Carrick in 1696
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This description of Carrick in 1696 can be found in “The Geographical Collections relating to Scotland collected by Walter MacFarlane of that Ilk, Esquire.” which was subsequently reprinted by Robert Pitcairn, W.S. in 1836 and then included, with Pitcairn’s notes (included as footnotes below), in William Robertson’s “Historic Ayrshire, being a collection of historical works treating of the county of Ayr” published by Thomson Brothers, Edinburgh in 1891.  It was further contained in volume II of “Geographical Collections Relating to Scotland made by Walter MacFarlane”, edited from Macfarlane’s Transcript in the Advocates’ Library by Sir Arthur Mitchell, K.C.B., M.A., M.D., LL.D., published in three volumes by T. and A. Constable for the Scottish History Society in 1907.

Mr. William Abercrummie (or Abercrombie) was Episcopal Minister of Maybole, and he is described in “Swinton’s MS” in the Advocates’ Library as “deserted – also outed by Mr Jo. Hutcheson’s return,” the former Presbyterian minister of the parish, this description following, within living memory, that period when the Covenanters were prominent in Carrick.

William Robertson notes in 1891 that “It may not uncharitably be assumed that the reverend gentleman’s ejection from the parish on the return of the Presbyterian minister, and the fact that people as a whole preferred Presbytery to Episcopacy, may have biased him in the estimate he formed of the inhabitants.”


Contemporary maps of the area viz. 1654 - Joan BLAEU – CARRICTA BOREALIS - Mid Ayrshire; 1686 - Adair 11: A mape of the west of Scotland containing Clydsdail, Nithsdail, Ranfrew, Shyre of Ayre & Galloway authore Jo. Adair (manuscript); 1745 – Herman MOLL – The South Part of the Shire of Air, Containing Kyle and Carrick; are available via the internet from the Map Library at the National Library of Scotland in very high quality digital image or (by mail) in hard copy at .

Dave Killicoat, December 2002 

A small extract from  Adair” A mape of the west of Scotland” dated 1686



Mr. ABERCRUMMIE, Minister at Minibole.

Carrict is a part of the Shyre of Ayre lying to the South and Southwest of Kyle, from  which it is separated by the river of Dun, which hath its ryse out of a Loch of  that same name which is in breadth ……… and has a castle in the midst of it above Dalmellingtowne a kirktown in Kyle, …… miles, and after many windings, whereby it makes Kyle & Carrict mixe and Indent the one with the other, it empties itself into the sea within two myles of Aire; yet so that at low water there is scarce the vestige of a River, because in the broad and spacious sands the waters of it are lost having no channell, so that people usually passe alongst on foot and shod without any prejudice by water.

                It lyes in the forme of a Triangle, whereof the North poynt towards Kyle at the bridge of Dun, is very narrow, being shutt up by the sea on the West part, and the land of Kyle in the parish of Alloway & Dalrimple shutts up the water of Dun on the East syde.  The Coast runs Southwest from the castle of Greenand standing on a rock at the influxe of Dun into the sea untill the poynt of Turnberry whereon are to be seen the ruines of an old castell of the same name, from this to Girvan, the coast turns perfytely South from which turning Southwest till the Bennan-hill.  From thence it turns again Soutward till Ballantrae on the Southsyde, whereof the river Stincher runs into the sea at the influxe whereof there riseth up a ridge of hills, which run streght Westward to the mouth of Loch-ryan and then the Coast of Carrict turns to the south east up the syde of the Loch.  This Loch will be …… myles in breadth, above the mouth of which on the other syde of Glenap toward the descent of the hill to the Rins of Galloway are the ……… standing stones, which are accounted the march betwixt Carrict & Galloway on that part, from which stones eastward this countrey is all alongst marched with the countrey of the Rins and shyre of Galloway alongst the heads of the parishes of Ballantrae, Calmonell, Barre and the parish of Straton which bords with the parish of Carsfairne in the Stewartrie; but all alongst the March it is a wild moorish countrie, and then meets with Loch Dun, out of which issues the river of that name abovementioned.

                Loch Doon and CastleIt is a countrey which is abundantly furnished with all the accomodations of human lyfe, and if it had Iron, could subsist of itselfe without dependance upon any other, for though no salt be made in it, yet wants not the materials for making thereof.  It being washed by the sea upon one syde and well enough provyded of coal at no great distance from the coast, and it is not so much the sloath of the Inhabitants that they have none, as the cheapness of this Commodity both domestick and forreigne.  It is better fitted for pasturage than Corns, yet it produces such plenty of all sorts of graine, that it not only serves its own Inhabitants, but has to spare to nighbouring places so that from hence are yearly transported considerable quantities of meal both to Galloway and the fishing in Clyde.

                It affords also store Cattle, so that great droves of Cowes and bullocks are carryed yearly hence both into England and other places of our own kingdome which are returned againe in silver and gold which uses to be very common amongst all the people from hallowday till Candlemess that the rents be cleared.  And this is the speciall quality of the beefe that pasture in the moore Countrey that the flesh is very sweet and pleasant and the fat of them keeps soft lyke that of pork.[1]

                It is very balanced with moore and dale for the one part that abounds with corne supplyes the other place which is for pasturage with bread, as they fournish them again with beefe, mutton, wool butter cheese, and the whole Countrey are so fond of preserving store that it is very rare to find any veal eaten here but what is brought from Kyle or Cuninghame.  Ailsa Craig from the NorthThey have plenty of poultrey, hens, capons, ducks, geese and turkeys, at easie rates, and for wild foul, partridge, moore fowl, black cocks, pliver no place is better provided besyde store of solangeese in so great plenty that the very poorest people eat of them in ther season at easie rates besydes other sea fowles, which are brought from Ailra of the bigness of ducks and of the tast of solangeese, and are called Abbanacks or Ailra cocks and Tarnachans of which there is so great a multitude about that Isle, that when by a shot of a piece, they are put upon the wing, they will darken the heavens above the spectators.  This Ailra is a rock in the sea in which these solan geese nestle and breed, in which also there be conies, and wild doves, it is reckoned as a part of the parish of Daylie, belongs to the E. of Cassilis and has the valuation of a ten lib. land of old extent.

