Notes on the Way Through Ayrshire
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An excerpt covering that part of Ayrshire including Carrick from: Notes on the Way Through Ayrshire and the Land of Burn, Wallace, Henry the Minstrel, and Covenant Martyrs. By George McMichael. Transcribed by Dave Killicoat.

Published after 1881 and before the statistics from the 1891 Census had been made publicly available. With an additional excerpt from the Parish of Dalmellington covering Patna and Loch Doon.


MayboleKirkmichaelStraitonDaillyKirkoswald Girvan  │Barr  │Colmonell  │Ballantrae  │Dalmellington

CARRICK, the ancient southern division of Ayrshire, gave the title of Earl to Robert Bruce of Turnberry Castle, in this district, who became King of Scotland; and the present Earl of Carrick is his descendant, the Prince of Wales.  It comprises nine parishes.




south-west of Ayr.  The town of Maybole, the old capital of Carrick, is situated toward the south end of the parish, at the junction of eight or ten roads that diverge in all directions like the spokes of a wheel, on a pleasant country side having a south‑east exposure, two miles north‑west of Girvan Water, three and a half miles east of the sea shore, and eight and a half miles south‑by‑west of Ayr.  It presents an oblong form, south‑west, containing a compact old centre body of rather narrow streets, firmly built, and, though partly re‑constructed, having a general aspect of rich antiquity, and outspreading modern parts.  It has a large number of shops; a post office, with telegraph, money order, insurance, annuity, and savings bank departments; Commercial, Royal, and Union Banks; three public schools, two Established Churches, a Free Church, a United Presbyterian Church, Episcopalian and Roman Catholic places of worship, a poorhouse, a railway station, and extensive manufactories of boots and shoes, leather, and agricultural implements. Population, in 1871, 3797; in 1881, 4474.

                In the olden time, it is said that there stood within its precincts ''no fewer than 28 baronial mansions, stately, turreted and strong,'' whose lofty interior walls glittered with swords and spears and battle‑axes. They were the winter residences of the chivalrous chiefs of Carrick, who carried on a perpetual warfare with themselves and their neighbours in Kyle.  Only one of the more recent of these, erected in 1650 as a residence of the Earls of Cassillis, now remains; and even the ruins of most of the others have disappeared, having been utilized in the building of ordinary dwellings.  The ruins of a Collegiate Church, founded by Sir John Kennedy in 1371, are still preserved.  Walter Kennedy, early  Scotch poet, a descendant of the founder, is understood to have been Provost of the Church.  The poet was born about 1460, but in which of the ancient castles we are unable to certify.  He wrote "The Praise of Age," and "Flyting."  His great contemporary poet, Dunbar ‑ related to the Dunbars of New Cumnock Castle ‑ mentions him feelingly in his "Lament for the Makkars."  Walter Kennedy died about 1508.

