The Burial Grounds (Scotland) Act of 1855 empowered Parochial Boards to buy land for municipal cemeteries where parish churchyards were becoming health hazards. They could also apply to have the old burial grounds closed to new interments.
In 1860, the Largs Parochial Board voted to set up a new burial ground and bought a four acre field at Haylie from James Boyle, 5th Earl of Glasgow. The land was enclosed with a wall, the ground drained, roads laid out and a house erected for the superintendent. All at a cost of just under £1600.
The Board employed Mr Clark of the Royal Botanic Gardens to design the grounds and plantings and Mr Hayman of Glasgow to be the architect of the house, gate and railings. The cemetery opened on 1 September 1860 and the hope was that it would be "an additional attraction to this favourite watering-place".
However, there was division amongst the Board members about the suitability of the land for burials and after legal battles the old churchyard wasn't closed for interments until 10th January 1867.
An extension for 575 lairs was added to the cemetery in 1952 and opened on 23rd October. Strangely, there was a ceremony of consecration and dedication at the official opening with all ministers from Largs, Fairlie and Skelmorlie present.
In 1893, David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow, built a private burying-ground on Kelburn land at the road along the south-east wall of the cemetery. Later in June 1904, the burying-ground was consecrated by the Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway.
Previously the Boyles had been buried at Largs Parish Church, the last being John Boyle, 3rd Earl of Glasgow who died in 1775. Then George Boyle, 4th Earl of Glasgow was interned in the Ross Vault of Renfrew Parish Church in 1843. This tradition continued until George Frederick Boyle, 6th Earl of Glasgow was buried in 1890 at the college he had built in Millport.
The burying-ground contains the graves of the next three Earls, David - 7th Earl (died 1915), Patrick James - 8th Earl (died 1963) and David William Maurice 9th Earl (died 1984). It also contains memorials to other members of the Boyle family including some who died on active duty.
Other Notable Interments at Largs Cemetery
William Hunter - Surgeon Major of the Coldstream Guards and veteran of Waterloo. William Hunter died at Woodbank, Largs, 1871.
Major Alexander Haldane Eckford - served with the East India Company and fought in the Indian Mutiny Campaign. Became a Largs councillor in 1876 when the burgh formed and became the town's second provost. A H Eckford died in 1914.
Robert Munro - a medical doctor who was also a leading archaeologist in Scotland. Munro was also responsible for the carvings on the Battle of Largs Monument. Dr Munro died at Elmwood, Largs, in 1920.
Dallas Family - three members of the same family who perished in the Skelmorlie Reservoir Flood. Two brothers Alexander and Frederick Dallas aged seven and five and their cousin Winifred Menhennet aged eight were three of the five victims of the flood caused by the bursting of the Skelmorlie Reservoir on 18th April 1925.
Sir William Burrell - millionaire who left his art collection to the City of Glasgow. Other Burrell family members are also buried here, Largs being a favourite holiday home for them. William Burrell bought his lair in 1930 and had a vault built in it. He died at Haddon Castle, Berwick and was buried on 1 April 1958.
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