History

Agriculture featured heavily in the early history of Mearns like many small communities throughout Scotland. Early hamlets were built around around the castles of Auldton and Newton. The Kirkilgat (way to the hill with the Kirk) follows the same route as what is now known as Mearns Road from Clarkson to the Kirk of Mearns. The road was a trade route and bridle path followed by a road for wheeled traffic.

The road passed through Mearns, Kilmarnock, and Ayrshire. Mearns had humble beginnings with just a school and an inn (‘The Red Lion’). Some of the buildings from the hamlet were actually situated on the church car park and the schoolhouse was built on what is now known as the Manse.

In 1832 a new road was made called Kilmarnock, money was collected at Nellie’s Toll (now Eastwood Toll). the road is now known as the A77. The road reduced Means role which has largely disappeared except for the church and the Manse.

The Kirk has always been prominent in Mearns but was challenged greatly by the Reformation, the Covenants and the Secession of 16th and 17th centuries. Lives were lost and beliefs were fought for, often desperately in this period.

Mearn’s early history can be traced from 1190. Priest, Helia de Perthic, gave away a new Anglo-Norman Church to Paisley Abbey. A Celtic Church from approximately 800 A.D was situated below the church. In 1813, the most prominent rectangular section of the current church was replaced.

Construction work on the church took place in 1932 and 2000 to ensure the survival of the building and to make sure that the design and purpose do not diminish. In 1932, A pipe organ from Glasgow’s City Hall was introduced to Mearns. Many parts of the instrument were used in the newly built organ which was renovated in 1982.