                By the nighbourhood of the sea which washes the coast thereof for the space of thirtie miles, it is well provyded of fishes such as Killing, Ling, Cod, Haddowes, whyttings Herrings, makrells and by the three main rivers that water this Countrey viz: Dun Girvan and Stincher they be furnished with salmond, which can be taken at the mouth of each of these in such abundance as serve both for the rest of the Countrey and to be sent abroad.  The Lochs and other rivulets have in them pykes, trouts, eels.

                No Countrey is better provided of wood, for alongst the banks of Dun, Girvan & Stincher there be great woods, but especially on Girvan whereby they serve the nighbourhood both in Kyle and Cuninghame for timber to build countrey houses, and for all the uses of husbandrie as cart, harrow, plough and barrow at very easie rates, and the sorts are birch, elder, sauch, poplar, ash, oak and hazell, and it is ordinary throughout all that Countrey and every Gentleman has by his house both wood and water orchards and parkes

The countrey is very well watered, for it has Dun that marcheth it all alongst on the syde next Kyle.  Girvan runs through the middle of it and almost divides it, and Stincher that waters the upper part, besydes severall other lesser rivulets such as Muck, Dusk, and Tig that run into it, the last whereof is about a mile above the influxe of the Stincher into the sea.  The Lochs be Lochdun out of which runs the water of Dun, the streame whereof is very rapid and impetuous and is passable by a bridge of one Arch but exceeding wide about half a myle above its influxe into the sea.[2]  Loch Spalander in which are excellent trouts known by ther blackish colour out of which runs a small rivulet called Dyrock, which in its course passes by the Church of  the parish of Kirkmichael, and passes into Girvan a mile below the said kirk.  there be also other Lochs such as the Doveloch, Neilston Loch and Heart Loch all in the parish of Mayboll.  The last whereof is so called from its shape and figure which is exactly that of a heart so formed by the rushes growing round about it and giving the waters the shape of a heart it lyes within a quarter of a myle of the town of Mayboll to the southwestward, there be also Mochrum Hill Loch and Craigdow Loch in the parish of Kirkoswald.

                It abounds with many good springs of water, whereof I shall at present mention four only for ther singularity, two for ther copiousness of water both of them at Mayboll; one at the Northeast end of the towne called my Lordswell and though usually it spring so abundantly that no inconsiderable stream run from it, yet in times of great droughts it fails, but the other on the southwest end of the towne called the Sprout of WelltreesSprout of Welltrees is so very plenteous that falling in several mouths through rock and stone it would for its plenty and sweetnesses be accounted a rich treasure to the Capitall city of the nation.  Another spring there is called St. Helens well or by a curt pronuntiation St. Emus for St. Antonies well, it is about a myle and ane halfe from Mayboll on the road to Aire a litle north of Balachmont.  It is famous for the cure of unthriving children, to which at the change of the quarter especially at May-day there is a great resort of people from all quarters, and at a good distance.[3]  A fourth is a small neglected spring about the head of Denines in the forsaid parish of Mayboll near to a place called Sennyglens-crosse famous for its vertue in curing cowes that are taken with the mure ill for by drinking thereof, they are healed and  accordingly it is carryed far up into the moore countrey by people for this use.

                Though this Countrey be washed with the sea for the space of 24 myles and upwards yet there be no convenient harbours or bayes for the receiving of ships so that none resort it but small boats and barks from Ireland or the highlands and ther best receptacle is the broad sands of Turnberry and the mouths of the Dun, Girvan, and Stincher; and of all of these three, Girvan is the best; and for ther fishing boats, they have no other shelter but to draw up the length of the water marke when they come ashoar and then to ……… them when the tyde puts them afloat againe, the shoar is very well parted all alongst ‘twixt rock and sand, some places a tract of open plain sands, some places high and steep rock which is ever washen with the sea.

                There be in this Countrey some vestiges of ancient Occcurrences, the historie whereof not having been been preserved by the Inhabitants, oblidges us to observe them only without giving any Rationale of them.  There is a little acervus of earth of a Circular forme with a big stone erect on the middle thereof within halfe a myle of Mayboll on the road to Aire within the farme called St. Murray.  There is also upon the descent of Broun Carrick hill near to the Mains of Blairstoune a big whinstone upon which there is the dull figure of a Crosse, which is alledged to have been done by some venerable Churchman who did mediat a peace twixt the King of the Picts and Scots and to give the more authority to his proposalls, did in their sight by laying a Crosse upon the stone, imprint that figure thereon.[4]  Of late there was a discoverie made near to the house of Bargeny and just opposite to the gate of the new Avenue to this house a sepulchre of square stone covered over with flagstones in which were found the bones of a man, and at the place where his head was laid, an Earthen pott in which the Diggers up of it found some small pieces of silver, whereof the Impression bore no letters that could be known.

                The Carrick ShoreThere is yet to be seen on the Coast of Carrict beyond Drumbeg as you goe to Girvan, the vestige of a camp and fortification but the most memorable actions that are now remembered in this Countrey, are domestick feuds betwixt two great families of the name of Kennedy contending for precedence viz. the family of Cassillis and the Kennedy’s of Bargeny, these contending for the right of primogeniture against the Encroachments of the other, who by Interest the of his greater allyance with the royall familie assumed the preheminence, whicj occasioned such animosities betwixt them, that the matter was disputed by these two families with their respective friends and followers in a pitched field in a certain place within the parish of Mayboll called the field of Pennyglen to this day.  In which contest many of both sydes were killed, but the family of Cassillis had the advantage since which tyme the stock of the family of Bargeny is extinguished some branches of it being yet extant. the Mansionhouse and principall park of the Estate being now possessed by Hamiltons.

