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Kilbirnie Heritage
Material from the collection of artist Elizabeth Joy Steele
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Auld Kirk technical description

Complicated building history from 1470 to 20th century. 1470 rectangular nave forms core of church, built in coursed rubble with ashlar dressings; 2-stage tower, with set-off, added at west in 1490. Nave and tower both with later saw-tooth skews; birdcage bellcote at apex of tower gable, possibly mid 18th century, has similarly detailed pyramidal roof. All other extensions have crowstepped gables. 1597 south-east aisle built for Sir John Cunninghame of Glengarnock castle; later, heavily moulded mullioned and transomed window with crest in panel above. 1642 Crawford aisle added at the north east, has paired lancet window to gallery. To the east of the Crawford aisle a transept and entrance were added in 1903-5, Charles S.S. Johnson of Edinburgh, architect.

Low door at left. Shallow advanced gable to east, tripartite with raised central light to gallery, the latter with mouldings imitating the Cunninghame aisle window. At east, small drum stairtower with projecting entrance and a window breaking through the moulded eaves.

1910 organ chamber, Charles S.S. Johnson architect, added to north west of Cunninghame aisle, continuing the details of that aisle. Slate roofs throughout.

Interior: Crawford gallery circa 1705 for 1st Viscount Garnock. Laird's loft with elaborate Renaissance detailing; gallery supported on Roman Doric columns. Bowed gallery front with paired Corinthian engaged columns dividing blind arcade; elaborate coats of arms depicting the family lineage under each arch; Corinthian columned screen divides gallery, bold box cornice with highly decorative modillion cornice. Canopy supported on giant Corinthian columns. Pulpit mainly 18th century, incorporating earlier details, panelled pine; with reading desk supported on brackets, with carved faces; baptismal basin with wrought-iron bracket; panelled rear screen with 2 Ionic pilasters supporting entablature surmounted by Crawford and Lindsay arms in foliated design.

Above, large oak, pedimented sounding board, probably 17th century, with carved angel, cherubs, foliage, thistle and rose. Ladyland pew, part oak part pine, with delicate balustrade incorporates late 17th and early 18th century carving; bracketted hood with ealborate scrolls and pediment with acroterion. 1903-5 balcony, linking Crawford gallery to south wall and inserted when seating was re-organised, is fronted with trades and crafts panels in style similar to gallery.

Rubble-built Cemetery walls enclose some early tombstones and the rectangular Crawford tomb of 1594 which houses recumbant effigies of Thomas Crawford of Jordanhill and his wife Janet Ker of Kersland.