Irvine Burns Club - stones of interest in Irvine Old Parish Churchyard

Compiled with the assistance of Billy Kerr; photographs by Billy Kerr and Ian Dickson;
tour numbers at some stones are references to the Irvine walking tour, still to be completed.

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(1) Wife Helen Millar of founder John Mackenzie, M.D. (d.1837)– tour no. 39. He was the first President of Irvine Burns Club, the doctor who had tended Burns' father in his last illness. She was one of the Belles of Mauchline described by the poet.

(2) Founder David Sillar (1760-1830), Bailie – tour no. 33 - described by the Bard as "a brother poet". [66 in 1826] This 1962 replacement claims to be a 'facsimile of the original stone', but is in fact a facsimile of an earlier replacement.

(3) Founder William Gillies, Grain Dealer (1797-1841), from 1830 manager of the Ayrshre Banking Company, and for his last two years Provost of the Royal Burgh. [28 in June 1826]

(4) Founder John Peebles, Convener of Trades. He personally knew Robert Burns.

(5) Founder James Johnston, Town Clerk from 1818 till his death in 1853.

(6) Founder Robert Wyllie, Harbour Master, who "died suddenly in Edinburgh in 1845, aged 50" (erected by his acquaintances). [31 in 1826]

(7) A memorial erected by founder John Orr, Merchant, in memory of three daughters and two sons. He personally knew Robert Burns. [?about 30-35 in 1826]

(8) Founder James Allan, Merchant (grocer). The neighbouring stone (on its right) bears a dramatic carving, on the reverse, of the raising of the dead, complete with angel with trumpet.

(9) Founder Maxwell Dick, Bookseller - his memorial, since removed, was situated where the blank wall is today.

(10) Founder William Shields, Senior, Merchant - Relatives have recently visited and believe that the next stone, of another William Shields, Merchant, is the Burns Club founder member, so this photo will shortly be changed.

(11) Founder John Fletcher, Surgeon – tour no. 22. He personally knew Robert Burns. [28 in 1826] Later in 1826, he was implicated as a 'resurrectionist' or body-snatcher (see Strawhorn. 'History of Irvine', p.113), so took himself off to Ayr, where he died in 1830, aged 32.

(12) Founder Patrick Blair (1796-1872), writer (the Scottish term for a solicitor) and banker (agent for the Western Bank, and later for the Clydesdale Bank when it opened in Irvine in 1857). He had a minister's plaque removed to make way for his own memorial.

(13) Donors (to the Club) of "Wellwood" premises, the Paterson brothers

(14) Donor (to the Burgh) of the Robert Burns statue - John Spiers

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