                The Inhabitants of this Countrey are of ane Irish Originall as appears both by ther names being generally all Mac’s.  I mean the vulgar and all their habitations of Irish designatione, their hills are Knocks, their Castles Ards, but the great and almost only name amongst the Gentrie have been Kennedies, yet there be besyde them Boyds, Cathcarts, Fergussons and Moores that have been old possessors. but the later names that enjoy some the ancient honourable seats of the Kennedies are Hamiltons that possesse Bargeny, Whitfoords that possesse Blairquhan and Crawfuird that have Ardmillan. yet the Kennedies continue still to be both the most numerous and most powerfull clan.  Beside the E. of Cassillis their cheife there be Sir Gilbert Kennedy of Girvanmains, Sir Arch. Kennedy of Colarne, Sir Tho. Kennedy of Kirkhill, Kennedy of Baltersan, Kennedy of Kilheigwe, Kennedy of Kirlmichael, Kennedy of Knockdone  Kennedy of Glenour, Kennedy of Bennan, Kennedy of Carlock and Kennedy of Drumellan.  But this name is under great decay in comparison of what it was ane age agoe at which time they flourished so in power and number as to give occasion to this Rhyme

Twixt Wigtoune and the towne of Aire

And laigh down be the Cruves of Cree

You shall not gett a lodging there

Except ye court a Kennedy [5]

                The persons of men are generally tall and statelie, well limbed and comely, and women are nowhere better complexioned, they are a healthfull sort of people, and and live to a good age both Gentrie and commons, so that they usually have in all ther families the Grandfather and Oyes, some see the fourth generation, and they all generally love ease to which their soyle being pasturage gives them opportinities, and they are in poynt of Industrie most addicted to merchandising by droves of cattle, wool, flocks of sheep and commerce with Ireland, but seeme not fond of trading afar off as having all necessary accomodations at home, but if they be transplanted from their native soile, they prosper & thrive very well both at home & abroad.  Their ease and plenty disposes them to be unruly and turbulent, so that the servants are Insolent, and all of them are but uneasie subjects so that in the late tymes Carrict hath been a sanctuary or rather a nurserie of Rogues, bearing arms against authority upon pretext of religion.

                KirkbrideIn this Countrey Religion has had the Influence upon the people to dispose them to the founding and endowering many places for devotion for though there be but one Monasterie in all this Countrey viz : Crossraguel within two myles of Mayboll westward, which besyde other revenue enjoyed the Tythes of these five parishes viz : Kirkoswald, Daillie, Girvan, Ballantrae, and Straton which enjoyed the Jurisdiction of regality within itselfe to which all its vassals and tenents were answerable, yet were there also severall other pious foundations and donations.  There is the Munkland ane 100 Merkland of old extent which is an appendage of the Abbacy of Melrose and had a separat Jurisdiction of its owne for ministring Justice to all the Vassals and Tennants thereof.  The Laird of Ardmillan one of the vassals was heretable Baillie, and upon the parcelling of his fortune, was acquired by Kennedy of Grange.  There was also a Collegiat Church at Mayboll the fabrick wherof is yet extant and entyre, being now used as the buriall place of the Earle of Cassillis, and other Gentlemen who contributed to the putting of a roofe upon it when it was decayed.  On the northsyde of which Kirk is the buriall place of the Laird of Colaine within ane Enclosure of new squarestone lately built  the Coledge consisted of a Rector and three prebends, whose stalls are all of them yet extant, save the Rectors which was where these low buildings and the garden are on the Eastsyde of that which is now the Parsons house, the other three are the Blackhouse, Ja Grays house with the Orchard and the Welltrees.  The patrimony of this church were the provest and priests lands in the parish of Kirkmichael, which fell into the E. Cassillis hands upon the dissolution of the Colledge at the reformation.  Out of which he as yet payes yearly to the Minister of Mayboll the some of 70 Merks Scots.  As for the Church its present patrimony is out of the Tyth of the parish which before the reformation was all possessed and enjoyed by the Nuns of Northberwick and on the dissolution of the said Nunnerie became a prize to the Laird of Bargeny.  The parish Church stands at a little distance from the foresaid Colledge eastward.  It does not appear when it was built, but the large Isle that lyes from the body of the Church southward and makes the figure of the Church a T, was built by Mr. Ja. Bonar, Minister thereat in the reign of K. Ch. the First.  Within the said parish of Mayboll there have been other chappells of old as Kirkbryde on the Coastsyde whose walls and yard be yet extant, and within the lands of Achindrain and elsewhere there have been other chappels whereof the Rudera are yet to be seen.

                This Countrey of old gave the title of Earle to Robert Bruce the great assertor of Scottish liberty in right of whom it continues still to be one of the titles of the Prince; and the freeholders of this Jurisdiction are the Princes vassals.  This Countrey is the ancient seat of the Kennedies, whose principall dwelling was the Castle of Dinnure standing on the seasyde in a rockie shoar in the parish of Mayboll and gives designationto a Baronie lying round about it.  but this being wholly ruined, their chief Mansion is the house of Cassillis standing upon a high ground on the southsyde of the river of Dun having the wood of Dalrimple opposite to it on the other syde of Kyle, which gives it a very agreeable prospect of wood and water.  The house in the body of it is very high having a fine stone stare turning about a hollow casement, in which are many opens from the bottome to the top, that by putting a lamp into it, gives light to the whole of the staires.  In the River they have cruves for taking of salmond and ponds to furnish them other fishes and there be large plots of ground cast into Gardens, fenced about with stone walls exceeding high which yeilds good store of Apricocks, peaches, cherries and all other fruits and herbage that this Kingdome produces.  Near to which stands the hill of Dunrie out of which has been digg’d a rich ore and is accounted a silver myne.

