As I mentioned in my last article, I found an old Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald dated 5th September 1975 behind the organ in the Barony St John church building. But after pulling down some plaster from underneath the first floor gallery, I found another old newspaper and some sweetie bags.

The sweetie bags are small white paper bags about 5 inches by 3 inches and are from Robert Hogarth’s store which is advertised as a “family grocer and wine merchant” who used to be at 95 - 97 Glasgow Street in Ardrossan. Does anyone remember them?

There was also an old newspaper insert titled “Seeds of Love”. The attire of the figures on the cover give an idea of the era in which this was published - and I thought it may be the 1930’s but it was far earlier.

A further clue was obtained from a small article which mentions the Irish Professional Golf Championship results in which a Mr Moran was the winner and a Mr Kidd was the runner up.

A check of the internet revealed that Michael Moran was born in 1886 and was the leading Irish golfer of his generation and that he won the Irish Professional Championship five years in a row from 1909 to 1913.

To try to get the exact year of this newspaper, I checked to see when Harry Kidd was runner up and this turned out to be in the 1909 Irish Professional Championship. So this newspaper was 109 years old. Wow!

Sadly, Michael Moran died on 10th April 1918 at the young age of only 31 years.

He was one of the many who died during the First World War.

Michael had joined the South Irish Horse in 1915 and in September 1917 his regiment had been retrained as infantry and formed the 7th (South Irish Horse) Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment.

The battalion was mown down in the German Spring Offensive of 1918, Michael was wounded and died in hospital a month later. The Official History records the waste of life during the battle saying “two companies of 7th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, posted in forward zones, suffered terribly; not a man succeeded in escaping.”

Since Michael died in a German hospital, his death was not confirmed until 16 December 1918 - a month after the war had finished.

A tragic end to a champion golfer.

If this article interested you, you may be keen to check out our new Facebook page – just type in Barony St John Regeneration Project and you will read of my efforts to save the Barony St John buildings.

News of other discoveries and the renovation work going on in the church buildings can be found on my blog posts


Goodbye for now.