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Castle Semple Collegiate Church & cemetery
Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire

Church ruins

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The following inscriptions were recorded in the Spring of 2008. The following key should be read in conjunction with transcriptions:

# = unable to read letter or number
(?) = unclear but best interpretation
###….### = words or lines unreadable
Inscriptions are listed as spelled on headstones. If a place name is spelled differently from today’s spelling, the modern name will appear in [brackets] to assist in searches. The numbers by each listing are used for our text-photo cross-reference purposes only and do not indicate a plot number or location.


Significant stretches of land were granted to Robert and Thomas Sempill, after their support of Robert Bruce in his 14th Century campaigns. This included the area around Loch Winnoch. In 1505 Castle Semple was built at the east end of Loch Winnoch, now known as castle Semple Loch. Also founded was the collegiate church near the loch shore. Like other collegiate churches founded at around the same time in Scotland, it was built to house a college of clergy, whose main role in life was to pray for the souls of the Lord and his family. The builder, John Semple, died at the battle of Flodden, and is entombed at the eastern end of the church. The church ceased to be used soon after the Reformation of 1560, though it remained a burial enclosure until the 1800s.


0101 Heir lyes Gabriel Sempel brother to Robert Semple of Craigbait(?) [then Latin inscription?] an. 1587.

0102 Sacred to the memory of Sir Charles Farquhar Shand Kt-LLD born 12th June 1812 died 18th December 1889. "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord they rest from their labours".

0103 James Octavius Lee Harvey of Castle Semple born 6th January 1821 died 6th February 1872.

0104 Anne Lee died 15 April 1874 aged 99.

0105 Sacred to the memory of The Lady Elizabeth wife of Henry Lee Harvey of Castle Semple and daughter of Henry David 12th Earl of Buchan born 1831 died 13 January 1888. "Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. Matt.v.4"

0106 To the beloved memory of Henry Lee Harvey of Castle Semple who died 24 May 1883 aged 59 years. Jesus mercy. Erected by his desolate wife in the love and sorrow of a broken heart.

0107 Alice Elizabeth the only child of Henry & Elizabeth Lee Harvey born 5 June 1862 died 7 June 1871. "Jesus tender shepherd her me bless thy little lamb to night, through the darkness be thou near me watch my sleep till morning light."

0108 [John Semple’s 1513 tomb]


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