In St Ninian’s Churchyard, Stirling, among the many vandalised and toppled tombstones, you will come across a soot-black, monolithic, coffin tomb. It is the sort of tomb that Dracula might have chosen:
This is the last resting place of Alexander Munnoch who died, aged 44 years, on the 4th November 1879. He was a ‘Landed Proprietor’ and owned the Estate of Cringate in the Touch Hills.
Alexander Munnoch lived in South Lodge, Stirling, a mansion house that was demolished sometime after WWII. It was next door to Randolphfield (now the Police Headquarters):
Alexander Munnoch was known in Stirling as “The Kilty” because he clung to “the garb of the old Gaul”. He seems to have preferred his own company and shared his mother’s love of animals. He never married.
Alexander Munnoch was a philanthropist and gave away most of his family wealth. These are some of the legacies left at the time of death in 1879:
With the donation provided by Alexander Munnoch, Troon built a new lifeboat, which was launched in 1886, seven years after Alexander Munnoch’s death. The lifeboat was named after him:
Just two months before Alexander Munnoch died he was appointed as Convener of the St Ninian’s Parish Church Committee. This was not a decision generally welcomed by the congregation; indeed when he arrived for the Congregational Meeting on the 25th September 1879 he was met with “howling and hisses which continued for some time after he sat down, and resumed with great vigour when he rose and took a seat in another part of the church.” The following report of this meeting reveals the torrid atmosphere and exchanges that took place in St Ninian’s church, which was packed like never before:
The following week, the new Committee of St Ninian’s Parish Church – with Alexander Munnoch as Convener – elected Reverend Donald C. Bryce as the New Minister. So many parishoners had attended to observe this meeting that the Church was not able to accommodate them all, and so they had to congregate at the Church gate. However, many still tried to enter the church such that two police constables were required to be “gate keepers”. When Alexander Munnoch arrived he was met with “hooting and hissing” and shouts of “Put him out”. Following the meeting a large crowd, “more demonstrative than ever”, and described as a “rabble”, followed [‘escorted’] Alexander Munnoch all the way home:
After this extraordinary farewell from his gate, Alexander Munnoch entered South Lodge, his home. He died the following month.