                All the houses of the Gentry of this Countrey are seated both pleasantly and commodiously, being either built upon the principal rivers and lesser waters that feed them or upon the seacoast, these upon the seacoast are the Castell of the Grenand and the Cove.  The Greenand is a high house upon the top of a rock hanging over upon the sea with some lower new work lately added to it but never finished.  It is too open to the cold and moisture arysing from the sea to be a desyreable habitation and has been designed to be the owners security against a surprize rather than a constant residence., it is within the parish of Mayboll.  Not far from it lyes the house of Newark, a good old castle southeast from the other, much improven of late by the enclosing grounds for a park and a well planted orchard.  The Cove is the Laird of Colains Mansion house standing upon a rock above the sea, flanked on the south with very pretty gardens and orchards adorned with excellent Tarrases and the walls loaden with peaches, apricotes, cherries and other fruit; and these gardens are so well sheltred from the north and East winds and ly so open to the south that the fruits and herbage are more early than any other place in Carrict.  Southward from this lyes the house of Thomastowne once the residence of the Cory’s but now of the McLevain of Grimmet a very pretty house with gardens Orchards and Parks round it, both these ly in the parish of Kirkoswald.  Turnberry CastleThe next upon the Coast, are to be seen the old ruines of the ancient Castle of Turnberry upon the Northwest poynt of that rockie angle that turns about towards Girvan and is perhaps that place called by Ptolomee Rerigonium of a Greek Origination Importing round the corner and suiting the English designation of Turnberry and that it cannot be Bargeny as some imagine, the very situation of that Castle and recentness of it will abundantly shew.  And to confirme this our conjecture that Perigonion is Turnberry from turning of the corner, a tradition amongst the people there, will not a little conduce viz : that near to this very Castle there was of old a towne of the same name of which there is no vestige at present to be seen, but that they perceive some remainders of a causeway, and the reason for this may be the nighbourhood of the port of greatest resort in all that Coast, at which the first possessors have landed from Ireland and so might have fixed their habitation near to it, though now the place be but a tract of barron sands.  Next to this is the Castle of Ardmillan so much improven of late that it looks like a palace built round courtwayes surrounded with a deep broad ditch and strengthened with a moveable bridge at the entry, able to secure the owner from the suddain commotions and assaults of the wild people of this corner, which on these occasions are sett upon robbery and depredation, and to enable him the better to endure a seige he is well provided of well in his Court and a handmill in the house for grinding meall or malt with which two lusty fellows sett at work, will grind a firlott in the space of ane hour.  It is surrounded with good corn fields and meadow, with large parks for pasturage, and excellent good gardens and orchards that yeild plenty of apples and pears, and one more particularly that for its precocity is called the early pear of Ardmillan of a very pleasant tast.  In the year …….. happened a strange conjunction twixt a Jackdaw and a Magpie that paired together, built their nest, and brought forth ther young resembling more the Jackdaw then the Magpie.[6]  Last there is the old Castle of Ardstincher, which is mostly now ruined but has been of old a vast hudge fabrick and stands upon ane ascending ground above the towne of Balantrae eastward.

                The houses on the water of Dun are Cassillis of which already.  Achindrain an high tower with laigh buildings surrounded with good orchards and gardens, parks and good cornfeilds, the owner hereof is Moore, next to this is Blairtown, a stone tower house with lower buildings about it surrounded with gardens orchards  and parks it lyes low upon the watersyde then Bridgend[7] a pretty dwelling surrounded also with gardens orchards and parks.  All these are in the parish of Mayboll.

                The water of Girvan above the Kirk of Straton is wyld and hilly but at the Clachan it opens into a faire pleasant prospect of plaine grounds.  Blairquhan CastleNext to it is the great castle of Blairquhan, the fyne building and hudge bulke whereof is a plain demonstration of the sometime greatness of that family, which besyde their possessions in Carrict, had large territories also in Galloway.  It is well provyded with wood covered with planting of barren timber and surrounded with large orchards.  Next to it is Cloncaird near two myles distance which is surrounded with gardens orchards and great store of wood, the third but at a remoter distance from the water of Girvan is the house of Kirkmichael a pretty commodious house within a short space of the church of the same name, betwixt which runs the water of Dyroyk above mentioned which soon swells with rains falling on the higher grounds and becomes unpassable on a sudden.  The house of Kirkmichael is as desyreable a dwelling as in all the countrey having good gardens and orchards and was the first in Carrict planted with Apricocks and peaches.  This orchard and house is flanked on the south with a Loch, part of whereof has been drained of late, and rewards the owners industry with good hay.  The next is Dalduffe on the southsyde of Girvan a small stone house with ane Orchard and good corne feilds about it.  Below that upon the southsyde and at some distance from the river stands the house of Barclanathan with its gardens and orchards all which are surrounded by wood, all the water from this downward till near Daillie being so covered with wood that it looks lyke a forrest.  And in a low ground below the last, and nearer the water stands Drummellan and upon the northsyde of the river below that upon an higher ground stands the house of Drumburle the mansion house of the lairds of Drummellan.  On that same syde farder downe the water stands the house of Drummochrin which is but a small Interest, but a most lovely thing being every way so commodious and convenient for living easily, that it is as it were ane abridgement of this Countrey having all the accommodations that are dispersed through it all, cpmprized within its short and small bounds.  It has a house not for ostentation but conveniency fit to lodge the owner and his nighbours.  It hath gardens orchards wood, water all the fishes that swim in rivers, all sort of cattle sheep cows, swine, and goat, all sort of fowl wyld and tame, all manner of stone for building, free stone and lyme stone.  And coall, moore, mosse meadow and marle a Wak myln and corn miln, and all manner of artisans and Tradesmen within his bounds and yet the revenue not above 100 lib. per annum.  Not far from this, downe the water stands the  stately Castle of Dolquharran, the building whereof is much improven by the additions lately made thereto, which make it by very far the best house of all that Countrey, surrounded with vast enclosures of wood, that the Countrey is not able to consume it by their building and other Instruments and amongst them there be oake trees of a considerable size both for hight and breadth that will serve either for Jest or roofe of good houses.  Opposite to this stands the house of Muirestowne on the southsyde of the river and westward from it the new kirk of Daillie which is of late erected for the accommodation of the parishioners being now centricall whereas before the situation thereof was at the extreme west poynt of the parish.  Below this on the south syde of Girvan stands the house of Brunstoun in ane open field, next to which in the midst of a forrest rather than wood stands in a low ground near the brink of the river the old castle of Bargeny on the southsyde of Girvan which is ane argument of the sometime greatness of that family, being a hudge great lofty Tower in the center of a quadrangular court that had on each of three corners, fyne well-built towers of free stone four story high.  But the new house lately built after the modern fashion, stands upon a higher ground southward of the old castle, which furnished materials both for founding and finishing of the new house. 

