North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Netherhall, Largs residence of Lord Kelvin

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Toc H Services Club, Largs

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Three Sisters with Cock-ma-Lane and Castle Hill

Largs

Skelmorlie Aisle

This Aisle was built onto the side of the old medieval parish church of Largs in 1636 by Sir Robert Montgomerie of Skelmorlie, indeed it was sometimes referred to as the Montgomerie Aisle. It houses an elaborate tomb for Sir Robert and his wife Dame Margaret Douglas. It also has a barrel vaulted ceiling painted with local scenes and zodiac signs by J Stalker of Edinburgh.

In 1900, the Aisle's owner George Montgomerie, 15th Earl of Eglinton, had it repaired. It was made weatherproof and the ceiling restored by Bennett Brothers of Glasgow. At that time access was by appointment with the clerk of the church heritors. As the clerk was a busy lawyer he would hand over the keys and leave the visitors to inspect the aisle themselves. Some had little respect for the monument and empty bottles and glasses were found in the building.

The Earl's Factor, Hon Mr Vernon gave the keys to the Provost Paton who personally accompanied all the visitors. Then John Lindsay was employed as curator by the Earl to give access to the public free of charge during the summer months. John was 78 years old at the time but did his job well and kept the churchyard tidy for eight years.

In 1931, Archibald Montgomerie, 16th Earl of Eglinton, transferred ownership of the Aisle to the Ancient Graves and Monuments Commission. The Town Council already had jurisdiction over the graveyard and granted the Commission three feet around the Aisle and right of access from Manse Court. The Commission also provided a caretaker to allow access to the Aisle but with Ex-Provost Paton still helping.

Skelmorlie Aisle

In 1938, the post of caretaker was transferred to the Council's control and part financed by a grant of £10 from the Office of Works and from admission charges.

In 1975, the Ancient Monuments Division of the Department of Environment took over the caretaker duties of the Aisle when Largs Burgh was abolished. Mr John Sharkey, the caretaker, retired and Mr Ian Boyd took charge. The following year they also doubled the admission price from 5p to 10p.

In 1994, Historic Scotland were having staffing problems at the Aisle and it remained closed for most of the summer. However they approached the Largs Historical Society to be key-holders for the Aisle and it was reopened in 1995.

For a small annual grant, the Society now provide free access to the Aisle when their nearby museum is open but the Aisle is still owned and maintained by Historic Environment Scotland.

Brisbane Mausoleum

Also in the churchyard is the Brisbane Mausoleum which some visitors think is the Aisle. It contains the remains of Sir Thomas Brisbane and his family. It consists of sandstone and marble slabs and was made by the Kelso family in 1634. The mausoleum was then acquired by James Brisbane in 1671 when he bought the Kelsoland estate.

In 1862, Dame Anna Maria, wife of Sir Thomas, was the last internment in it. But when the churchyard was closed to burials on 10 January 1867, the mausoleum was exempt and could still be used today.

In 1990, Sir Hector Munro, who was a direct descendant of Sir Thomas, had the mausoleum inspected for repairs. When opened it was found to contain seven lead coffins. The mausoleum was repaired a few years later.

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