                The village of MINISHANT is on the new Ayr Road, three and a half miles north of the town, near the river Doon. It has a public school, a post office, a smithy, a joiner's shop, a woollen factory, and Cassillis Railway Station less than a mile off.  Auchendrane Castle, re‑built, stands near it.  The hamlet and smithy of CULROY BRIDGE, the seats of Grange House, Otterden House, and the old castle of Sauchrie are up a beautiful bosky burn to the west of it.  Two miles farther down the Doon, opposite Burns' Monument, stand the renovated old castle of Newark  ‑ where Queen Mary is said to have slept on the night after the battle of Langside ‑ Doonside House, Carrick House, and a new church.  On the sea shore, a little to the west, is the ruin of Greenan Castle.  Returning to Maybole by the roundabout shore road, we pass the Heads of Ayr, a high, rocky promontory, two and a half miles west‑by‑south of Doon mouth.  It affords some protection to the harbour of Ayr from south winds.  The hamlet of FISHERTON a mile farther south‑west three furlongs from the beach, has a public school and an Established Church (forming a quoad sacra parish), with a population of 609.  Fully a mile inland we, are on the summit of Brown Carrick Hill, 940 feet above the sea.  It is the best view‑point of Ayrshire.  The next best are Knockgeorgian Hill, Ardrossan, and Blacksidend Hill Sorn.  Descending west, we pass the ruins of Dunduff Castle and old Kirkbride, and arrive at the fishing village of Dunure, with its little harbour, constructed in 1841; also the ruins of Dunure Castle, the original seat of the great family of Kennedy, whose rise to Earl of Cassillis and Marquis of Ailsa has formed a feature of Scottish history.  Prior to the Reformation, the Kennedys were strong benefactors of the Church.  James Kennedy, born at Dunure, 1405, became Bishop of Dunkeld, 1438; Bishop of St. Andrews, 1440; Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, 1444; conducted the education of James III; founded and liberally endowed St. Salvator's College, St. Andrews.  Gilbert Kennedy, third Earl of Cassillis; Lord of Session, born 1515, was educated at St. Andrews, where, at the age of 12 years, he was forced along with others to sign sentence of death on Patrick Hamilton.  In manhood he warmly embraced the Protestant faith, and was an enthusiastic supporter of George Wishart, the martyr, on is preaching tour through Ayrshire.  Gilbert, fourth Earl born 1520, though he took the behalf of Queen Mary at the battle of Langside, does not appear to have done so in support of her religion.  The cruel system, then practised by the Roman priesthood, of torturing people on their deathbed with the terrors of hell‑fire till they signed grants of land to the Church, would seem to have enlarged the acres of Crossraguel Abbey, near Maybole, at the expense of Dunure estate; for, in September 1570, the Earl got a hold of Alan Stewart, head of the Abbey, and here, in Dunure Castle, practically turned the scales by fixing him uncomfortably near an infernal big fire, which he kept poking and poking, and kept him there roasting until he complied to sign certain charters of Abbey lands to his satisfaction.  Proceeding south, past the farmhouse of Drumshang, the road leaves the shore ‑ as does also the boundary of the parish ‑ and goes south‑eastward to Maybole.  Fully a mile south of the town stands the renovated ancient castle of Kilkenzie.

                The parish has rather a round shape north of the town, formed by the Brown Carrick range of pastoral hill, with a cultivated base all round, studded with farmers' houses, which is flattest and broadest on the south‑east.  A narrow piece, extending south of the town, is partly arable and partly hilly.  A very small point of the parish projects along the sea sands about six furlongs north of the Doon.  From there, south to half‑a‑mile beyond Craigfin, its length is nine and a half miles; and from Dunure Point, east to the Doon at Paterson, its widest part is six miles.  Area, 21,993 acres.  Population in 1871, 5900; in 1881, 6628.




EAst of Maybole.  The village of Kirkmichael. is finely placed on the north bank of Dyrock Burn, crossed here by a bridge, half‑a‑mile north of Girvan Water, and three miles east of Maybole. It has an Established Church, a public school, a post office; grocer's, shoemaker's, blacksmith's, and joiner's shops; Kirkmichael Arms Inn, and a grain mill.  Population in 1871, 372; in 1881, 343.  Kirkmichael House stands, embellished with woods, on the opposite side of the burn.  Cloncaird Castle stands amid more extensive sylvan adornings, on the right bank of the Girvan, one mile and a quarter south‑east.

The village of CROSSHILL is built on the left side of Girvan Water, crossed here by a bridge, two miles south‑west of Kirkmichael. It is a bright looking place, with shops, a post office (with money order and savings bank departments), Established and Free Churches, public schools, various blacksmiths' and joiners' shops, and a grain mill.  Population in 1871, 835; in 1881, 740.

                Cassillis House, a grand old place, partly modern, embosomed in umbrageous woods on the Doon, is two and a half miles north of Kirkmichael.  John Kennedy, sixth Earl of Cassillis, born 1600, was a powerful Covenanter and a chief leader of the Presbyterians who met in the famous Glasgow Assembly of 1638, and, with Henderson as Moderator, abolished Episcopacy in Scotland in defiance of the English advisers of Charles 1.  His wife, Lady Jean Hamilton, daughter of the Earl of Haddington, is the reputed heroine, and Cassillis House the scene, of the ballad, "Johnnie Faa, the Gipsy Laddie."  Sir John Faa was a former lover who came to Cassillis, disguised as a gipsy, and eloped with her ladyship.

"The gipsies they cam to my Lord Cassillis yett,

And O! but they sang bonnie;

They sang sae sweet, an sae complete,

That doun cam our fair lady.


She cam tripping doun the stairs,

Wi' a' her maids before her;

As soon as they saw her weelfaur'd face,

They coost their glamourie ower her."


