)". Retrieved 19 February 2019.

External links[edit]

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWood, James, ed. (1907). The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne. Missing or empty |title= (help)

Coordinates: 55°25′40″N 4°38′15″W / 55.42786°N 4.63762°W / 55.42786; -4.63762