IRVINE - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"IRVINE, a parish, post and market town, and royal burgh and seaport, in the district of Cunninghame, county Ayr, Scotland. It is surrounded by the parishes of Stevenston, Kilwinning, Stewarton, Dreghorn, and Dundonald, and is about 4½ miles long, with a breadth of 3½ miles. The surface has its greatest elevation in the N.E., but in the opposite direction it becomes depressed and sandy. The soil is generally good. The parish is almost insulated by rivers. The Annock flows on the E. and S.E., the Irvine on the S., the Garnock on the S.W., and the Lugton on the N. and N.W. The roads from Irvine to Glasgow, Kilmarnock, and Kilwinning, and a portion of the Glasgow and Ayr railway, traverse the parish. This parish is a presbytery in the synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The minister has a stipend of £312. The church was erected in the town in 1774. It has a spire, and was repaired in 1830. There are also a Free and two United Presbyterian churches, a Baptist and a Roman Catholic chapel. The Irvine academy is situated in the town, and was built in 1814. The other schools are, a charity, a subscription, two adventure, and two ladies' schools. Eglinton Castle is the demesne of Earl Eglinton. The town, which consists chiefly of one main street, is situated at the mouth of the river Irvine, 10 miles N. of Ayr, and 69 from Edinburgh. It is a station on the Ayr and Glasgow railway. The extensive suburb of Fullarton is connected with the town by a stone bridge of four arches. The principal buildings are the townhall and gaol, built in 1745. The market cross was removed in 1694, and used in the building of a meal market. The management of the town is entrusted to a provost, 3 bailies, dean of guild, treasurer, and 18 councillors. The corporation revenue in 1859-60 was £2,023. The parliamentary constituency in 1854 was 248. It sends one member to parliament in union with Ayr, Campbeltown, Inverary, and Oban. The trade of Irvine is of considerable importance both as a seaport and seat of manufacture. The principal exports are, coals, carpeting, skins, cotton yarn and cloth, &c., and among its imports are, dairy and orchard produce, raw hides, stone, &c. The harbour is commodious, having from 9 to 11 feet water on the bar at spring tides. The principal branches of manufacture are, weaving, shipbuilding, leather dressing, ropemaking, and various miscellaneous trades. There are a mechanics' institute, library, and newsroom, also several insurance agencies and branch banks. The only newspaper published in the town is the Ayrshire News Letter. Irvine, anciently called Earwine, is a royal burgh of great antiquity, and was chartered by Bruce in 1308. It is interesting as being the birth-place of Montgomery the poet. Stone Castle, near Boutreehill, is supposed to be the remains of a nunnery. A convent belonging to the Carmelites or White Friars was founded here in the 14th century by the Fullartons, and was situated near the site of the parish church, but not the smallest vestiges of it now remain. The church of Irvine anciently belonged to the monks of Kilwinning. The sect called Buchanites first sprung into existence here in 1784, from the preaching of Mrs. Buchan, whose ravings captivated Whyte, then minister of the parish. A bailie court is held every week, and small-debt court every fortnight. The presbytery of Irvine includes Dreghorn, Stevenston, Ardrossan, Beith, Dalry, Dunlop, Fenwick, Irvine, Kilbirnie, West Kilbride, Kilmarnock, Kilmaur, Kilwinning, Loudon, and Stewarton. The Free Church district comprises all except the first two, and with the addition of Perceton and Saltcoats. Irvine gave the title of viscount to the family of Ingram, now extinct. Races take place annually at Eglinton Park. Monday is market day. Fairs are held on the first Wednesday in January, first Tuesday in May, and third Wednesday in August."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

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