It is likewise the opening scene of Burns' Halloween:‑


Upon that night, when fairies light

On Cassillis Downans dance."


The Downans are little hills to the south‑east of the Castle, on two of which is the bare grassy ring of an ancient British camp for the fairies to dance in.

                The surface of the parish is finely diversified with heights and hollows, lochs and shrubby burns, numerous individual trees, and knots and rows of plantation. It is mostly in a state of culture, save Cloncaird Moor, east of the Castle, and a narrow point at the south end, which rises at a difficult crank of an old road ‑ called the Deil's Elbow ‑ to a height of 817 feet, and at Glenalla, Fell to 1406 feet above sea level.  Freestone and limestone are plentiful.  From the back of Glenalla Fell, north to the Doon at Dalrymple, the length of the parish is nine miles; and from Ballochbroe, eastward to half‑a‑mile beyond Loch Spallander, its widest part is five miles.  Area, 15,930 acres.  Population in 1871, 2254; in 1881, 1781.




SOUTH‑EAST of Kirkmichael.  The village of Straiton lies at the union of Lamdoughty Burn with Girvan Water, near the north‑west boundary of the parish, six and a half miles south‑east of Maybole.  It is a pretty little place, invested with pastoral hills east, south, and north, and the cultivated broad vale of the Girvan on the west.  It has an Established Church, a public school, a post office, a smithy, shoemaker's, joiner's, and cartwright's shops.  In the Churchyard is the martyr's grave of Thomas Machaffie, a fine young man, a farmer's son, who in January, 1686, removed from long hiding in a cold, damp cave which had brought on fever, and ‑ not daring to go home to the dwelling of his father and mother ‑ was lying ill in a house at Linfairn, two and a half miles south of the village, where he was found by Captain Bruce and his men, who took him out of his bed and out of the house and instantly shot him.  A stone marks the spot where he fell.

                Blairquhan Castle stands a mile west of the village, with the Girvan meandering through its luxuriant policies and the whole is overlooked by the lofty Craigengower, whose summit 1086 feet high, is crowned with a monument to the brave Colonel Blair of Blairquhan.

The village of PATNA stands on the Doon, which traces the east boundary of the parish, four miles north‑by‑east of Straiton, and nine and a half miles from Ayr.  It has grocery and drapery shops; a post office, with money order and savings bank departments; Established and United Presbyterian Churches, a public school, a smithy, and a railway station.  Population in 1871, 766; in 1881, 603. This includes 179 in Dalmellington parish, over the bridge.

Dalvennan Farm, about two miles west of Patna, is the native place of the Rev. Hugh Binning, who was born 1627, graduated M.A., and was appointed to the Professorship of Philosophy in Glasgow University, July, 1646.  He left a number of theological works in manuscript, published after his death, which took place at the early age of 26.

Berbeth House, on the Doon, seven miles above Patna, is famous for its connection with the distinguished Generals Cathcart, and for its romantic scenery of Ness Glen and Loch Doon.  (See Dalmellington.)

In the immediate neighbourhoods of Patna and Straiton are some cultivated fields, but the surface of nearly the whole parish is hill and moor. The south half contains about half‑a‑dozen lochs, the largest of which is Loch Doon.  From fully a mile north of Patna, southward, its length is 14 miles; and its width across the middle is eight miles ‑ comprising 49,801 acres.  Population in 1871, 1443; in 1881, 1241.




WEST of Straiton.  The village of Dailly, called also New Dailly, stands on the left bank. of Girvan Water, in the centre of a rich, cultivated, wooded valley that extends south‑west to the sea at Girvan Town, from which it is distant about six miles, and is six miles south‑by‑west of Maybole.  It presents a handsome appearance, and has a railway station, an inn, shops, a post office (with telegraph, money order, and savings bank departments), Established and Free Churches, and a public school.  Coalworks and tileworks are near it.  Population in 1871, 554; in 1881, 696.

                Thomas Thomson, Law of Scotland antiquary, was born in the Manse of Dailly, 1768.  On the death of Sir Walter Scott, in 1832, Thomson succeeded him as president of the Bannatyne Club.  Died 1852.

