AT THE Auld Kirkyard in Alva is a mausoleum designed by renowned Scottish Enlightenment architects Robert and James Adam.

It is one of only four they designed in Scotland.

John Johnstone, who made his fortune working in India with the East India Company bought the Alva Estate in 1775 from James Erskine, Lord Alva.

In the 1780s he decided he would be buried in Alva and as such wanted a grand mausoleum built, not only for his remains but for those of his wife Elizabeth Caroline who had died in 1778.

A square structure built from droved ashlar with a slate roof, the mausoleum is neo-classical in style, typical of the Adams, and boasts twin Doric columns supporting a triangular pediment. The numerous columns have a Greek shaft.

There are niches to the north and south with pediments over and in the south is a marble figure of an angel.

It is groin-vaulted, where two barrel vaults are intersected at right angles in the corners of the building.

It is one of the finest examples of the early resurgence of this Graeco-Roman style in Scotland. With this design, precision in cutting the stone is paramount.

In here lie the remains of Johnstone, who died in 1795, his wife, and other close family members.

During the 19th century an extension was built to accommodate more of the Johnstone family, although was roofless until the later part of the 1800s.

The original design was much the same as the mausoleum built by Johnstone for his late father, the former MP for Dumfries Burghs Sir James Johnstone of Westerhall at Westerkirk Graveyard, Bentpath in Dumfries-shire. He commissioned both at the same time.

Over the years the mausoleum fell into some disrepair, as did the one at Bentpath.

However, thanks to various sources including the Johnstone family and Clackmannanshire Heritage Trust, the vault has been re-pointed and a lower glass roof replaced the 19th century pitched one that once covered the monuments in the extension, revealing shrines not seen for decades.

On the east of the structure, the damaged railings have been replaced. The mausoleum in Dumfries-shire has also been restored thanks to Solway Heritage.

The Johnstone Mausoleum in Alva is the only surviving building in the graveyard.

The former St Serf’s Church, which had been rebuilt in 1632, was abandoned in the early 1980s when the congregation merged with the Eadie Church.

It was destroyed by fire in 1985 and only its footprint remains. The mausoleum was Grade A listed on June 12, 1972.