It is a mighty commodious house, and if any make a greater shew and appearance, yet it has the advantage of them for contrivance and accomodation, it is flanked to the south with gardens very pretty, and has orchards lying westward of it about a myle down the water stands the Castle of Killochan, the mansion house of Cathcart of Carletowne surrounded with orchards, planting and wood, it stands upon a higher ground that descends southward to the water, which is at a small distance from it, and has toward the south a prospect of a pleasant plaine, where stood the old kirk of Daillie and Kirktowne by which runs the litle rivulet of Polchapel passing northward into Girvan.  On the eastsyde of which up toward the hills stands the house of Pinkill belonging to the Boyds.  West of which lyes a high hill called the Sauchhill once memorable for the resort of people to conventicles, where they built a meeting house of turfe and wood.  On the northsyde of the river downward and up toward the hill about a myle from the river stands the house of Trochreg which belongs to the Boyds, which family hath produced two great men famous in their generation and great lights in the Church of God.  One was James Boyd Archbishop of Glasgow who maintained the honour of his character by a vertuous and exemplary lyfe and strenuously defended the lawfulness of his office against the Insults of our first Zealots Mr. Andrew Melvin and his complices. 

The other was his son and heir who following the study of Divinity, merited the chaire in the Colledge of Saumure in France, and thence was brought to be Principall of the Colledge of Glasgow whose learned commentaries on the Ephessians are well known and Justly had in great estimation.[8]  From this downward stands the Enoch, and a little below that there is cast over the river a stone bridge and near to the influxe of the sea upon a levell ground high above the water stands the Kirk if Girvan and the Parsons house on the northsyde of the churchyard.  opposite to which on the other syde of the river lyes a pleasant Links with a Conyware and at the foot of it is a salmond fishing at the mouth of the river and a station for boats that come from Ireland or the Highlands.  Southward from the Kirk of Girvan stands the tower of Balachtowle a monument of the builders folly being raised five story high without a staire case and no more but one roome in each story.  it has nether garden or orchard nor planting but stands in the midst of rich cornfields.  The builder of this house Boyd of Penbrill produced a patent for building a new-burgh at Girvan, whose situation and streets he designed and marked out in these barren sands on the southsyde of the water mouth of Girvan and erected a Pole for the crosse thereof.  but his design never took effect not an house being built there save and that scarcely within the compass of the sands assigned his towne, yet it hath four faires one for every quarter of the year that give the names of the New-burgh of Girvan to these sandy knows amongst which there is one spot that is not to be passed without observation, which is called Knock Oshin upon which the Head Courts of this Jurisdiction are kept and held and all the Vassalls compear there and seems to retaine some thing of the ancient custome of our Nation that the Kings Vassals were conveened in the feild lyke a rendee vous of souldiers rather than in ane house for Ceremony and attendance.

                The other principall river of this Countrey is Stincher which ryses in ………. and makes a pleasant strath in all its Course in which are many pleasant seats of pettie Heritors and substantiall farmers who knowing the nature of the soyle, to be fittest for pasturage, breed store of Cowes, sheep, and goats, and live very plentifully[9].  Below the ryse of it, …… myles the Countrey opens about the Ballage, and affoords pretty plains on each syde of the River which is somewhere again shut up by the encroachment of some little hills and againe is dilated into broad plaine feilds as at Dalherne and so makes pleasant Haughs upon one or other syde of the river, till you come to Barrehill, upon the southwest of which, stands  the Kirk of Barre or Brownhill which is a new erection for the convenience of the extreme places of the old Parishes of Daillie and Girvan and the dwellers in the remote corners on the borders of Galloway upon the waters of Cree and Menock.  From the said Kirk the trough of the water continues pretty open and has pleasant dwellings all upon each syde of the water as Antanalbany, Dowlarg, Achinsoul, Bennan, Monnucion for the space of three myles, till you come to Corseclayes that stands upon the confluence of Muik and Stincher the hills growing close and high upon the North and West thereof, leave the place open to the East and South and then running twixt two hills is shutt up by them upon the South and North, till you come to Daljarrach, which stands upon the North syde of the river at the head of a pleasant plaine, looking westward, below which Stincher receives Dusk and just above their meeting, stands the old castle of Pinwherrie and up Dusk a little stands the house of Glendusk on the rysing ground, below which lye large fields of excellent meadow and a myle upward stands the house of Kildonan upon the Eastsyde of the water.  and below the influxe of Dusk into Stincher stands the Craig on the Northsyde of the river and in a higher ground, and a little downe the river on the Southsyde stands Dalreoch on a rysing ground, but the Hills upon the south come so close upon it, and so high that they cover from the sun in the short days.  And a little downeward and in the low ground upon the brink of the water stands Bardrochatt and just above it upon the hill on an ascent of difficult acces stands the strong castle of Craigneil, which belongs to the Earl of Cassillis and gives designation to a barony of land lyand round it.  opposite to which on the northsyde on a ground mounted above the water, stands the kirk and clachan of Calmonell and hard by it the house of Kirkhill, which gives the title to Sir Thomas Kennedy late provost of Edr.  A myle below this stands the house of Knockdolian on the east foot of Knockdolian Hill, the seat of the McKubbens about which is shewen what art and industrie can doe to render a place, to which nature hath not been favourable, very pleasant by planting of Gardens, Orchards walks and rows of trees that surprise the beholder with things so far beyond expectation in a countrey so wild and mountainous.  This hill lyes Northwest of the house and mounts up with a small top as if it would pierce the skies.  It is the highest of all the countrey, about the top whereof when any mist is seen, tis the forerunner of foul weather, and is the countreymans almanack.  When the river of Stincher has past this Hill, It receives the water of Tig about whose influxe into it, are the remains of an old church called Innertig or Kirkudbright the ancient parish church of Balantrae.  Below which influxe there is a pleasant Haugh of low grounds till the falling into the sea, which of late has been quyte ruined and spoyled by the rivers forcing its course out of its ancient channell and breaking in upon the same that it is neither fitt for grass nor corns.  At the foot of this water stands the towne of Balantrae on the northsyde on a pleasant foreland, which some years ago has been much resorted to by reason of an herring fishing about the Christmas tyme but that has ceased above 30 years past.  In this towne is the parish church and in it an Isle the Buriall place of the Lord Bargeny opposite to which on the other syde there is a rich Conneyware and in the mouth of the river the best salmond fishing in Carrick, all which belong to the Lord Bargeny.

