Dalmellington’s Old Kirkyard and The Motte are the most important remaining medieval sites in Dalmellington. First established in pre-reformation times, the original church stood near where the graveyard is today.
While stone from the original church was reused to build the Greek Revivial mausoleum for the McAdams of Craigengillan, the Old Kirkyard remains intact, complete with headstones dating back as far as 1662. Although there are undoubtedly graves which predate this, headstones were not widely produced in Scotland during the 16th Century as the country underwent the Protestant reformation.
Among the most noteable memorials are the headstones of Dalmellington’s celebrated blacksmith poet Robert Hettrick, philanthropist John Gaa and many local covenanters.
In recent times the wall surrounding the Kirkyard, listed under Category B by Historic Environment Scotland, had fallen into disrepair. But thanks to Council funding and help from specialist conservation architects, Wyllie Shanks Architects, East Ayrshire’s Facilities and Project Management team organised and supervised repair works, using the original stone where possible, to restore it and make it safe for future generations to appreciate.
Councillor Jim Roberts, Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure, East Ayrshire Council said: “Projects like this are not only vital to preserve our historical landscape, they enhance our surroundings and help support jobs for skilled traditional crafts people. It may seem like a simple job to repair a wall, but making sure the right traditional materials and methods are used is vital to provide an authentic finish which will again stand the test of time as it has already done for so long.”