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Mauchline - Abbey Church Mauchline - Abbey Church interior
Photos Willie Lyle

Perhaps the only clear image of the Abbey Church, which was to later become the Abbey Cinema. The church itself was opened with full Masonic honours by Brother James Gibson R.W.M. of Burns' Mother Lodge, St. David Tarbolton No.133, on 16th August 1884. It was demolished in 1969. A lead container found by the demolishers can be viewed in the Burns House Museum, Mauchline. Included within the container were copies of newspapers and coinage of the day. As seen from the list of Free Church ministers below, there are pre Abbey Church ministers between the opening of The Abbey in 1884, and disruption in the Parish Church in 1843.


WF Blair's book on Mauchline suggests there was a former place of worship on that site.

"... The other two churches in Mauchline are comparatively modern erections, and being fine, handsome buildings are a great asset to the appearance of the village. Both the old churches which these new buildings substituted were very plain erections, the old U.P. having an outside stair leading to the gallery. In the last year or so of its existence occupants of gallery seats had to be very careful as it happened on one or two occasions an unwary step led to the floor and the ceiling underneath being pierced with somewhat ludicrous results.

The old Free Church had no gallery, but had the appearance of two long sheds built together, there being a gutter running along between the inner sides of the two roofs. It may not be generally known that this church was many years ago used as a polling booth but such is the case.


Mauchline - Abbey Kirk Manse, Sorn Road
Photos Willie Lyle
Photo Pat Aiken
Left: A role of honour for the Abbey Church. It is unknown if this is still in existence. Right: The former Manse. This is the last house on the right heading for Sorn, which now is completely surrounded by trees.

This very interesting piece came via e mail from Hillary Bagshaw in Portsmouth, September 2011.

The reason for my interest is that, having an interest in pewter I have just purchased an old flagon inscribed “FREE CHURCH MAUCHLINE 1844”. It is in very good condition and is in fact an outstanding example of a Britannia metal communion flagon. Sadly it has no maker’s marks, but it was probably made by Robert Whyte of Edinburgh as other similar examples with his mark are known of. The flagon is 12 ¼ inches overall height and 10 3/8ins to rim. The base diameter is 7 5/8ins. The capacity is half a gallon.

Many thanks for a most interesting contribution.

Hillary has another interesting question that has never come up locally.

Please look at the “Abbey Church” page. The top photo on the left is of the Abbey Church, but the interior shown on the right cannot be the interior of this church because the windows are the wrong shape, and surely the ceiling would be much higher. Look now at the description of the old Free Church as printed in the paragraph just above the lower pictures. It has no gallery, “- but had the appearance of two long sheds built together, there being a gutter running along between the inner sides of the two roofs –“. Now this is surely the shape we see if we look at the ceiling shown in the right hand photograph of a church interior. I reckon this must be the old Free Church. Sadly there’s no picture of my Communion Flagon sitting in it, but one can’t have everything!

Sadly all I can do is answer to the best of my ability. Willie Lyle who had the original image has since died, but he did assure me this was somehow inside the Abbey Kirk. Now the wheels are turning, and we have to look and see if there is anyone else still to the fore that can say yes or no the the photo. Watch this space.


Ministers of the Free/ Abbey Church

1844 - 1847 Rev Gilbert Johnston
1848 - 1878 Rev George Fairley
1878 - 1887 Rev John Pollock (Abbey Church opened 1884)
1887 - 1904 Rev William Binnie
1904 - 1914 Rev Alex Taylor
1915 - 1925 Rev David Foulis


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