In recent years, James Carruthers, 13th Laird of Dormont, and current head of the senior branch of the Carruthers family, spearheaded an effort to save Little Dalton Kirk. While the church has not been "restored" yet per se, the church and church grounds have now been made accessible to tourists. It is another great example of the Carruthers heritage that has been saved for future generations. The church was opened to the public on April 30, 2005.
The building that remains dates mostly from the 15th century, with some of its masonry dating to its 13th century predecessor. It served the community of Little Dalton and its lords. Until 1809, the village lay on the land of Holmains, seat of the Carruthers family, vassals of Bruce, Lord of Annandale. Several Carruthers were Stewards of Annandale, and one fought beside Robert the Bruce through the Scottish Wars of Independence.
The village was a thriving crofting community until the 16th century. When times changed, though, people moved on and the kirk was abandoned in 1633, although the graveyard was in use until 1788. There are some 20 monuments, upright or lying horizontal, honoring the memory of those buried in the ground around the church. A stone bench seat and table gravestone of Dr. William Carruthers, dated 1764, highlight the major landmarks. The rubble built masonry is up to 3 feet thick in places. Round arches of the door and one window still remain, showing how the structure looked hundreds of years ago.
The kirk is located West of the town of Dalton, between the old Carruthers estates of Fourteenacre and Butterwhat, on the road between Dormont and Mouswald. Signage for the turnoff can be found along highway B7020, North of Dalton, near Dormont. Additional signage is at the start of the enclosed footpath to the kirk. Space has been built for one car, maybe two depending on their size, parking along the road. Another sign requests to visitors to close all gates, in order to ensure that animals stay confined on the working farm on which the kirk is now located.
This is one site to ensure that you visit if you are making a trip to the Carruthers homeland. There is no charge to visit Little Dalton Kirk, but donations can be made to help maintain the facility. Send any donation to: the Secretary of the Little Dalton Kirk Trust, Holmains, Dalton, Lockerbie DG11 1DS.