                Dalquharran Castle, a fine residence, occupies the opposite side of the water, and the ruins of two ancient castles are close by.  The Right Hon. Thomas Francis Kennedy of Dalquharran, born 1789; M.P. for Ayr Burghs, 1818‑34; a Lord of the Treasury, 1833‑4; Privy Councillor, 1837. Died here in 1879, aged 90.  The seat of Kilkerran, with its large pleasure‑ground and gardens, is two and a half miles up the water.  Sir James Fergusson, Lord Kilkerran, second Baronet, born 1688, and Sir James, Fergusson, K.C.M.G., sixth Baronet of Kilkerran, born 1832, have made the name illustrious.

                The hamlet of KILGRAMMIE, with public school, is about one mile and a half north‑west of Dailly. Bargany, a seat of the Earl of Stair, stands two miles below the village. Bargany Mains is notable as the birthplace of two poets.  The Rev. Hamilton Paul, an early and enthusiastic editor and biographer of Burns, was born here, April 10, 1773.  At Glasgow University he had Thomas Campbell for a class‑mate.  In 1800 he published "Paul's Epistles to Female Students in Anderson's Institution," and is the author also of a few songs.  In 1813 he was ordained minister of Broughton, Peeblesshire; and in 1819 was published at Ayr his edition of the Poems and Songs of Burns, with Memoir.  Died February 28, 1854, aged 81.  Hugh Ainslie, poet, was born under the same roof, 1792; obtained employment in the Register House, Edinburgh; published in 1820 "A Pilgrimage to the Land of Burns;" in 1822 went to the United States, where he was employed as a commercial traveller; and in 1855 published his "Scottish Songs, Ballads, and Poems."  Died at Louisville, 1878, aged 86.

                Killochan Castle and Penkill Castle are seats in the lower end of the parish; and not a great way from them are the ruined Church and Churchyard of Old Dailly, containing the grave and monument of two martyrs of 1686. There is no village.


"I pass Old Dailly, lonely‑looking spot:

A few small stones appear above the graves

Of those who are below.  How soon they are forgot!

That aged tree so solemnly that waves,

Has witnessed many a tear and many a sigh,

And many a striving for the hope that saves

From cold despair. How sad it is to die!

How mournfuI in the silent grave to lie!"


                The parish of Dailly contains most of the Girvan Valley coal field, ascertained to be about four miles long by half‑a‑mile broad. The seams in descent are:‑ Main coal, 10 to 12 feet in thickness; little coal, 3 to 4 feet; carmel coal, 3 to 5 feet; rotten coal, 6 feet.  Limestone and freestone are also obtained.  The parish measures eight miles by five miles, and comprises 17,962 acres.  Population in 1871, 1932; in 1881; 2226.


                Ailsa Craig belongs to this parish.  It is a great conical rock, two miles in circumference and 1114 feet high, standing alone in the sea, 10 miles west of the shore at Girvan.  It is the native home of innumerable sea‑fowl, many rabbits, and some wild goats.  A lighthouse and two fog signal houses were erected on it in 1884‑85, at a cost of £25,000, and are attended by four keepers.  Previous to 1884 it contained only the dwelling of a solitary tenant and his family on the beach, and the ruins of a square castle of three stories at a considerable height up the rock, built, we suppose, about the end of the sixteenth century, by Hugh Barclay of Ladyland, Kilbirnie, as a place of refuge and defence for some of the then persecuted Roman Catholic clergy.




ON the shore, north‑west of Dailly.  The village of Kirkoswald stands near Milton Burn, on its north‑west side, one mile and a half east of the shore, and four miles south‑west of Maybole; is a graceful looking old place, having Established and Free Churches, a public school, a post office, several shops, an inn, and the businesses of joinor, mason, blacksmith, tailor, and shoemaker. Population in 1871, 302.

                It possesses much interest in association with Burns, who spent here his nineteenth summer, residing with a maternal uncle, Mr. Samuel Brown, at Ballochneil, a mile and a quarter south‑west, down the burn, and attending Mr. Rogers' "noted school " in the village, where he studied "mensuration, surveying, dialling, &c."  His uncle was a small farmer and miller, and also brewed and sold home‑brewed ale.  Of the customers who frequented the mill were Douglas Graham, farmer in Shanter, over a hill near the shore, and John Davidson, shoemaker at Jameston, near the shore ‑ the famous "Tam o' Shanter and Souter Johnny."  The old house at Ballochneil is extinct.  In the Churchyard are the tombstones of Tam o' Shanter and Souter Johnny, and on that of the former are the lines –


"She tauld thee weel thou wast a skellum,

A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum."


