"BEITH, a parish and market town, in the Cunningham district of the county of Ayr, and partly in the county of Renfrew, Scotland, 18 miles to the S.W. of Glasgow. It is situated in a pleasant and fertile district on the banks of the Rye Water, near Loch Kilbirnie, and is a station on the Glasgow and South-Western railway. The parish includes, in addition to the post town of its own name, the villages of Gateside, Northbar, and Burnhouse. The town, which has grown into importance since the commencement of the 18th century, when it consisted of only a few poor dwellings, is seated on a lofty eminence, commanding extensive prospects over the surrounding country. The streets are not regularly built, but they contain many good houses and are lighted with gas. There is a townhouse, which was erected in 1817, a news-room, subscription library, and three branch banks. The principal branches of industry are the manufacture of linen yarn, calicoes, and silk printing and dyeing. There are many dairy-farms, and a large quantity of the cheese called "Dunlop cheese" (from the neighbouring parish) is made here. Coal, lime stone, and freestone are obtained in abundance, and some ironstone. The living, of the value of £241, is in the presbytery of Irvine, and the patronage of the Earl of Eglinton. The church, a handsome edifice with a spire, erected in 1807, stands on the loftiest spot in the town. There are places of worship belonging to the Free Church, and the United Presbyterians, and several good schools. Until 1838, when it fell down, the ruins of Giffeu Castle, the old seat of the Eglintons, was a conspicuous object; and on the shore of Loch Kilbrinie, are those of Glengarnock Castle, now belonging to the Earl of Glasgow. On the summit of the lofty Cuff hill, a supposed seat of Druidical worship, is a rocking-stone, which a touch suffices to move. Stone coins and urns have been discovered in cairns in this parish. Dr. John Wotherspoon, afterwards President of Prince town College, New Jersey, was minister of this parish in 1745, when he raised and led a company of volunteers for the king. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Falkirk. Friday is the market day. Fairs are held on the first Friday in January, February, and November, and the 30th August."
"BURNHOUSE, a village in the parish of Beith, in the county of Ayr, Scotland, 11 miles to the N.W. of Kilmarnock. It is not far from the Glasgow and South-Western railway."
"GATESIDE, a village in the parish of Beith, county Ayr, Scotland, 9 miles N. of Irvine."
"NORTHBAR, a village in the parish of Beith, county Ayr, Scotland, 9 miles N. of Irvine, and 2 S.E. of Beith. It is situated on the road from Beith to Kilmarnock."
Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003