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Kirkintilloch, Cowgate, Old Church

Chapel (19th Century), Church (19th Century)

Site Name Kirkintilloch, Cowgate, Old Church

Classification Chapel (19th Century), Church (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Auld Kirk Museum; Kirkintilloch, Old Parish Church Of St Mary

Canmore ID 45220

Site Number NS67SE 3

NGR NS 65217 74078

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council East Dunbartonshire
  • Parish Kirkintilloch (Strathkelvin)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Strathkelvin
  • Former County Dunbartonshire

Archaeology Notes

NS67SE 3 65217 74078

(NS 6522 7407) Ch (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1980)

Auld Kirk Historical Centre (NAT)

OS 1:1250 map, (1966)

A chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and mentioned in 1379 stood on the spot now occupied by the present parish church, built in 1644. Also dedicated to St Mary, it replaced the previous parish church, dedicated to St Ninian, noted on NS67SE 4.

Orig Parch Scot 1851; G Chalmers 1890; T Watson 1894

This church is in a very bad state of repair and is not now in use, a new parish church having been built 1912-14 at NS 6547 7387.

Visited by OS (J F C) 19 February 1954; Information from the Kirkintilloch Herald 16 September 1914.

The Old Parish Church of St Mary, now a museum (HBD list No. 1) is cruciform on plan, the four gables being crowstepped; it has a modern museum doorway and approach steps. The walls, once harled, were picked clean in 1890 when various renovations were carried out.

G Hay 1957.

Listed. No additional information.

RCAHMS 1982, visited 1977.

Architecture Notes


Built:- 1644. Repaired:- 1840

Non-Guardianship Sites Plan Collection, DC28114- DC28121, 1943 & 1950.


Publication Account (2009)

The Barony Chambers, also known as the Town-house and the Steeple (NS 6528 7399, Category B-listed, figs 21 & 29.11), were opened in 1815. Built on the site of the old tolbooth, at the junction of High Street and Cowgate, it had three separate apartments: the ground floor had a court hall and two small prison cells, the first floor contained a council room, and the upper floor a school, known as the ‘steeple school’. From an early date the steeple housed a bell and a clock, which have been repaired and replaced on a number of occasions. The steeple bell is now in the Auld Kirk Museum. By 1860 the whole building was in need of extensive repairs. The Barony Chambers were replaced by the opening of the Town Hall (Category B-listed) on Union Street (fig 29.31) in September 1906. There had been no real Town Hall in the nineteenth century. The Black Bull Inn (fig 29.14), on High Street, had been the principal hall in the town, a mantle which was transferred to the Temperance Hall in Alexandra Street (fig 29.32), built in 1872, although it was also inadequate.

Information from ‘The Scottish Burgh Survey, Historic Kilsyth: Archaeology and Development’ (2009).

Publication Account (2009)

St Mary’s church, known as the Auld Kirk (NS 6521 7407; Category A-listed, figs 5 & 29.3)... The Auld Kirk at Kirkintilloch was built in the shape of a Greek cross, but had traditional Scottish crow-stepped gables and may have been built with stones from the ruins of the nearby castle. By 1733 it was mentioned as having a slate roof. In the 1830s, prior to major repairs, it held around 800 persons. In the eighteenth century the kirk saw various secessions. In 1735 the Reverend William Fleming was appointed as minister for Kirkintilloch by the Earl of Wigtown, the patron, against the wishes of the parishioners, a number of whom attended the secession church of Ebenezer Erskine in Stirling. In 1765 they established the first secession congregation in Kirkintilloch, known as the Kirkintilloch Burgher Congregation, and a few years later built a church to the east of Cowgate adjacent to Back Causeway (fig 29.10). This building survived until the 1960s.

Information from ‘The Scottish Burgh Survey, Historic Kilsyth: Archaeology and Development’ (2009).


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