Here also are the honoured graves of a number of Burns' maternal ancesters, which have been recently monumented anew.  The Poet inherited most of his wisdom from his father, but the poetic gift ‑ the boundless love and humour, tender pathos and music ‑ seems to have come to him more through his mother.  The credulous and superstitious old woman who resided in the family, and had in her memory such a vast collection of fairy tales and songs, which she poured into him, and which, he says, "cultivated the latent seeds of poetry," was a relative of his mother.  He mentions also another relative of his mother, an old man, whose greatest enjoyment was to sit down and "greet" while she ‑ the Poet's mother, then a young girl ‑ sang to him "The Life and Age of Man."

                The little village of MAIDENS, on the shore, has a new yacht‑building yard belonging to the Marquess of Ailsa, whose seat of Culzean Castle stands on the edge of a high sea‑cliffe, about  two miles north‑west of Kirkoswald.  The castle was built about 1775, and has a very noble aspect.  Its ornamental forest and grounds ‑ traversed by miles of drives and walks ‑ and its gardens are very fine and extensive.

                Turnberry Castle, now a poor old ruin, occupies an eminence whose rocky feet are laved by the sea waves at Turnberry Point, where there is a lighthouse two and a half miles south‑west of Kirkoswald.  It is of unknown antiquity, but comes into history as the residence of the Earls of Carrick.  Margaret, widowed Countess of Carrick, married Robert Bruce, Lord of Annandale.  Her son, Robert Bruce, born March 21, 1274, at the age of 17 became one of nine competitors for the crown of Scotland (or ten, including Edward of England).  Accounts of the various means by which this most indefatigable character overcame his Scottish rivals must always be contumelious; and we shall mention only how he ultimately vanquished his English enemy by leading an army of 40,000 Scotch against an army of 100,000 English, led by Edward II of England, at Bannockburn, June 24, 1813, (sic) when the English were ignominiously defeated and sent reeling home with their Norman King, leaving 30,000 of their number dead on the field, amongst whom were 200 knights and 700 squires; continued the war, by invading England, until that country was thoroughly subdued and a treaty of peace, on his own terms, signed at Northampton, March 4, 1328.  Having thus seen the reparation of his own and his country's honour and independence, King Robert I died June 7, 1329, aged 55 years.  He was interred in the Abbey of Dunfermline.

                Crossraguel Abbey, a magnificent fabric in ruin, stands two and a half miles from Kirkoswald, on the road to Maybole. It was founded in 1260.

                The surface of the parish is charmingly diversified with little hills and hollows, woods and scattered trees, corn, green crop, and grass fields, intersected by the courses of brilliant burns, here and there deepening into shrubby glens. Its length, along the shore to a little south of Dowhill, is seven miles; and from Kilkerran Sawmill, on the Girvan, westward by the acid works in Glenshalloch Wood, to the shore, its greatest width is fully six miles.  Area, 14,861 acres.  Population in 1871, 1846; in 1881, 1781.




SOUTH of Kirkoswald.  The town of Girvan stands on the left side of Girvan Water, where it enters the sea, 22 miles south‑south‑west of Ayr; had some existence so early as the eleventh century, and has increased and decreased much with the industry of handloom weaving. It largely consists of one‑story houses, with gardens, and stretches to a great length along a plain on the shore; is a seaport and fishing station, a seat of sheriff‑courts, and a burgh of barony, created so by Charles II in 1668.  It has a Town Hall; a head post office, with telegraph, money order, insurance, annuity, and savings bank departments; British Linen Company, Commercial, National, Royal, and Union Banks; numerous, shops, two hotels, a mechanics' institute, three public schools, two Established Churches; Free, United Presbyterian, Reformed Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Roman Catholic Churches; two railway stations, and a steamboat quay.  Population in 1871, 4791; in 1881, 4505.

