AYRSHIRE ROOTS

Ayrshire Towns and Parishes

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 Mauchline 1846


MAUCHLINE, a manufacturing town and parish, in the county of Ayr, 8 miles (S. E. by S.) from Kilmarnock, and 11 (E. N. E.) from Ayr; containing, with the villages of Haugh and Auchmillan, 2156 inhabitants, of whom 1336 are in the town, 90 in the village of Haugh, 35 in that of Auchmillan, and the rest in the rural districts of the parish. This place derives its name from the Gaelic magh, a meadow, and linn, a lake, which together are descriptive of its most prominent features. The town is situated on the south side of a hill that intersects the parish, and at no great distance from the river Ayr; it was formerly a burgh of barony, and still retains something of its original character, being governed by a baron-bailie in conjunction with the county magistrates. It is neatly built and well inhabited. A public library is supported by subscription, and a certain portion of the funds is annually appropriated to the augmentation of the collection. The inhabitants are principally engaged in weaving, and in the manufacture of shoes, and snuff-boxes of wood. The manufacture of snuff-boxes affords employment to about 140 persons, and the articles produced are of admirable workmanship and of a great variety of elegant patterns; the weavers work at their own dwellings for the manufacturers of Glasgow and Paisley, and many of the inhabitants are occupied in the various trades requisite for the supply of the neighbourhood. The woollen manufacture is carried on in the village of Haugh, where is a mill for that purpose, which gives employment to thirty persons, chiefly in spinning yarn for the carpet manufactory of Kilmarnock. There are also a corn-mill, a lint-mill, a saw-mill, and one for grinding reaping-hooks, all set in motion by the Ayr. A post-office is established; and facility of communication is afforded by excellent roads, of which the turnpike-road from Ayr to Edinburgh, and that from Glasgow to London, intersect each other in the town; and by an elegant bridge over the river, which has one arch one hundred feet in span, and ninety feet high. Fairs are held on the first Thursday after the 4th of February, for cows and horses and for hiring servants; the second Thursday in April, for cows and general business; the first Wednesday after the 18th of May, and the third Wednesday in June, for cows and horses; the first Wednesday in August, for cows and horses and hiring of shearers; the first Thursday after the 26th of September, or on that day if it be Thursday, for cows, horses, ewes, and lambs; the first Thursday after the 4th of November, and the 4th Wednesday in December, for cows and horses. A horse-race takes place on the last Thursday in April. There is a small prison for the temporary confinement of petty offenders against the peace.


The parish has been reduced in extent by the separation from it of the parishes of Sorn and Muirkirk, and part of Tarbolton; it is situated nearly in the centre of the county, and is about eight miles in length and from two to four miles broad, and comprises 7206 acres, of which 500 are woodland and plantations, and the remainder arable in good cultivation, with a moderate portion of meadow and pasture. The surface is level, with the exception of a lofty ridge which intersects it in part from east to west, and terminates in a hill in the parish of Tarbolton. The river Ayr flows, in part of its course, between precipitous banks of red freestone about fifty feet in height: along it are numerous caverns cut out of the rock, and in other parts its sides are richly wooded, presenting some pleasingly-picturesque features. Near Barskimming it receives the waters of the Lugar; and after a course of ten miles further, it falls into the Frith of Clyde at Ayr. The only lake is Loch Brown, a fine sheet of water covering about sixty acres of ground, and frequented by aquatic fowl; it was long in contemplation to drain this lake, but it has been preserved for the supply of the mills to which it gives motion. There are numerous springs affording an abundant supply of water of excellent quality; some are supposed to possess mineral qualities, but they have not been yet analysed. The soil is various, but chiefly of a clayey nature interspersed with light sand, and in some parts a rich loam; it is well adapted to the culture of trees, of which several have attained a luxuriant growth. The crops are, grain of all kinds, potatoes, turnips, and carrots. The system of agriculture is improved, and the rotation plan of husbandry generally adopted; furrow-draining has been practised to a considerable extent, and the lands are inclosed with hedges of thorn kept in excellent order; the farm-houses are roofed with slate, and the offices well arranged and commodious. The woods are of oak, elm, beech, ash, and plane, and the plantations of larch, firs, ash, birch, and hazel; they are carefully managed, and in a very thriving state. On the lands of Barskimming are some larch-trees of remarkably fine growth; and in the churchyard is a stately and venerable ash, fifteen feet in girth, and apparently of great age. The substrata are chiefly limestone, ironstone, coal, and white and red freestone; the three first appear in beds of inconsiderable thickness, and are not wrought. The strata of red freestone are more than forty feet in depth, and extensively quarried for building purposes; the white freestone is exceedingly compact and durable, and is employed chiefly for paving and similar uses. The rateable annual value of the parish is 7572. Ballochmyle is a handsome mansion in the Grecian style, and chiefly of the Ionic order; Netherplace is a spacious castellated mansion in the Elizabethan style, pleasantly situated in a well-wooded demesne; and Kingincleugh Cottage is also a good residence.


Mauchline is in the presbytery of Ayr and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and patronage of the
Marquess of Hastings; the minister's stipend is 230. 19. 11., with a manse, and a glebe valued at 20 per annum. The church is a handsome and spacious edifice in the later English style, with a square embattled tower crowned by angular turrets rising to the height of ninety feet, and was erected in 1829, to replace the old church, which, being much dilapidated, was taken down; the interior is elegantly arranged and well lighted, and is adapted for a congregation of 1100 persons. There is a place of worship for the United Associate synod.

he parochial school affords a liberal education; the master receives a salary of 34, with 40 fees, and a house and garden. There is also a school at Crosshands; the master has a house and garden given by the Duke of Portland. Eight friendly societies are maintained in the town, two of which have been established for many years, and possess considerable funds; and all have contributed greatly to diminish the number of applications for parochial relief. A savings' bank was founded in 1815.

A battle is said to have taken place at Mauchline Muir, between the King's forces and the Covenanters, in 1647, when the former were defeated; and their military chest, which had been buried in the ground for concealment, was many years afterwards discovered. The only remains of an ancient monastery that existed here, subordinate to the abbey of Melrose, consist of a tower in the village, to which has been attached a building converting it into a residence called Mauchline Castle, for some time the abode of Gavin Hamilton, Esq., the friend of the poet Burns, who for nearly nine years occupied the farm of Mossgiel, in this parish, and while here published the first edition of his works, by the advice and under the patronage of Mr. Hamilton. Mauchline confers the title of Baron on the Marquess of Hastings.

 

From:  A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846)

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

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