KMR077 – LAVDOVICKE GARNER
This is the oldest readable stone in the grave yard. The horizontal grave slab is dated 1622 and is in remarkably good condition apart from the covering of moss. It is inscribed Here lyes Lavdovicke Garner who departed this life November Anno Dom 1622, with a shield in the centre LG and KG.
All the horizontal slabs at Kilmaronock appear to be on the ground, there are no table stones. In the 17th and 18th century Garner was a common surname in Kilmaronock. Either spelling, Garner and Gardner, seems to have been used which complicated family history research.
Today the graveyard is owned by West Dunbartonshire Council and it is still is use for burials. The churchyard was originally the area round the church with a slightly larger area to the west and south of the building. This area was used for burials in the 17th and 18th centuries.
An old Record of Burials at Kilmaronock in this period suggests that many of the graves were unmarked and more were marked with plain slabs. Only a few have inscriptions, maybe just letters and with the passing of the centuries have become unreadable. The lairs or graffs were used many times over. The churchyard wall was first built in 1695 and is also included in the listing of the site along with the gate piers. The wall has rather fine saddleback coping stones in the oldest part. The wall would originally have been built to keep straying farm animals out.
In October 1730, the session minutes note the following statement in somewhat grudging terms “The heritors of the parish have lately met and pass’d an Act among themselves that all, not being heritors within this parish, who are concerne’d in the graffs, or incline to have lairs secur’d to them in this church yeard should pay in to the kirk session a shilling for each graff or lair possest or claim’d by them, to be employed by direction of the heritors for repairing the church yeard dike.” (The heritors were the land owners who were responsible for the upkeep of the church and graveyard). The session was directed to keep the account, and non-payers offered the simple if not particularly ceremonious alternative of losing their privilege of burial, having their lairs with the contents disposed of to others, “and their Graffston’s if they have any thrown out of the Church yeard.”