                Rev. Peter Hately Waddell, LL.D, born at Balquhatston, Slamannan, May 19, 1816; licensed minister of' Established Church, 1841; joined Free Church at the Disruption, 1843; but, disagreeing on some point of' government, left it the same year, and founded a church for himself at Girvan, known as Waddell's Church, where he preached for 19 years; in 1862 removed to Glasgow, and founded Trades' Hall Congregation, still independent of any other denomination.  As chairman at the Burns' Centenary celebration in the Cottage, Alloway, 1859, he delivered an address that at once raised him to fame as a man of high literary genius.  Has published lectures on Burns, Shakespeare, Scott, Knox, and Luther; an edition of Burns, critical and biographical, in which he has restored to the original many alterations made by previous editors; also, "Psalms frae Hebrew intil Scottis," "Isaiah intil Scottis," "Christ of Revealation and Reality," "Behold the Man, a Tragedy for the Closet," "Osian and the Clyde," &c.  The degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him by Tusculum College, United States, in 1868.  Dr. Waddell was member of Glasgow School Board, 1873‑79. His writings on Burns take rank with the highest on the subject.

                The seat of Ardmillan, about three miles from the town, has been rendered famous by James Crawford, Lord Ardmillan, born 1805; educated at Ayr Academy, and, studied for the law at Glasgow and Edinburgh; admitted to the faculty of advocates, 1829; Sheriff of Perthshire, 1848; Solicitor‑General, 1853; raised to the Bench, 1854; decided the notorious Yelverton case, 1865.  Died September  7, 1876, aged 71.  The seat of Glendoune stands about a mile from the town.


"Above Glendoune there is a quiet hill,

High and peaceful; here awhile I'll wait,

And listen, to the murmer of the rill.

Up in the sky the lark is singing sweet.

I see the ocean spreading far and wide,

Where Ailsa Craig is standing all alone,

A fragment cast up from the wreck of time,

Where silence reigns in solitude sublime. "


                Vestiges of five ancient camps are traceable in different parts of the parish.  The surface of the parish is chiefly hill pasture, with some fine arable land along the shore, and, where it is traversed by the Girvan in the north and by Assel Water, an affluent of the Stinchar, in the east.  Its length, north and south, is eight miles; and its widest part, across the middle, is five miles.  Area, 14,580 acres. Population in 1871, 5685; in 1881, 5480.

Girvan Water rises among lochs in the south of Straiton parish; flows north‑westward first, rather rapidly, through wild moors and a narrow glen to Straiton village, a little above which are the Falls of Girvan; thence through an open vale to near the village of Kirkmichael ‑ about half its length ‑ where it turns and flows south‑west through the same vale past Crosshill, and through a great wooded valley between hills past Dailly slowly to the sea, 25 miles.  Below Straiton Hills the open vale is finely diversified with dairy farms; glens run into the hills south and east.


" O'er Straiton hills the sun is rising bright,

The glens beneath are sleeping in the shade ‑

Sweet varied landscape with its scattered trees,

And hay and cornfields waving in the breeze."


And, as the day advances­


"The eye is filled with woods and sunny hills,

And flowery plains, with many a rural farm.

Refreshing springs are bursting from the dales,

Dear to the labourer oppressed and warm.


How sweet to him the noon‑day hour of rest,

As on the shaded banks his limbs he lays‑‑

Shut from the scorching sun he rests at ease,

Where cooling, breezes wan der through the trees."


Farther down, in the parish of Dailly, the valley, densely wooded and bounded with hills, has, in some places the character of a rich and grand solitude.


"Ye poets who lament for solitude,

This is the land where you might sing your fill,

Beneath the shadows of the waving wood,

Where Girvan wanders solemnly and still,

And green fields spread their bosoms to the sun;

On either side the mountains lift their heads

To meet the early dawn, or to enlist

The hovering footsteps of the wavering mist.


Pleasant it is upon a windy day,

To watch the storm which drives along the hills,

While now and then the sun lets out a ray

That for a time the rainy cloud dispels;

Pleasant it is throughout the varied year,

Shielded from summer's heat and winter's cold;

Here all the charms of nature are combined

In all their fairest forms to please mankind."




EAST of Girvan. The village of Barr stands on Stinchar River, near the north‑west side of the parish, about, seven miles east‑south‑east of Girvan, and fully five miles from a railway station.  It has Established and Free Churches, a public school, a post office, an inn, grocer's, shoemaker's, and blacksmith's shops.

