Auchinleck Notables' Monument

Auchinleck Kirkyard




NGR - NS 551215


The red sandstone obelisk was located to the right on entering the main gates leading into the car park at Auchinleck Parish Church. It was damaged when a branch of an overhanging tree fell in a storm and broke the uppermost needle part of the obelisk. The SCMA and Boswell Trust worked with East Ayrshire Council to have the memorial repaired, which was funded by the council. The opportunity was taken to have the memorial relocated at the same time, and now is located opposite the church door, adjoining Churchhill. 

History of the Monument


The story of the Auchinleck monument is of interest in itself. The following paragraph is reproduced from The History of Auchinleck, by Dane Love:

‘In 1865 a local mason, John Murdoch, spent some considerable time renewing old tombstones in the kirkyard, erecting new memorials to sons of the parish. Among the stones renewed were those of Rev John Shaw, Rev George Walker and Matthew Tait. New memorials erected by him were the obelisk of freestone standing near the gate adjacent to the mausoleum in memory of a selection of parish notables and the tablet in the west wall of the old kirk, in memory of the ministers of the kirk from 1669. The obelisk commemorates William Murdoch, William MacGavin, Alexander Peden and the nine martyrs killed on Airds Moss. Previous to 1874 Murdoch had built the Lord Clyde Well at the village's Townfoot. He had fought with Lord Clyde in Crimea and named the well in his memory. His home, Alma Cottage, was also named from his war experience. In that year Murdoch was given a lunch in his honour, at which he was presented with a purse containing a number of sovereigns.’


Auchinleck Memorial


The memorial commemorates four significant aspects of Auchinleck history, two of which are associated with the Covenanters:


1. Rev Alexander Peden.

Peden was buried in secret in the churchyard in Auchinleck, but after a few weeks this was discovered by the soldiers. They dug up the body and carried it into Cumnock, where they intended hanging it from the gallows tree. Instead, they buried it at the gallows foot, where a monument now marks his grave. See Old Cumnock - Peden's Grave.


2. Airds Moss and Rev Richard Cameron.

The Battle of Airds Moss (1680) took place within Auchinleck parish, although it is closer to Muirkirk.


The other two sides of the monument commemorate WIlliam Murdoch, inventor of gas lighting, and William MacGavin, author of The Protestant.

Above: Monument in original location