M5: Reverend Matthew Kirkland
This Memorial Plaque to the Reverend Matthew Kirkland in the Auld Kirkyard was kindly gifted by Mr. Russell Brooks of Ayrshire Memorials. It has been placed at the far wall between the headstones of the Reverend William Reid and Reverend Robert Murray.
In Memory Of
Reverend Matthew Kirkland
Minister Of This Parish
Minister Of The First Free Church
‘Bold And Eloquent’
Reverend Matthew Kirkland (1800-1846)
- Minister of New Cumnock Parish Church (1835 -1843)
- Minister of New Cumnock Free Church (1843-1846)
- Spouse: Anna Smith (1800-1872)
- Children: Isabella
New Cumnock Parish Church
Matthew Kirkland was born in Carmunnock, Glasgow in 1800 and was presented to New Cumnock parish by John Marquess of Bute in September 1835 and ordained in December that year. The original parish church, built in 1659, could no longer meet the demands of the growing population and the foundation stone of new parish church was laid in 1831 and the congregation met there for the first time on 23rd May 1833.
‘In the year 1832, an elegant new church was erected voluntarily by the heritors, owing to the inadequacy of the old place of worship to afford accommodation to the increased population’ Matthew Kirkland [Statistical Account]
In 1838 the Reverend Kirkland compiled the Statistical Account of the parish of New Cumnock (published in 1845) and summarised the Ecclesiastical State as follows –
The following year in 1839 at Glasgow he married Anna Smith, daughter of the late John Smith, hosier and together they had a daughter Isabella Donaldson born on 27th February 1841, in the manse at New Cumnock.
New Cumnock Free Church
Within a few years the Kirkland family were looking for a new home. In 1843 a great schism in the Established Church, known as The Disruption, resulted in over 400 ministers, including Matthew Kirkland, seceding from that church and forming the Free Church of Scotland – a church free from civil interference.
Many of the Matthew Kirkland’s congregation followed their minister and left the parish church some 10 years after it had opened its doors. The Reverend Kirkland now delivered his sermons from the window at the Castle close (Castle Inn). However very soon a Free Church and manse along with a Free Church School and a school-house stood on the castle hill, on the site of Cumnock Castle and adjacent to the ruins of the Auld Kirk, the original parish church. The memorial stone for the Free Church was laid on 29th August, 1843.
Sadly three years later in the summer of 1846 the Reverend Matthew Kirkland passed away, aged 46 years old. He laid to rest in the Gorbals churchyard in his home city. The New Cumnock congregation erected a memorial stone to their minister in the church grounds. It stood there for many years long after the Free Church had been replaced by the Arthur Memorial Church but sadly mysteriously disappeared without trace.
His widow Ann along with their young daughter Isabella set up home with in Rhu, Helensburgh and it was here that Ann passed away in 1872, aged 72 years old.
Matthew Kirkland, Memorial Stone
BORN IN CARMUNNOCK A.D. 1800
OF NEW CUMNOCK IN 1835
DEVOTED TO GOD FROM HIS YOUTH
PROFOUND IN STUDIES IN DOCTRINE
INCORRUPT IN LABOURS ABUNDANT
IN EXPOSITION AND DEFENCE OF
THE GOSPEL REMARKABLY ABLE
BOLD AND ELOQUENT
AN ARDENT FRIEND AND ADVOCATE
OF SCOTLAND’S SPIRITUAL
TESTIMONY. A MEMBER OF THE
MEMORABLE ASSEMBLY 1843
AND OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE
FREE PROTESTING CHURCH
HIS DUST IS ENTOMBED
IN GORBALS CHURCHYARD
Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae (Synod of Glasgow and Ayr)
MATTHEW KIRKLAND, born 1799, eldest son of Matthew K., Carmunnock ; educated at Univ. of Glasgow ; licen. by Presb. of Glasgow 7th May 1828 ; pres. by John, Marquess of
Bute, 28th Sept., and ord. 10th Dec. 1835. Joined the Free Church in 1843; min. of New Cumnock Free Church, 1843-6; died 27th July 1846. He marr. 12th Dec. 1839, Ann (died 2nd Aug. 1872), eldest daugh. of John Smith, hosier, Glasgow,and had issue Isabella, born 27th Feb. 1841. Publication Account of the Parish (New Stat. Ace., v.)
- The Statitistical Accounts of Scotland 1791-1845 (EDINA)
- History of Arthur Memorial Church