The site has been sacred since Celtic times and the name Auchinleck is Celtic for ‘field of stones’. It has been a parish since the medieval period with graves dating back to 1643. The Old Church was enlarged to its present size in 1641-3 and remained in use until replaced in the early 1840s by the present Victorian church.
The square Boswell Mausoleum, which adjoins the old church, did not start life as a tomb. It was originally constructed, or, most likely, remodelled from an earlier extension in the mid-1750s by Lord Auchinleck as a two-storeyed Laird’s Loft with a gallery over-looking the congregation, facing the pulpit. On the ground floor was a cosy ‘chamber’ as James Boswell referred to it with its own fireplace, table and chairs. Here the family could retire – or listen by the window to the barn-storming preachers, who attracted congregations too vast for the kirk itself, declaiming from a tented pulpit in the graveyard.