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Laigh Kirk, Bank Street, Kilmarnock

A Category A Listed Building in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.6097 / 55°36'34"N

Longitude: -4.4977 / 4°29'51"W

OS Eastings: 242767

OS Northings: 637948

OS Grid: NS427379

Mapcode National: GBR 3G.MQLY

Mapcode Global: WH3Q9.W8DD

Plus Code: 9C7QJG52+VW

Entry Name: Laigh Kirk, Bank Street, Kilmarnock

Listing Name: Bank Street, the Laigh Kirk

Listing Date: 9 March 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 380557

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB35875

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Kilmarnock

County: East Ayrshire

Town: Kilmarnock

Electoral Ward: Kilmarnock West and Crosshouse

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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Kilmarnock

Description

17th century tower; body of church by Robert Johnstone, 1802; enlarged 1831. Renovations 1903-4, Andrew and Newlands. 4-stage tower with 2-storey rectangular-plan classical church with projecting stair towers at angles and single storey session house to rear. Roughly coursed rubble tower with ashlar angle margins, set-offs and cornice. Harled and painted church with ashlar dressings. Dressed ashlar session house with polished ashlar margins and cornice. Giant angle pilasters. Ashlar base course to Bank Street.

NE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: tower to left with band courses: raised on battered plinth, blind with door and window to right return and slit window to left return; 2nd stage: pair of vertically placed rectangular windows to front and left return; 3rd stage: clock set in square panel on each face (black faces to NE & SW elevations); 4th stage: set back with louvred belfry openings; bellcast roof with guilt weathervane surmounting. Main church to right: regularly fenestrated, 2-storey with later stone porch to ground floor centre with angle pilasters and central window, window to flanks of porch, pair of arched windows to 1st floor, projecting single bay to flanks with angle pilasters, left projection blind with door and window in right return, right projection housing single window to left return of both floors (later columned and architraved door surround supporting triangular pediment added to right of window on right projecting bay).

SE ELEVATION: regular 2-storey, 7-bay elevation (1-2-1-2-1): slightly projecting central bay with angle pilasters, ground floor door accessed by double flight of steps with wrought-iron handrail and pair of later gas lamp standards, arched blind window to 1st floor; pair of rectangular windows to ground floor flanks with pair of arched windows above; projecting single bay at ends with angle pilasters, door to left ground floor bay; window in right ground floor bay, both with arch window to 1st floor

SW (REAR) ELEVATION: 2-storey, 1-2-1 bays with session house extension. Main church: regular pair of bays to 1st floor centre with single projecting stair bays to flanks (windows to ends and re-entrant angles). Later L-plan session house adjoining to ground floor right and centre: SE (Bank Street) ELEVATION: comprising of tripartite window with angle pilasters to flanks. SW ELEVATION: 3 irregularly placed windows, with 2 further windows on arm of L-plan, window to left return.

NW ELEVATION: regular 2-storey, 7-bay elevation (1-2-1-2-1): slightly projecting central bay with angle pilasters, later projecting ground floor porch with angle pilasters supporting triangular pediment, blind returns, arched blind window to 1st floor; pair of rectangular windows to ground floor flanks with pair of arched windows above; projecting single bay at ends with angle pilasters, door to ground floor with window above.

Square headed windows to ground floor, round-arched with simple intersecting tracery to gallery.

INTERIOR: classical interior with ground floor pews, horseshoe gallery supported on cast-iron Doric columns and plentiful stained glass. Memorial window to Lord Howard De Walden and reset memorial dated 1589 to Lord Boyd. Painted plaster walls with partial wood panelling. Stained glass by William Meikle and Sons, AC Whalen and Norman M McDougal. Piended and platformed grey slate roof with lead flashing, each stair bay individually roofed. Replacement rainwater goods.

Statement of Interest

A-Group with Graveyard. Ecclesiastical building in use as such. The Laigh Kirk on the site was replaced in 1750, then again in 1802. The later rebuilding came about following an incident on 18th October 1801. The High Church was without a minister and joined the Laigh Kirk worshippers, resulting in the church being fuller than usual. People had already hinted that the church was structurally unsafe so when a piece of plaster fell from the ceiling a stampede occurred and around 30 people died and many were injured. No further sermons were conducted there, and although the structure did not collapse, it was eventually pulled down. The new church provided 7 exits so people could leave safely in an emergency. Only the tower remained from the earlier Kirk. Although dated 1410, it is circa 17th century in origin, but now missing its parapet, balustrade and harling. The kirkyard (listed separately) contains many Covenanters' graves. The Laigh Kirk and one of its ministers are mentioned in Robert Burns' poem "The Ordination." In later years, Andrew and Newlands carried out extensive renovations, which resulted in the church looking like a "unified whole". The weather vane was restored and repaired after a bad storm in 1968 by the corporation Direct Labour department. The Kirk is still set within its own kirkyard (listed separately).

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