                Sir Andrew Lusk, M.P., Alderman of the city of London, son of John Lusk of Barr, born September 18, 1812, left his home in early life with only a few shillings in his pocket; worked his way up to the position of a London merchant and shipowner; Sheriff of London, 1860; M.P. for Finsbury, London, 1865‑85; Lord Mayor of London, 1873; created a Baronet, 1874. Sir Andrew has an oldish country mansion, with fine gardens and ornamental park, six or eight miles to the north‑by‑west of London.

                The surface of the parish is nearly all hills and mountains.  On the east boundary, Kirriereoch Hill, 2562, and Shalloch, 2520 feet above sea level, are the highest mountains in the shire.  There is a narrow strip of cultivated land along the river. From the Stinchar, at the foot of Assel Water, east to Carrick Lane, on the march with Kirkcudbrightshire, the length of the parish is 15 miles, and its widest part is about 10 miles.  Area, 54,876 acres, being the largest parish in the county.  Population in 1841, 959; in 1871, 672; in 1881, 600.




SOUTH‑WEST of Barr. The village of Colmonell sits on the right bank of the Stinchar, crossed here by a bridge, three miles south‑east of the sea shore, and nine or ten miles by road south of Girvan. It has Established, Free, and United Original Secession Churches, a public school, a telegraph and post office, a shop or two, and an inn. Population in 1871, 306. In the Churchyard is the Covenanter's grave of Matthew Micklewraith, who was executed by the soldiers under command of Claverhouse, 1685. Craigneil Castle ruin is across the river.

The village of BARRHILL stands on Dusk Water, a large tributary of the Stinchar, six or seven miles east of Colmonell. It has a railway station, a Free Church, a public school, a Union Bank, a post office (with money order and savings bank departments), several shops, and two hotels. Population, 326. Near to it is the martyrs' monument of John Murchie and Daniel M'llwraith, two young men who were shot here in 1685.

John Burt, poet and divine, was born at Knockmalloch, 1789. He was learning the trade of a handloom weaver when, at the age of 18, he was pressed into the navy, and served on board the Magnificent till 1812. In 1816 he had so far advanced his education as to be able to teach a school at Kilmarnock.  To escape prosecution for having taken part in a political agitation, Mr. Burt emigrated to the United States, where he put himself to Princetown College; became Presbyterian minister at Salem, and in 1835 was appointed to a Theological Professorship.  Died March 24, 1866, aged 77.

The hamlet of PINWHERRY, to the west of Barrhill, has a public school, a railway station, and the ruins of an old castle.  At ARNSHEEN is an Established Church, forming a quoad sacra parish.  The hamlet of LENDALFOOT, with public school, is on the shore.  About two miles from Lendalfoot is the great sea‑cliff precipice, the scene of the ballad "May Culzean."  May Culzean's newly‑wedded husband led her as on a pleasure excursion to enjoy the view from the top of this precipice.  When standing on the brink, he commanded her to strip off her costly silk gown and jewels, and submit to the fate of six former wives, whom he had married for their property, and thrown over the cliff.  As the poor young lady was proceeding, in obedience to her husband's command, she begged him not to look at her, as she did not like to be seen naked; and when he turned his frightful gaze she gained courage, seized hold of him, and dashed him over the precipice in a moment, mounted her horse and galloped off to her father's home.  Chief seats are Ballochmorie, Dalgerroch, Drumlamford, Knockdolian, and Pinmore.

The surface of the parish abounds in moorish hills and glens, but is delightfully wooded and cultivated on the banks of the Stinchar and the Dusk.  From the sea, at the foot of Knockdolian Hill, east‑south‑east to a little beyond Drumlamford House, the length of the parish is 15 miles and its greatest width is about seven miles – comprising 47,490 acres.  Population in 1871, 2293; in 1881, 2191.




SOUTH‑WEST of Colmonell, and forming the most southerly point of the county.  The village of Ballantrae stands on the right bank of the Stinchar, where it is crossed by a bridge, and ends in the sea, four and a half miles below Colmonell, and 13 miles south‑south‑west of Girvan.  It is a seaport and fishing station, with a small artificial tidal harbour; has a post office, with telegraph, money order and savings bank departments; a Commercial Bank, a number of shops, a hotel, Established and Free Churches, a public school, and ruins of an ancient castle.  Population in 1871, 515; in 1881, 426.

