Members of the ‘Improving New Cumnock group’ marked the completion of the work carried out in the Auld Kirkyard and Village Heritage Trail with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Auld Kirkyard gates on Sunday.
Project Leader Bobby Guthrie led the vote of thanks to those that had come along and those engaged in the project including our young citizens from New Cumnock Primary School and those ‘young at heart’ from Improving New Cumnock, New Cumnock History Club and New Cumnock Parish Church. He also expressed the team’s gratitude to the project funders – The Heritage Lottery Fund, Barr Environmental Ltd and East Ayrshire Council and then celebrated the project’s achievements –
‘We have preserved the ruin of the Auld Kirk which was built as a new church in 1659 and is responsible for putting the ‘new’ in New Cumnock. We have restored and cleaned many headstones, including several remembering fallen soldiers from the Great War, we have added several memorial plaques and we have replaced the kirkyard gates. We have also built a heritage trail with 10 information panels at places of interest throughout the village and produced Village Heritage Trail and Auld Kirkyard Trail Leaflets. ’
The Reverend Helen Cuthbert then led a short service at the Auld Kirkyard gates, including reading an excellent poem she had composed to mark the event, before with the support of Ian Howat, Chair of Improving New Cumnock, cut the ceremonial ribbon.
Auld Kirkyard Names, Stanes and Stories
Murray, Hunter, Dick and McKnight,
A’ guid New Cumnock names , that’s right,
A’ buried here aneath these stanes,
That we’ve scoored oot wi’ muckle pains,
But pains well worth the time and treasure
For what lies here is beyond measure.
Dear stanes: some clear and ithers faded,
By win’, rain, time their words degraded,
Some staunin’ stracht like sodgers ranked,
Some bo’ed like ‘aul yins’ frail and lank.
A wheen o’ life-times markit here,
Some quate, some causin’ sic a steer,
But a’ to daith and dust surrendered,
A’ noo’ time’s rollin’ stream has ended.
So whit dae mean? Ah hear ye say,
Whit guid are these stanes in oor day?
Well, michty me, dae ye no’ ken?
They tell our story – now and then,
Fur there’s still sodgers in oor toon,
Teachers, grocers, e’en fermers wannerin’ roon,
There’s still we bairnies, an’ aul’ men,
Mithers, faimlies, but noo’ adays less than ten.
An’ there’s still a Kirk –lies just o’er there,
Though its roof’s in slightly better repair,
Ministers tae are in the land o’ the leevin’
An’ some o’thaim are even – weemin!
New Cumnock’s story goes oan and we’re proud tae tell it,
Wi’ the help of these stanes, oor history to interpret.
So thanks to all those who for this day have strivvin’
Tis Heritage Trail I open wi’ the cuttin’ o’ this ribbon.