                As to the Civill Jurisdiction of this Countrey, It is a Bailliarie and belongs heretable to the Earl of Casillis who exercises his power by a depute and has the priviledge to appoynt his owne clerk without dependence either upon the Secretary or Register.  The ordinary seat of the Courts of Justice is at the towne of Mayboll on thursday, though the meeting of their head court be at a little Hillock or Know called Knockoshin in the bounds designed for the new towne of Girvan.  All the Inhabitants of the Countrey answer to this Court both for civill debts and crymes except these who live within the precinct of the two spiritualities viz: the Regality of Crosse Raguel and the Regality of the Monckland depending on Melrosse above mentioned, but now those being all united in the person of the Earle of Casillis, there are no separate Courts held upon that account, nor any priviledge pleaded for them in prjudice of the Baillie Court[10].  The offices of Depute or Clerk are advantagious posts to any the Earle bestowes them upon for by the plenty of wood and water in this Countrey which tempt men to fish ans cutt scob or wattles for necessary uses, they find a way yearly to levy fines for cutting of green wood and killing fry or fish in prohibite tyme, that makes a revenue to these offices and is a constant tax upon the people.

                In all this Countrey there is not any Town corporat save one viz. Mayboll which is nether a burgh royall for it sends no Commisioner to the Parliament, nor is it merely a burgh of barony, such having only a power to keep mercats and a magistracy setled amongst them in dependence on the Baron of the place, but here it is quyte otherwayes, for they have a charter from the King erecting them into a burgh with a Towne Councill of sixteen persons for manadging the common concerns of the burgh with power to them to elect from amongst themselves two Bailies their Clerk and Treasurere and to keep Courts for maintaining order amongst the Inhabitants and to admitt burgesses of their Corporation.  It is true indeed the Earle of Cassillis is the Superiour of all the land whereupon the town is built but they deny him to be their superiour in their Constitution as a burgh and disputed their right with him, during the dependence of which action, he as Baron sett up a Baron baillie to exercise authority over the Inhabitants and to lessen the magistrats authority but the people being poor and divided amonst themselves and the Earle being gott into the government, upon the revolution they were forced to submitt and yeild to his pretensions.

                This Towne of Mayboll stands upon an ascending ground from East to West, and lyes open to the South, It hath one principall street declining towards the East.  It is pretty well fenced from the North by a higher ridge of hills that lyes above it at a small distance northward.  It hath one principall street with houses on both sydes built of free stone and it is beautifyed with the situation of two Castles one at each end of this street.  Maybole CastleThat on the East belongs to the Earle of Cassillis beyond which Eastward stands a great new building, which be his granaries, on the west end is a Castle which belonged sometyme to the Laird of Blairquhan, which is now the Tolbuith and is adorned with a pyramide and a row of Ballesters round it raised upon the top of a staire case, into which they have mounted a fyne clock.  There be four Lanes which passe from the principall street.  One is called the back Venall which is steep declining to the southeast, and leads to a lower street, which is far longer than the high chiefe street, and it runs from Kirkland to the Welltrees in which there have been many pretty buildings belonging to the severall Gentry of the countrey who were wont to resort hither in winter and divert themselves in converse together at their owne houses.  It was once the principall street of the towne, but many of these houses of the Gentry being decayed and ruined, it has lost much of its ancient beautie[11].  Just opposite to this Venall there is another that leads North West from the chiefe street to the Green which is a pleasant plott of ground enclosed round with an Earthen wall wherein they were wont to play at football but now at the Gowffe and Byasse bowls.  At the Eastend of the principall street are other two lanes, the one called the fore Venall carryes northward, the other furder East upon the chiefe street passes to the south East, and is called the Kirk Venall and is the great resort of the people from the towne to the church.  The houses of this towne on both sydes of the street, have their severall gardens belonging to them, and in the lower street there be some pretty orchards that yeild store of good fruit.  The church is very capacious, well furnished with seats below and lofts or Galleries above, the principall whereof is that belonging to the Earl of Cassillis.  On the Eastend of the Isle there is the Session Loft well adorned with two rowes of seats a higher and lower round about it, for the accomodation of the people who are wont to be catechised in this apartment.  The schoole is upon the East end of the Church separated from it by a partition of timber wherein doors and windowes open to give them not only a prospect into the church but opportunity of hearing at the greatest distance.

