Barnweill Church

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Canmore ID 42709
Site Number NS42NW 1
NGR NS 40506 29903
Former District KYLE AND CARRICK
Former County AYRSHIRE
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Archaeological Notes

NS42NW 1 40506 29903

(NS 4050 2990) Barnweill Church (NR) (remains of)
OS 6" map (1967)

The pre-Reformation church of the parish of Barnweill is said to have been built about the beginning of the 15th century (Name Book 1857). It belonged to the monastery at Fail. The parish was suppressed in 1673 when the church which was dedicated to the Holy Rood (H Scott 1950) was allowed to fall into ruins. In 1857, its ivy-covered gables stood to their original height, but the side walls were almost level with the ground. The bell from this church was given to the Scottish Episcopalian Chapel at Ayr in 1857. Paterson notes a font in the west gable, and that the oldest legible tombstone in the churchyard is dated 1661, though there were several others evidently much older.
G Chalmers 1820; J Paterson 1863; H Scott 1920

This is a small rectangular building, the walls of which are in a crumbling condition. The North and south walls are extremely low, though the gables still stand to their original height. There is an entrance in both the north and south walls, in the east gable is a segmental arched window which may support the 15th century date given in the Ordnance Survey Name Book (ONB). The 'font' mentioned by Paterson appears to be an aumbry or sacrament house. The tombstone dated 1661 was not identified but no doubt it is one of the dozen or so old stones which remain in the disused churchyard; one stone, bearing the scarcely perceivable date '1674' was seen.
Visited by OS (JLD) 11 May 1954

No change; the gable ends are in an unstable condition, but there appears to have been little tumble since OS (JLD)'s report. The last burial in the churchyard was in 1963.
Visited by OS (JRL) 17 November 1980

The remains of this church stand within a walled burial-ground 170m N NE of Kirkhill farmsteading. It is gable-ended and rectangular on plan (13.7m by 5.7m within walls 0.75m thick, reduced to about 1.5m in height). Although the greater part of the existing building appears to be of 17th-century date, the W gable may be medieval. The gable rises from a chamfered base-plinth and has an offset at the height of the main wall-head. Opposed doorways are set towards the W end of the two long walls, and a high-level window is incorporated in the E gable. The church belonged to the Trinitarian house of Fail (NS42NW 2). In 1653 the parish was united with Tarbolton and Craigie.
OSA 1793; J Paterson 1863-6; K Hewat; H Scott 1915-61; W J Dillon 1957; I B Cowan 1967; RCAHMS 1985, visited (IMS) February 1985.

Books and References

Chalmers, G (1887-94) Caledonia: or a historical and topographical account of North Britain, 7 vols + index Paisley
Page(s): Vol.3, 516-17, 526 Held at RCAHMS C.1.2.CHA

Cowan, I B (1967) The parishes of medieval Scotland, Scot Rec Soc, vol.93 Edinburgh
Page(s): 14 Held at RCAHMS C.3.2.COW

Dillon, W J (1957b) 'Calendar of documents relating to Fail, Barnweill, Galston and Symington', Ayrshire Archaeol Natur Hist Collect, 2nd, vol.4
Page(s): 119-22

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Charity SC026749