North Ayrshire Heritage Trails
North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Irvine Cross

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Cunninghame House from the Low Green.

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Low Green, Irvine, birthplace of George Henry.

Irvine - Explore a medieval New Town

Irvine Parish Graveyard, Burial Ground

1.Covenanters Memorial, James Blackwood and John McCoul
These two Irvine men took part in the Pentland Rising and were captured at the Battle of Rullion Green. They were taken back to Irvine and hanged on 31 December 1666. The Irvine hangman refused to do the job and was replaced by a prisoner from Ayr who had been promised freedom.

2. MacMillan Memorial, Duncan MacMillan
Duncan was the great grandfather of British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan, son of Maurice MacMillan listed on the stone. Duncan was an Arran crofter who moved to Irvine and worked mainly as a carter hauling coal from the nearby mines to the harbour.

3. Ferguson Memorial, John Ferguson
Money - you can't take it with you, as they say. But John Ferguson shouts out from his grave to boast of his wealth as his headstone lists his charity donations. Ferguson inherited a vast fortune from various relatives and when he died was worth £1,247,514. He left £651,000 to personal bequests and the remainder to charity. The largest amount set up the Ferguson Bequest Fund which still operates today giving out money for religious education.

4. Foulis Memorial, Major General Sir David Foulis
He was the seventh son of John Foulis of Roseholm, a property south of Irvine next to the river. Sir David spent most of his life as a soldier with the East India Company with a few years in Britain. On one of his trips back to India he went overland through Europe to Turkey then Persia and across the Persian Gulf to Bombay. Another of his travels took him from India to China then Brazil and North America to Europe. He was made Major General in 1837 and the Knight Commander of the Bath in 1838.

5. Mitchell Memorial, Annie Mitchell
An odd inscription warning little girls of the dangers of playing with wire. Annie died of inflammation of the brain two days after stumbling on the road home while carrying a piece of stocking wire which penetrated her nostrils.

6. Sillar Memorial, David Sillar
Robert Burns' friend, Dainty Davie as he was known, was a grocer in Irvine and then opened a navigation school. After he came into an inheritance he went up in the world and became a town councillor.

7. Cumming Memorial, Thomas Cumming
This is the oldest dated stone in the churchyard at 1509. There may be older stones in the churchyard but they will be hidden below the surface.

8. Allan Memorial, Mary Allan
Mary was the sister of John Allan who had brought Edgar Allan Poe to Irvine in 1815. It was with Mary at Bridgegate House that Edgar lived while in Irvine.

9. Hamilton Memorial, Captain John Peebles
Captain Peebles was the commanding officer of the Grenadier Company of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment when it was active in the American War of Independence. Remarkably he kept a journal (now archived at the National Records of Scotland) of his time there and records the battles as well as time spent celebrating both St Andrews and St Patricks Days. John was of the Peebles of Broomlands family and was respected in Irvine. He was made a burgess of the town in 1767 (he would also be made burgess of Glasgow and Ayr) and on leaving the regular army took command of the Irvine Volunteers as a Major.

10. Fullarton Memorial
A great stone full of inscriptions about the Fullarton family. When not dabbling in politics they seemed to be happiest when soldiering in far off lands of the empire.

11. Jack Memorial, William Jack
William was editor of the Glasgow Herald from 1870 to 1876. He then worked for his fellow Irvinite Daniel MacMillan at his publishing company in London before becoming Professor of Mathematics at the University of Glasgow from 1879 to 1909.

12. Steedman Memorial, James Steadman (inscribed Steedman)
Steadman was one of many people who claimed to have invented the screw propeller for ships. Steadman took his claim further than most by having an image of his propeller carved onto his headstone.

13. Smith Memorial, Margaret and Agnes Smith
Twin sisters who travelled to St Catherine's Monastery in Sinai in 1892 and discovered the earliest known Syriac copies of the Gospels.

14. Fletcher Memorial, John Fletcher
Fletcher was a young surgeon in Irvine who was implicated in a bodysnatching scandal. In 1826 twelve empty graves were discovered in the churchyard and suspicion fell on Fletcher and three others. Nothing could be proved but Fletcher was finished socially in the town and moved to live in Ayr with his in-laws.

15. Reid Memorial, Robert Reid
This stone tells the tale of Robert's exploits as a sheep farmer in Illinois and gold miner in California. Indeed, Irvine's very own '49er!

16. Henderson Memorial, Andrew Graham Henderson
Henderson was an architect who worked with Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow and indeed designed some of the Ingram Street tearooms interiors. He later became known for his work on schools, banks and stores in Glasgow. When the Queen Mother obtained Birkhall in Deeside it was Henderson who remodelled it for modern living. He became head of his profession when he was elected president of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1950.

17. Mitchell Memorial (in the extension), Hon George Mitchell
George Mitchell was a banker who emigrated to Southern Rhodesia. Upon his retirement he entered politics and eventually became Prime Minster of Southern Rhodesia in 1933. He was well liked in Irvine and every three years he came home and spent six months in the town.

Back to the Irvine Trail