Kirkbean Parish Heritage Society - Kirkbean Church and Graveyard

Kirkbean's distinctive church dates from 1776

Kirkbean Parish has many connections with the United States, so it is perhaps fitting that the distinctive former Parish Church was built in 1776 - the year of American Independence.

However, the upper tower was not added until 1835. Towards the end of the 19th century, the sanctuary was refurbished with Victorian church furnishings.

Kirkbean Church was the oldest church in the combined parish of Colvend, Southwick and Kirkbean until it closed for public services in November 2010. It is now a private dwelling.

The graveyard contains the grave of John Paul Jones' father who had been a gardener at nearby Arbigland House. The graveyard, which remains accessible to the public, is a rich source of family history.

Although the current building dates from 1776, earliest indications of a Christian presence in Kirkbean come from the 12th century when the parish was under the patronage of the Benedictine Nuns at Lincluden. They maintained a vicarage at Kirkbean until the end of the 14th century.

In 1547, the church lands, glebe and manse were rented out to a Herbert Maxwell for 100 Scots pounds per year. This was an example of the misuse of a church parish that led to religious unrest in Scotland and the 1560 establishment of the reformed Church of Scotland.

The 'reider' at Kirkbean in 1571 was John Clark. Reiders were often former Catholic priests who read services on a Sunday, but were not allowed to baptise or celebrate communion.

The Presbytery of Dumfries was established in 1581 and it was then that the parish of Kirkbean joined the Church of Scotland.

The nearest church today is at Southwick and normal Sunday services commence at 10am.