Carry on round the crescent and turn right and right again until you come to the B7024 and turn right there too. Kirk Alloway is drawing nigh! The road crosses the railway tunnel. The Auld Kirk is on your right and must be visited. The Kirk is thought to have been dedicated to St Mungo as Glasgow Cathedral owned land locally at Carcluie in 1116. (St Mungo is Glasgow’s patron saint – thus we have Mungo’s well about 100m west of the Kirk.
When Captain Grose arrived to sketch Alloway Kirk for his book on ‘Antiquities’ he must have been rather surprised for Alloway Kirk was not, in the strictest sense of the word, a ruined building. It had been built in the 16th century, (1516 above the door), and remained in use as a Kirk, (for worship), until 1691 and occasionally thereafter for some time, though not after 1740. From then on, at least until 1752, it was used as a school. By 1766 it was leaking and draughty and Mr. Campbell’s school, which Burns attended for a few months before his father and others engaged John Murdoch to teach their children, was held at Alloway Mill.
Grose did his sketch of the Kirk and published it, (with Tam o’Shanter), in his book of “Antiquities of Scotland”. He shows some roof timbers still in place. The Kirk however, may have been completely roofed by then, 1789, for in 1786 the Council granted £15 to put a new roof on it in order to convert it into a school or meeting place. If this was done then Grose must have exercised his imagination and drawn it as Burns remembered it, or worse, for effect. He also turned it back to front to show the Carrick Hills behind the wall which is seen from the Carrick Hills side.