                In this Jurisdiction there be Nyne churches, all of them built of good free stone and covered with skleit made so capacious as to containe the people of the respective parishes, and they are generally all of them very well endowed with competent maintenance and other good accomodations for the minister, having all of them tolerable good manses and gleibs.  These Nyne Churches have sometyme been a distinct Presbyterie under the name of the Presbyterie of Mayboll which therby appears to have been the seat thereof, which seems very reasonable as being most capable to lodge such as on that account should resort thither and having the presence of the Magistracy to assist and second the exercise of discipline.  And of late ane essay was made for recting it anew under the designation of the Presbyterie but there being difficulty to satisfie the parties anent the seat thereof it was let fall.  All the tyme that they acted distinctly, the Meeting were either circular lyke visitations or by turns at Girvan and Mayboll.  The Nyne Parishes are Mayboll, Kirkmichael, Straton, Barre, Calmonel, Balantrae, Girvan, Daillie and Kirkoswald.

                The parish of Mayboll is very large and populous extending from the sea and water of Dun to the water of Girvan about Dolduffe and westward.  Besyde the large church now used for public worship there be other religious places such as the Collegiat ChurchAuld College Church, Maybole and Kirkbryde and other chappells whereof mention is made above.  The Lord Bargeny is patron thereof though he have small or no Interest therein.  There be a great number of gentry living therein who have pretty dwellings in commodious places throughout the parish, some of which we have already named and shall remember them againe in the general reckoning viz: Dolduffe, Kilheignie, Archin Wind, Bogend, Smithstowne, Monkwood, Damme, Knockdone, Sauchry, Craigshean, Beoch, Garrihorne, Dunduffe a house on the coast never finished Glenayes, Greenand, Newark, Bridgend, Blairstonne and Archindraine.  Many of those are sweet and desyreable places, but for the good building gardens orchards  and all other accomodations Kilheignie is the chiefe, lying about a short myle south from the town of Mayboll.

                The parish of Kirkmichael lyes in length east and west, and is a mensall kirk of the Bishop of Galloway who is patron thereof.  It stands hard upon the rivulet of Dyorock has no Clachan by it.  In this parish are these houses Cassillis the mansion house of the Earle of Cassillis, Kirkmichael, Cloncaird, Blairquhan, Kilmore and Montgomerystone.

                The parish of Stratowne lyes East and south toward the Stewartree of Galoway.  The church stands upon a ground declining to the westward.  The King is in possession of the patronadge thereof having slipt from the Abbot of Crosseraguel, to whom it seems to appertaine because the Tyth hold of that Abbacy.  There be no Gentry live here save Shaw of Keirs and Shaw of Geimmet toward the water of Dun.

                The parish of Barre is but a late erection for accomodation of the extreme parts of the parishes of Daillie and Girvan.  The patron hereof is the Bishop of Dumblaine in the right of holding the Abbacy of Crosseraguel.  In this parish below the Church on the North syde of the water on the higher ground stands the chappell called Kirk Domine at which there is ane yearly fare and the custom levyed by Alexr. of Kirkland.  None dwell here but petty Heretors in common ordinary houses as Dolherne Barre Dinmuchre Antanalbany Achinsoul bennan Monuncion and Bellimore.  It is of vast bounds reaching from Stincher to Galloway twixt which lye vast bounds of moorish and barren ground.

                The Parish of Calmonell is of yet larger extent some places in these moorish countreys lying at ten myles distance from the Church.  The patron hereof is the Lord Bargeny.  In this parish are severall very good houses for the Heretors residence as Corseclayes, Daljarroch, Kildonan, Glenduiske, Craig, Dalreoch, Craigneil, Kirkhill, Knockdolians, Knockdaw and Carleton.  Craigneil belongs to the E. of Cassillis & Knockdaw to Bargeny so they are no places of ther residence.

                The parish of Balantrae is of great extent though the people be not numerous, the Clachan is pretty populous.  The patron hereof is the King, and the Lord Bargeny pretends mightily to it, but upon examination it will be found to belong to the abbacy of Crosseraguell :  The residing heretors are but few, and their dwellings are mean and homely being Glenour Bennan and Carlosk and Glentig there is neither orchard nor fruit tree in it all.  And Ardstincher above mentioned is North East from this a wynd mill lately built.

                The parish of Girvan is populous lying contiguous to the sea & the champaigne ground upon the water of Girvan on both sydes.  The patron thereof is the Bishop of Dumblaine in the right of the Abbacy of Dumblane.  The houses of the Gentry here are Ardmillan Balachtoule Troweir Trochrig.

                The parish of Daillie lyes in length East and west on both sydes of Girvan, more populous then spacious.  The patron hereof is the Bishop of Dumblain in the right of the Abbacy of Crossraguel.  This parish abounds with Gentry and mansionhouses all alongst Girvan which gives a very delightfull prospect to any who from the top of the Hills, that guard the same, shall look downe upon that pleasant Trough.  They are Pinkill, Killochan, Bargeny, Brunstowne, Dalquharran, Moorestowne, Drummochrin, Drumburle, Drummellan, and Barclanachan.

                The parish of Kirkoswald is pretty populous because of the coast syde whereof it consists and is all the pleasure thereof, for the place of the Churches situation is very obscure and unpleasant being twixt two hills at the end of A bogue and Marish.  Crossraguel AbbeyThe church is a good fabrick and well furnished, the patron hereof is the Bishop of Dumblane in the right of the Abbacy of Crosseraguell, the fabrick of which Abbey stands within this parish.  The Monks were of the Cistercian Order, the situation thereof is no ways pleasant.  The fabrick of the Church is entyre without a roofe, much of the building is demolished, yet there be two towers still standing entyre in ther walls.  It stands about midway twixt Mayboll and Kirkoswald.  The houses of the Gentry residing in this parish are the Cove, Thomastowne, Baltersan, and Balsarach and Thrave, the two last are obscure Countrey dwellings.  But Baltersan is a stately Fyne house with gardens Orchards parks and woods about it, lying from Mayboll about ane Myles distance.  The Cove is the Mansionhouse of Sir Archibald Kennedy of Colaine and takes its name hence that under the outer area of this house there be three naturall coves which enter laigh at the water mark.  from the one they enter upward to a higher by ane easie ascent but the entry to the third is more difficult being both low in the entry and strait, and in the highest of them there is a spring of very good water.