                The hamlet of GLENAPP ‑ comprising an Established Church, a public school, and a post office ‑ occupies a sequestered spot on App Water, which, rising in the centre of the parish, flows south‑westward through the beautifully wooded and whinny‑browed Glen App, into Loch Ryan, which is a deep bay of the sea.  The seat of Glenapp stands in the same charming glen.  A mile south, along the pleasant shore from the foot of Glen App, is the foot of Galloway Burn, the southern extremity of the parish and of Ayrshire.  The surface of the parish is an assemblage of high, benty hills, with numerous small burn glens running outward all round, a fine arable slope descending to the Stinchar in the north.  Its length is about 10 miles, and its breadth about seven miles.  Area, 33,561 acres.  Population in 1871, 1442; in 1881, 1277.  The river Stinchar rises near the sources of the Girvan and the Doon, and flows south‑westward through the parishes of Barr, Colmonell, and Ballantrae, to the sea, 30 miles.  In its middle and lower reaches it flows slowly through plantations and little arable plains.


"Pleasant it is to lean upon the bent,

And view the landscape spreading far and wide;

Hills rise on hills beyond the eye's extent,

High‑towering into heaven on every side.

The Stinchar murmurs slowly down the vale;

I hear some voices from the busy farms

That here and there are scattered o'er the plains

Where rural life in all its pleasure reigns."




The village of WATERSIDE stands on the right bank of Doon, at the foot of Green Hill ‑ which rises to a height of 450 feet above the river ‑ three miles north‑west of Dalmellington. It was founded, along with the extensive Dalmellington Ironworks adjacent to it, in 1847; consists of long, uniform streets or rows; and has a public school, a railway station, and a post office, with telegraph, money order, and savings bank departments, styled Dunaskin.  Population in 1871, 1473; in 1881, 1681.  Less than a mile east of it, on Dunaskin Burn, is the site of Laight Castle, where Alpine, King of Scots, was defeated and killed in a battle fought A.D. 837. The village of BURNFOOTHILL lies a mile to the north‑west.  Population in 1871, 1421; in 1881, 1690.  The village of PATNA stands a little farther down the Doon, on its left bank, in the parish of Straiton.  But its railway station, the little seat of Downieston, and a considerable number of other houses connected with it by a stone bridge, and having a population of 179, are in the parish of Dalmellington.  The village Of BENQUHAT has a population of 772.

Going north‑east from the town of Dalmellington, the New Cumnock Road shortly turns eastward, up Cumnock Burn, beautifully wooded for some distance, and flanked with lofty hills.  On its north side is the precipitous Benbeoch, 1521 feet high, affording a grand view of New Cumnock vale and hills. Going south of the town, the banks of Doon River become richly adorned with plantations up to Loch Doon, three miles.

The loch lies between high moors, is six miles in length from north to south, and three‑quarters of a mile broad near its middle, but its general breadth is less than half‑a‑mile.  It contains several small islands, and on one of them, at the south end, the ruins of an old castle.  It is the largest lake in Ayrshire, and far the most famous for trout angling.  Its east shore, as far as the widest part, is in Dalmellington parish, and south of that is in Carsphairn parish, Kirkcudbright.  Though Loch Doon and the mansion of Barbeth, a mile north of it, belong to the environs of Dalmellington, they are in the parish of Straiton.  The main feeders of the loch are Gala Lane and Carrick Lane, rising seven miles to the south, in Kirkcudbrightshire.  The river Doon, issuing from the north end of Loch Doon, descends at once into the bosom of Glen Ness, an amazingly narrow and deep ravine ‑ a few yards wide, 200 feet deep, and nearly a mile in length.  There is a footpath along its bottom, hewn out of the rock, a few feet above the current.  The rugged, perpendicular, rocky walls of each side, which are only the length of a fishing rod apart, are beautifully variegated with a rich diffusion of tangled botanic greenary, sprinkled with flowers, the slender leafy branches of trees interlacing overhead, away up, up, and up among the love‑throated birds, to a glimmering streak of sky.  It is almost frightful, and exceedingly beautiful.  Emerging from Glen Ness and Berbeth Woods, the river gradually veers from a north to a north‑west direction, through bogs and meadows for some miles, especially fine on sunny days in the haymaking season, its brows becoming again graced with woods past Patna and Carnochan, and so continuing, with few breaks, to the sea.  Its length from Loch Doon is about 22 miles.