St. Bride’s Church (also known as Kilbride Church or St. Bridget’s Church) served the eastern half of Arran until the late 18th century. This fascinating site has been designated as a scheduled monument by Historic Environment Scotland which acknowledges the building as not only important to the history of Arran, but one of national significance. In 2017 major conservation work was undertaken at the Church which saw many parts of the stonework repaired in order to protect it for future generations.
St. Bride’s Church itself dates back to at least 1357 making it a fascinating example not only of medieval ecclesiastical architecture but also of medieval and post-medieval burial practices.
Feel free to wander inside St. Bride’s Church and discover the carvings, inscriptions and standing stones that make the building so unique. Once you are done, don’t forget to explore the fascinating graveyard outside.
The building has a variety of interesting features hidden within the stonework both inside and out. Set into the north wall is a piscina (an alcove where holy water could be ceremonially poured away) and an aumbry (a place where the communion cup might be kept). There are memorials for Francis Townley (a land steward), Lady Frances Erskine (a sister of the Earl of Mar), Sophia Greville (the daughter of a warship commander), and there are two memorials for members of the Croll family (gamekeepers at Brodick Castle who were highly esteemed by Arran’s Hamilton landowners, great hunting enthusiasts).
When no longer employed as the parish church in the late 18th century the interior of the church was divided into two chambers, west and east, by the construction of an interior wall. The building remained in use in the 19th century as a mausoleum chapel surrounded by the Kilbride churchyard.