[1] In a “Memoriall of the most rare and wonderfull things in Scotland, London, 1603,” this fact is corroborated in the following singular terms: “In Carrik are kyne and oxen delicious to eate; but ther fatness is of a wonderfull temperature; and although the fatnes of all other comestable (eatable) beasts, for the ordinaire use of man, doe congeale with the cold aire; by the contrarie, the fatnesse of these beasts is perpetually liquid, like oil.”  Bellenden also, in his Translation of Hector Bocce, has a similar notice – “In this region are mony fair ky and oxin, of quhilk the flesche is richt delicious and tender.  The talloun (tallow) of thair wambis is sa sappy, that it fresis nevir; bot flowis ay be nature, of the self, in name of oulie.” – Bellend, Hist. I., xxix.

[2] The bridge so highly celebrated by Robert Burns’ poem of TAM O’ SHANTER.  It may be remarked, that the hero of this inimitable poem was Thomas Reid, tenant of the farm of Shanter, which lies about a mile from Turnberry Castle, on the height above the shore, towards Kirkoswald.

[3] This can unquestionably be traced as a remnant of the ancient superstition that miracles were wrought at Holy Wells; which all the anathemas of the Reformed Kirk could not for a time obliterate from the minds of the common people.  The records of the Kirk-session bear witness to the prevalence of applying to Saints’ Wells for the cure of bodily infirmaties on stated occasions; particularly, when the Saint or Angel was understood to ‘move the waters.’  Pins, pieces of the dress of the patient, or such small trifles, were left at the well – the remains, no doubt, of the offerings formerly made to the Clergy  –  and in token that the disease was transferred from the sufferer to the rags, thus offered to the Genius loci.  Numerous traces of this prevailing superstition could easily be cited.

[4] Attributed by the vulgar (as is usual in the district in all such cases) to Sir William Wallace; who having slept there, and laying his sword upon the stone, the impression of it was left in the morning!  Another veracious tradition asserts it to have been a dint of the sword of ‘Wallace wight’ which accidentally struck the stone, when he was engaged with a host of English foes.  The Popish and the popular legends are equally credible.

[5] Sir Walter Scott has preserved this rhyme, from tradition, thus –

“Twixt Wigton and the town of Air,

Portpatrick and the Cruives of Cree,

No Man need think for to bide there,

Unless he court Saint Kennedie”

[6] The Laird of Ardmillan of that period was a zealous persecutor of the Presbyterians; which sufficiently accounts for the glowing accounts given by Mr William Abercrumbie, the Episcopal curate, of the beauties of Ardmillan Castle and demesnes.

[7] This place is now called Doonside.

[8] The James Boyd mentioned was the second son of Adam Boyd of Pinkill, brother to Robert, Master of Boyd, who was father of Robert, sixth Lord Boyd.  The other was Mr Robert Boyd of Trochrig: who had also a chair in the University of Edinburgh.  Of the family of Boyd, also, was the celebrated Mark Alexander Boyd , who was born at Pinkill, Jan. 13 1562.  Sibbald. Prodr. Nat. Hist.- He was the nephew, not the son, of the Archbishop, being the youngest son of Robert Boyd of Pinkill.  Having accompanied John Earl of Cassillis in his travels, he died of a slow fever Apr. 10, 1601, on his return home.  See his life by Lord Hailes, appended to Annals of Scotland 8vo. Edit. Edin. 1819, III. 420.

[9] The STINCHER rises in the parish of Barr, 12 miles above the village of Colmonell.  It continues a very rapid course for the space of 26 or 27 miles, til it falls into the Atlantic, at Ballantrae.  Several rivulets fall into it, in its course, particularly the Ashill, the Dusk, and the Feoch.

[10] The same author makes the following remarks under the title, “Jurisdictions in the  Shire of Air.  The Shire of Air hes in it three Jurisdictions, Koyle, Cunynghame, and Carrick; all subject to the Sheriff’s Court which holds at Air, the head Burgh of the Shire. The Valuation of the Shire is Two hundred thousand lib.  There are very many Noblemen and Gentlemen’s families here of right good  Estates and old standing.  Severiall very remarkable Antiquities in this Shire might be noticed; but I leave it to a better hand.  Only take what is before, from my own proper knowledge.” – MacFarlan’s MS. Geogr. Coll. Adv. Library.

[11] Tradition has preserved the names of a few of the chief of these residences.  These are,   1, The Castle, belonging to the Earls of Cassillis.   2, The present Tolbooth  was the town residence of the Lairds of Blairquhan.   3, ‘The Black House’, which belonged to the Kennedies of Knockdone.   4, A large Mansion-house with a garden, which belonged to Sir Thomas Kennedy of Culzean; and was probably the house to which he was returning when waylaid by Auchendrayne and his accomplices.  It now belongs to Mr. Niven of Kirkbride.   5, A House in the Kirkwynd, which belonged to Kennedy of Ballimore.   6, ‘The White Horse Inn’, which formerly belonged to the Lairds of Kilhenzie.   7, ‘The Garden of Eden’, and the House to which it is attached, which was the residence of the Abbots of Crossraguel.   8, The House where Abbot Quentin Kennedy and John Knox held their celebrated Conference or disputation, and is now ‘the Red Lion Inn’.   A great number of other ancient Houses are still extant, an examination of the title-deeds of which would show the proprietors to have been the principal gentry of the district of Carrick.  Enough has been noticed to show the ancient splendour of Maybole.  Twenty-eight of these winter Mansion-houses can still be reckoned.

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