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Kilmarnock, Bank Street, Laigh Kirk

Church (13th Century)

Site Name Kilmarnock, Bank Street, Laigh Kirk

Classification Church (13th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Low Church

Canmore ID 42832

Site Number NS43NW 8

NGR NS 42767 37948

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council East Ayrshire
  • Parish Kilmarnock
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Kilmarnock And Loudoun
  • Former County Ayrshire

Archaeology Notes

NS43NW 8 42767 37948

For Covenanter's Graves see NS43NW 46

(NS 4276 3794) Laigh Kirk (NAT)

OS 25" map (1963)

Steeple (NR)

OS 25" map (1866)

Kilmarnock parish church was dedicated to St Marnoch Mo-Ernoc (W J Watson 1926). It was rebuilt in 1802 and enlarged in 1831. It is now commonly known as the "Laigh Kirk". Its tower is a survival from the older building, and is said to have been built in the 15th century (H Scott 1920). Hay, however, states that the tower is of 17th century style.

G Hay 1957

The steeple formerly abore the date '1410', but does not appear to date from then. It was considerably repaired in 1770.

A McKay 1909

The steeple protrudes at the NE angle of the church, and forms part of that entirely modern building. It is of ashlar masonry, measures 5.5m square, and does not appear exceptionally old. There are no other extant remains of the old building about the church, which is in use for public worship.

Visited by OS (JLD) 8 August 1956

No change to the previous field report.

Visited by OS (JRL) 29 June 1982


Publication Account (1981)

The earliest parish church of Kilmarnock was the Low, or Laigh Kirk which was possibly erected by the thirteenth century and was a daughter church of Kilwinning Abbey (Schofield, 1976, 1). It is possible that masonry from the earlier fifteenth century survives in the present fabric, which was erected in 1801 (Smellie, 1898, x). In that year the Laigh Kirk was rebuilt following a calamity when, under the impression that the church was falling in, the congregation made a rush for the door and thirty people were crushed to death (Smellie, 1898, x). About the early 1730s, the Laigh Church had been found to be insufficient for the expanding population in the town. To supply the deficiency, the High Church at the head of Soulis Street was then erected. The Laigh Kirk minister however, supplied the pulpit and even after 1764, when the High Church gained its own minister, church affairs were still largely in the control of the Laigh Kirk Session (Schofield, 1976, 13).

Information from ‘Historic Kilmarnock: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1981).


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