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Kilbarchan I

Kylberchan—Kelberchan—Kilbarchan. [Regist. de Passelet.]

This parish is bounded on the north and south by the Gryfe and Black Cart. Nearly in the middle of the parish, on the east side of the glen in which the church stands, is a detached eminence called the Bar of Kilbarchan, [Inquis. Return.] or the Bar hill. The Lochir, a considerable stream, crosses the northern half of the parish.

This was among the churches of Strathgryfe bestowed upon Paisley by Walter Fitz-Alan the high steward. Bishop Jocelin, before the end of the 12th century, confirmed the church of Kylberchan by name to the monks for their own use and support. [Regist. de Passelet, p. 109.] The cure was served by a vicar, who had for his stipend in 1227 the altar dues and offerings. [Regist. de Passelet, p. 321.]

The ancient church was situated in the village or kirk town. It is only from the name we learn its dedication to Saint Barchan, bishop and confessor, but his feast seems formerly to have been celebrated in the village, and was probably the day of the annual fair. [Semple of Beltrees.]

There was an altar to the Virgin endowed in 1401 by Thomas Crawford of Auchinames, who also founded a chapel, dedicated to Saint Catharine, in the cemetery of the parish church, and gave for the support of a chaplain serving at both, the lands of Lynnernocht and two merk lands of Glentayne, (Lyndnocht and Glenlean, Craufurd,) with an annual rent of three merks from his lands of Calyachant, of Colbar, and the whole lands of Auchinamis; confirmed by Robert III. October 24, 1401. [Nisbet Herald. 11., App. 88.] There are still some remains of Saint Catharine’s chapel.

At Ranfurly, on a farm called Priestun, a little to the eastward of the castle, was a chapel dedicated to the Virgin, founded by the Knoxes. Its foundations were visible in 1791.

In the ancient village of Kenmuir, in the south-west corner of the parish, was a chapel dedicated to Saint Bride, which had lands bestowed upon it by the Sempils. In 1504, John Lord Sempil added them to the endowment of the collegiate church of Lochwinnoch. [Regist. Glasg., p. 511.] He bestowed, for the same purpose, the lands of Welland, Bryntschellis, and Peunall in this parish, and the produce of the office of parish clerk, worth about 10 merks yearly, of which office he was the patron, and which he gave to the organist of the collegiate church for the support of two boys to be instructed by him in music, deducting the expenses of a fit clerk for the parish. [Regist. Glasg., p. 511.] The village of Kenmuir has disappeared, but the burn is still known as Saint Bride’s burn, and a mill there bears the name of Saint Bride's mill. In the general assumption of the thirds of benefices in 1561, the rectory of Kilbarchan was given up among the churches of Paisley let for money, at £65, 13s. 4d. The vicarage was then let to William Wallace of Johnston for 40 merks. In Baiamund, the vicarage is valued at £40, and in the taxation of the 16th century, at £34.