The place name already suggests graves, Glencairn, the valley of the stones, cairns having been used in the past as markers and for burials. There are various cairns in the area.
The Earl of Glencairn was a fervent supporter of the Reformation. The old family seat was known as Maxwell House.
In 1591 the King gave the church and its revenue to Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig. The patronage moved to the Duke of Buccleuch in the early 19th century. The old parish church was operational for a few more years, than the new church was built.
ruin of the old Parish church of Glencairn
The Gillespie of Peelton mausoleum was erected at about that time. It is a stylish, classical structure.
Most of the gravestones in the churchyard face east.
The oldest gravestone is interesting since it displays a spelling mistake where the stone mason did not write the year of death correctly. It should have been 1663 but it isnt.
The deceased had lived a hundred years. Why the stonemason’s mistake was not corrected is not known. It was either a financial question or the error went unnoticed.
sources and further reading:
John Montaith (Rev): The Parish of Glencairn. New York Public Library, 1876
Glencairn Parish Church and Graveyard , Canmore.org.uk