The Terrible Parish : St Beans Church Kinkell and about that airt .

Oh what a Parish , what a terrible parish
Oh what a Parish is that of Kinkell 
They has hangit the minister , drooned  the precentor
Dunged doon the steeple and drunken the bell 

Virtually forgotten , St Beans, the old Kirk of Kinkell is a peaceful haven in a spectacular  setting overlooking the Earn . If stones could talk !

The Medieval Church of  St Beans and the churchyard 

Followers of my Blogs  might recall that I covered  the last execution on the " Kind Gallows " of  Crieff  and that the poor person was none other than the Minister of Kinkell, one |Richard Duncan . Th poor  guy had  been accused and found guilty of the murder of a child . The body had been discovered hidden under the hearth stone . The child was that of  Duncan's maid - servant and  he was  condemned  to hang  at the Crieff Stayt  by the Fourth Earl of  Perth and Steward of Strathearn . 

A reprieve  had  been obtained but  by the time the messenger bearing the brfief  had  arrived in Crieff it was twenty minutes  too late . Duncan was the last person to be hung in Crieff . The year was 1682 .Spells out more misfortune  for the parishioners of Kinkell . 

The rhyme at the heading of this Blog tells of the drowning of the precentor . The precentor  was the person  who led the  chanting and singing in the days  prior  to the arrival of the church organ . Apparently the Kinkell precentor  was trying to  ford the Earn and  drowned in the process . The  existing bridge dates back to 1793 (below ). Prior  to the construction of the bridge ,  there was ferry crossing and it  formed  part of the main road south : 

The drinking  of the bell alludes to the sale of the Kinkell church bell to the parishioners of Cockpen .The bell itself  was of Flemish origin and  regarded as somewhat unique . 

Changes  to the Parish of Kinkell 

Kinkell was originally a parish in its own right. With the process of time it was united Wester Gask .A third place of worship stood at Chapelhill hence the change of name to trinity Gask - the name indicating the union of Wester Gask , Kinkell and Chapelhill. What happened  to the Church of St Beans ? 

Till the last quarter of the seventeenth century , public worship was celebrated in the summer at St Beans with the minister of Trinity Gask officiating every fourth Sunday . The Rev Duncan ( the one who was hung at Crieff ) approached the Synod of Dunblane  and made protestations  regarding the poor  condition of the church's fabric . The Bishop and the  Synod intervened and authorised Duncan to sue the heritors to repair the dilapidated building and make it a convenient place of worship . These measures unfortunately had only a temporary effect and public  worship was at last discontinued and the church to become a ruin . The burying  ground  continued in use into the 20th century .

A weaver's  memorial showing a shuttle and other trade marks 

How to Get To The Old Church

Coming from Crieff , cross over the bridge and proceed on the Auchterarder road . You climb a hill and on the left hand side  their is a modern house . You turn off to the house and their is a public  parking space  where  yo can leave your car .A well defined  path leads  to the church ( large hedge on your left ) as shown below :

The Antiburgher Church

As you will have noted from the above , the congregation of St Beans was Epicopalian ( Anglican )  and not Presbyterian . With the arrival of the Protestant William of Orange and the deposition of the Catholic James , Presbyterianism took over in the Parish Church and  anything remotely flavouring the old religions was shunned . This was known as the " Glorious Revolution  " and occurred in 1688 .Interestingly  enough , Strathearn had a  strong Episcopal bent and the ministers in nearby Crieff continued  using  many of the forms  of worship that the Kirk  had banned or frowned upon such as the singing of the doxology in worship . Dissent was rife and eventually the Kirk split in the  early 18th century over  what was termed  the Burgher's Oath . This basically was that anyone in Public Office stating that  they agreed  to follow  the Established Kirk in their carrying out of  public duties .
The "Antiburghers "" opposed this and broke way followed . In Kinkell an Antiburgher  Church was built in Kinkell about 1790. Eventually , the Antiburghers   re-joined the Kirk and the Church became Church of Scotland and  eventually  closing down about 1980 . It  was  converted into a house  some ten years  later .

The Old Antiburgher Church Kinkell

Old  Toll House 

Located to the north of the bridge  the Old Toll House dates  back to the late 18th century when many  of the local roads were subject to tolls . It suffered damage  some years  ago when a heavy vehicle crashed into it  but has  been  fully restored and is attractive private house .


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