Monday, September 29, 2008

The Auld Kirk

Another stop on our Doors Open tour on Saturday was The Auld Kirk, just outside Almonte. We've noticed it for three years now and always been curious, but it's never been open, so it was definitely on our must-see list.

The Auld Kirk Historical Plaque

As you can see, both the church and the setting are picturesque and attractive, and I suppose the name is somewhat enticing too. Since, according to the plaque above, the church has been pretty well unused since 1864, someone or many someones deserve an awful lot of credit for maintaining the place so well.

The Auld Kirk

We were surprised at how tiny and plain the sanctuary was, but considering its Presbyterian (Church of Scotland) roots, I guess we shouldn't have been. The building is unheated in winter, so it's very hard to keep paint on the walls. That's Cuppa sitting in the pew trying to get a feel for the place and probably being exceedingly glad that she can visit it briefly in this day and age rather than have to attend dour services a century and a half ago. I tend to experience a bleak sadness just thinking about it.

The Auld Kirk Inside

The adjoining cemetery is quite large and has, obviously, served the area more effectively than the church itself. This photo certainly doesn't capture all of it, but I think you can see the markers receding into the distance.

The Auld Kirk Cemetery

  • The Auld Kirk is an example of Gothic Revival architecture.
  • The church originally served an area called Leckies Corners, which is long gone and began its decline after woolen mills came to nearby Almonte circa 1860.
  • The land for the church and cemetery were purchased for the grand sum of 3 pounds, 2 shillings and sixpence in 1833.
  • After the church was closed in the early1860's, it fell into disrepair but was partially restored after World War I by community members who wished to honour their pioneer ancestors.
  • The building material is something called rubblestone and was brought from a farm several concessions over.
  • These days, there is generally one service per year to honour the memory of those buried in the cemetery.


PBS said...

That's an interesting church, no wonder you wanted to visit it. I especially would want to tour that cemetery!

Amanda said...

What a shame that the church has been greatly unused over all those years since it was built ~ i'm glad it's been restored though.
I'm Scottish and there is a church in our town called The Auld Kirk! And the next town, and the next...!
Thanks for sharing the pictures and info.

megz_mum said...

What a beautiful place! I can not imagine how cold it would be in there in winter - hopefully it would have been a very quick sermon!

womaninawindow said...

That church speaks volumes! It's quite sad that such a beautiful spot sits there vacant. All that work to keep it up, there should be some singing from the gut on a Sunday morn, don't you think?

mreddie said...

The church looks to be very solidly built. The cemetary would be interesting to walk through. ec

KGMom said...

The Auld Kirk reminds me very much of an old church in this area, also Presbyterian, that was the home to a Welsh group that settled in Pennsylvania. The church had been closed, but deeded over to the presbytery. When I became chair of the administration committee of our presbytery, I made it my goal to divest the presbytery of ownership, and turn the church over to some group that would care for it. Fortunately, there was an "institute" made up of descendants who had an historical society. They now own the church, and also have a once a year service--to sing those lovely Welsh hymns.

Pearl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pearl said...

agree with mreddie. how strikingly solid it looks. simple but with such a feeling of refuge about it.

dabrah said...

Old churches are amazing places, and when I'm inside one I can't help thinking about all the history that has passed under those roofs.

Ginnie said...

Austere but very serene. It would seem to mimic the people who built it.....lovely.

ExpatKat said...

What a beautiful church - and so wonderfully kept!