DAILLY Kirk, Ayrshire

OLD DAILLY CHURCHYARD

Whilom, in this sequestered spot I stood;
Through the thick foliage of the waving elms
The sun let in a melancholy light
Which well accorded with the silence sad -
The solemn stillness of the quiet scene.

No sound of music stirred the grove; methought
That Nature's warblers wild to summer bower
Had hied them: here, hard by, a brook slow stole,
The pensive echo of whose murmuring
Filled ev'ry dell with softest resonance.
A roofless church stood in the centre-all
Its beauty gone - to ashes crumbled down
Where erst the holy father and pale nun
Their morning orisons forth poured - where rose
The matin song, the vesper hymn of praise -
And where, when error's endless maze for truth
And simpler forms made way, the man of God
To pastures green led forth his flock. Here slept
In undistinguished dust, the good, the brave,
The vicious and the vile. Within the shade
Of the dilapidated pile I traced
The last, long resting place of some as if
They feared the chill of blast tempestuous
Or sought to tell to passers by, who on
Their graves might look, that they above all things.

Sweet bird! remembrancer of glories gone!
For thou cling'st close to man, while all beside
His presence shun: e'en here a lonely joy
Thou seem'st to feel to flutter o'er the dust
And soothe the slumbers of the dull-eared dead.

by William Gray, early 19th century.

Church History

"The original church of Dailly was granted by Duncan, Earl of Carrick, to the monks of Paisley, and was afterwards transferred from the monastery of Paisley to that of Crossraguel. It was dedicated to St. Michael. This old building was superseded by a new church erected at Old Dailly, in 1606, the present parish church having been built at New Dailly in 1776. Within the vestry of the old church 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. The church of Dailly was a favourite resort of Alexander Peden, the prophet of the Covenanters."

"The ancient name of the parish of Dailly was Dalinakeran, and there were in it several chapels. One of these stood at the lower end of the Lady Glen, and was called the Lady Chapel. Another, which was dedicated to St. Machar, was called Machrikill, and stood on the banks of a small stream near the old castle of Kilkerran. The parish was of large extent until 1653, at which time a portion of it was detached, and thrown into the new parish of Barr."

"Old Dailly churchyard has its martyr tombstones erected in memory of John Semple and Thomas M'Clorgan. The stone was renewed in 1825. An elegant monument has also been recently erected by the people of the district, in honour of John Stevenson, of Camregan, George Martin, schoolmaster, and other Old Dailly Covenanters who suffered for the cause of freedom. The families of the district nobility have their tombstones here. The Bargany lairds lie within the church: the lairds of Killochan on the north side, and the Penkill lairds at the end next the gate."

"Within the Penkill enclosure is interred, Mr William Bell Scott, poet-artist. In the churchyard of New Dailly rests the Rev Thomas Thomson, a former minister of the parish, and father of the Rev. John Thomson, the renowned preacher and landscape painter, familiarly known as Thomson of Duddingston. In this churchyard, too, is the mausoleum of the lairds of Kilkerran."

"Ayrshire Nights Entertainment: A Descriptive Guide to the History, Traditions, Antiquities of the County of Ayr" by John MacIntosh of Galston, Ayrshire, published in 1894, by John Menzies & Co. of Kilmarnock, Dunlop and Drennan.

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