An article from

'The Topographical, Statistical, and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland'

Published by A.Fullarton and Co. - 1848


ALLOWAY, an ancient parish in the district of Kyle, in Ayrshire, which was united, towards the end of the 17th century, with the parish of Ayr, from which it is divided by Glengaw burn. ' Alloway's auld haunted kirk,'a little roofless ruin, long known only as marking the obscure resting-place of the rustic dead, is now an object of veneration, and many an enthusiastic pilgrimage, on account of its having been chosen by Burns as the scene of the grotesque demon revelry, at once ludicrous and horrible, described with such graphic and tremendous power in his tale of Tam o' Shanter; for it would seem that imagination is not restricted in her flight here by the actual and real. It is situated on the east bank of the Doon, a little below the point where the road from Ayr to Maybole is carried across that river by the new bridge, and a quarter of a mile from the cottage on Doon side in which the peasant-bard was born on the 25th of January, 1759. The poet's father was interred here at his own request; and the bard himself expressed a wish to be laid in the same grave, which would have been complied with had not the citizens of Dumfries claimed the honour of the guardianship of his ashes. It is now such is the interest which the genius of the bard has thrown over the spot a crowded and fashionable place of sepulture. Betwixt the kirk and the 'Auld brig o' Doune,' by which a road now disused is carried over 'Doom's classic stream,' about 100 yards south-east of the kirk, and on the summit of the eastern bank, which here rises boldly from the river, stands a splendid monument to the poet, designed by Hamilton of Edinburgh, and consisting of a triangular base, supporting nine Corinthian columns, which are surrounded by a cupola terminating in a gilt tripod. It is upwards of 60 feet in height; and cost above 2,000. The whole is enclosed, and ornamented with shrubbery ; and the clever figures of Tam o' Shanter and Souter Johnny, executed by the ingenious self-taught sculptor, Tom, are placed in a small building within the enclosure - Alloway kirk is 36 miles distant from Glasgow ; 5 from Maybole ; and 2 from Ayr. Mr. Cathcart of Blairston, one of the lords of session, on his promotion to the bench, took the title of Lord Alloway from this place. He died in 1829, and was interred within the ruins of the kirk. See article, The DOON.




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