I wish to offer my sincere thanks to Marion Gilliland for getting in touch through the New Cumnock Heritage Facebook to consider if I would be interested in a looking at collection of photos, documents etc. from New Cumnock’s past that she had inherited from her close and late friend Margaret Kirkland, Polmarlach, New Cumnock. Marion and her partner Jim Marshall, who both formerly lived in New Cumnock, welcomed me into their home at Mauchline and although still on a high after Glenafton’s victory in the Scottish Junior Cup Quarter-final the next 90 minutes were equally rewarding and I must admit the butterflies in the stomach were equally active!
Margaret was the daughter of Alexander Kirkland, Draper in New Cumnock and granddaughter of Thomas Kirkland and Margaret Lambie (Lammie). The Kirklands were one of the family’s that were researched as part of Auld Kirkyard Heritage Trails and it is fantastic to have some amazing photographs to put faces to the names.
That research revealed that Thomas’s grandfather, another Thomas had married Jean Peden who was born at Sorn in 1798, the daughter of Alexander Peden and Jean Smith. This then begged the question could this family be descendants of Alexander Peden, the Prophet of the Covenant, who died in 1666 and is buried at Barrhill Cemetery, Cumnock ?
It is clear throughout the genealogy notes within Margaret Kirkland’s collection that there is a strong and long-held family tradition that this the case.
Indeed Jean Peden the great great grandmother of Margaret Campbell Kirkland is the great great grand niece of Alexander Peden
The Auld Kirkyard Trail account of the Kirklands can be found here –
From my interest in Covenanters I have researched the connection between the Kirkland family through the Lammie (Lambie) family. Margaret Lambie was the grand-daughter of Maggie Lammie the mother of James Hyslop, poet and best remembered for his poem Cameronian Dream, composed in 1820 and honouring the loss of Richard Cameron, ‘Lion of the Covenant’ at the Battle of Airdsmoss on 22nd July 1680. My current article on James Hyslop can be found here.
This research can now be extended for within Margaret Kirkland’s collection is the manuscript of James Hyslop’s poem the Cameronian Vision, signed and dated by Hyslop at the Banks of Crawick, 3rd April 1825. This poem is another epic work and relates to the killing of Covenanter John Brown of Priesthill, Muirkirk by Graham of Claverhouse – Bluidy Clavers! This is a fantastic find and great addition to the history of the Covenanters, New Cumnock and Kirkconnel, home of James Hyslop.
In an unexpected twist, Marion then handed over another manuscript which carried the signature of a Kirkland, the Reverend Matthew Kirkland, minister of the parish of New Cumnock. This manuscript was in fact the New Statistical Account of the parish of New Cumnock compiled by the minister in November 1838. My hands were trembling by this time as the Reverend Kirkland has always been a bit of hero of mine. He left the established church at the Disruption of 1843 and was the first minister of the Free Church of New Cumnock, the one that pre-dated the Arthur Memorial Kirk. The Reverend Kirkland features in the Auld Kirkyard Trails and he article about him can be found here -.
There is nothing to suggest the Reverend Kirkland (who was born is buried in Glasgow) is an immediate member of Margaret’s family although nothing would surprise me now. Margaret’s grandfather Alexander Kirkland was on the Free Church Committee and it is possible the New Statistical Account came into his possession through this connection.
It is hoped to get support to properly catalogue the Margaret Campbell Kirkland Collecttion and get professional digital copies of some of the documents and photographs.
I look forward to sharing some more of the collection in the future.
Thank you again to Marion and Jim for a memorable day.
Bobby Guthrie 19th March 2017