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The Kirk Between Two Bridges Traditional Cache

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biffo69: Sorry people

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Hidden : 09/26/2009
Difficulty:
1 out of 5
Terrain:
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

Such an ancient and interesting place (well if like me you are strangely into traipsing round graveyards, I'm also a keen geneologist).

Near the cache is a nice place to sit and watch the swans. The cache is a magnetic nano for all the nano fans out there. Please take care to attach the cache back on to the magnetic disc.

Have fun!

For those who love the history The Auld Kirk has oodles of it!

Check out the mort safes in the original gateway, originally used to secure graves so that the fresh bodies couldn't be sold to places of medical interest, gruesome days indeed.

Rather hidden from the casual visitor to the town, the Auld Kirk is a must see building for anyone remotely interested in history.

The building itself dates from 1654 but there had been a church in Ayr since medieval times, indeed, the remnants of what was once a mighty church, dedicated to St John The Baptist are to be found in the town.

Cromwell took over this area and built a fort, demolishing all of the church but retaining the tower. He gave 1000 merks sterling to the town for the purposes of building a new kirk, and this was to be built in an area long associated with religious works. Here the Black Friars had set themselves up in the 1250's, later in the 1480's the Grey Friars settled here and they lasted until the Reformation in 1560 when they fled the town. Sadly their buildings (reputedly with a fine stained window) were sacked and then looted by locals.

The Kirk has long been central to Ayr's history since its building and the many fine gravestones and memorial which surround and adorn it give you a real sense of the historic nature of this ancient burgh.

Facing the river a magnificent memorial is set into the wall of the kirk, dedicated to its first minister, Revd William Adair. A popular preacher in any case, he is best remembered for saving the town from a plague ship which wandered into Ayr Bay.

The minister spent the entire night on his knees praying to God to change the direction of the wind and take the pestilence away from the town and its people. God answered his prayers as dawn broke and the ship and its fearsome cargo of death sailed away.

Other notable characters associated with the Kirk include the famous bard Robert Burns. His father William served as an Elder and also held the post of Presbytery Elder in the Church of Ayr and it is without doubt that the young Burns would have sat on the family pews, absorbing his first learnings of religion here.

The Covenanters

Few days in Scotland could be described as bleaker than those termed "The Killing Times", a period of 50 years in the 1600's when many people died after signing a Covenant which whilst giving due authority to the monarch for things earthly, they only saw Christ as their leader of the church. This flew in the face of thinking in England, where the monarch had divine rule over the Church. This had never been acceptable in Scotland, especially not since the Reformation and thousands stood firm, denying Charles I (and later Charles II after the reinstatement of monarchy) the authority he demanded of them. To this day, to illustrate the fundamental difference between the two Protestant churches of Scotland and England, the Queen is head of the English Church, delegating through bishops. In Scotland she is only a member of the Church of Scotland and has no powers over the National Assembly whatsoever.

Covenanting ministers were ejected from their churches and ministers who supported the king's wishes were put in place. It became an offence not to attend the king's church, and an even graver offence to attend open air churches (conventicles) held by covenanting ministers. Many suffered grievously for holding onto the Presbyterian faiths, not only willing to suffer death, but to fight for it.

This came to a head on November 13, 1666, at St. John's Dalry in Kirkcudbrightshire after an elderly man was beaten by soldiers as he was unable to pay a fine for not attending church. Local covenanters drew pistols on the soldiers, wounding one of them. With punishment a certainty for this act the crowd went through southwest Scotland, including Ayr, gathering an ever growing band of 'soldiers', finally amassing some 1200.

At Rullion Green, one mile from Penicuik, they were intercepted by General Thomas Dalziel of The Binns, Commander in Chief in Scotland and his forces and in the ensuing battle 52 covenanters lay dead and the others fled into the Pentland Hills. Many were rooted out and executed at various courts around Scotland, one of which was set up in Ayr.

Eight men were sentenced to death at the Ayr court: James Smith, Alexander MacMillan, James Mcmillan, John Short, George MacCartney, John Graham, John Muirhead and Cornelius Anderson. But the local hangmen refused to do the deed. The authorities were aghast! No-one was willing to put these men to their deaths, so they hit upon the idea of offering freedom to any of the condemned men who was willing to hang his compatriots. No doubt this was to send a message that Covenantors were not so pious and upright as they claimed to be. Sadly Cornelius Anderson accepted the bribe (sad to say he was a citizen of Ayr) and the wretch was given copious amounts of brandy to fortify him. So drunk and possibly raving, he hanged his fellow Covenantors on the 27th December 1666. The heads and hands of the hanged men were cut off and displayed publicly as a warning to all of rebellious nature and their bodies buried in the kirkyard where they still lie, marked by a stone erected by the Incorporated Trades of Ayr which reads on one side:

Here lie seven Martyrs for our Covenants,
A sacred number of triumphant Saints,
Pontius McAdam the unjust Sentence past,
What is his own the world will know at last,
And Herod Drummond caus’d their Heads affix,
Heav’n keeps a record of the sixty-six.
Boots, thumbkins, gibbets were in fashion then,
LORD, let us never see such Days again.

And on the other:

Here lies the corpse of James Smith, Alexander McMillan, James McMillan, John Short, George McKertny, John Graham and John Muirhead who suffered martyrdom at AIR 27th December 1666 for their adherance to the Word of GOD and Scotlands Covenanted work of Reformation.

This small tribute was done by the Incorporate Trades of AIR anno domoni 1814. For the Righteous shall be keept in everlasting rememberance.

And what became of the traitorous Cornelius Anderson? He moved to Ireland, a sad and demented individual. He eventually died in a house fire - rumour has it by his own hands.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

ba envyvatf

Decryption Key

A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M
-------------------------
N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z

(letter above equals below, and vice versa)