Welcome to Alloway Auld Kirk, built in the 1500’s on the foundations of another building dating back to the thirteen century. The belfry was built 4 years after the church was completed. A 100 years later, the council decided to take the belfry down but resistance from residents made them change their mind. The Auld Kirk is surrounded by a graveyard but whilst the church was in use you were not allowed to be buried here. By the 1740’s the church was also used as a school but by the mid 1700’s the Kirk was deserted and fell into disrepair. This empty ruin became ‘Alloway’s Auld Haunted Kirk’ in the mind of young Robert Burns and later became the central setting for his famous poem Tam o’ Shanter. There are 219 ancient headstones in the kirkyard, the oldest dating from 1690. The most well known is of course that of Robert’s father, William Burns.
Sandy McInstosh, one of the Museum’s volunteers has devoted a significant amount of time to study and record every single headstone in the kirkyard and his graveyard guided tours are very popular.
Here is the first of a series of these interesting videos in which Sandy is interviewed by Hugh Farrell about his graveyard project. Our immense gratitude to Helen (also a volunteer) and Robert Beck from BeckSport for producing this high quality video.