The parish of Kilmarnock includes the town itself, now the largest in the county, together with the villages of Crosshouse, Crookedholm, and Hurlford - all now absorbed into the town.
Kilmarnock, a few miles inland from Irvine, is a busy industrial town once famous for its hose and bonnets. Later it became known for its locomotive works, hydraulic engineering and for the manufacture of carpets, fire-clay goods, boots and shoes and whisky.
An 1837 description of Kilmarnock, Riccarton, and Kilmaurs, including a listing of the key personalities of the towns, is given in this extract from Pigot's Directory for Ayrshire. The transcript was provided by Keith Muirhead from Queensland.
Nazareth House, Kilmarnock, a convent of the Poor Sisters of Nazareth, was established in Kilmarnock in the late 19th century and it opened the Nazareth House for Orphans and Old Folk in 1890.
The town is also of interest to Burns lovers being the place where "Wee Johnny" Wilson had his print-press, by the agency of which the first edition of Burn's poems was printed in 1786.
"Go, Fame and canter like a filly
Through a' the streets and neuks o' Killie."
Robert Burns (1759-96).
The principal place of Burns pilgrimage in Kilmarnock is the Burns Monument in Kay Park, which contains a fine museum with many relics of the poet. From the monument there are splendid views, by far the most striking nature being the peaks of the Isle of Arran (such as Goat Fell), seen to perfection across low land lying between Kilmarnock and the coast.
Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) the bacteriologist and discoverer of penicillin was educated at Darvel, Kilmarnock Academy, the Polytechnic Institute, Regent Street, London and St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London.
Today, Kilmarnock's industries include carpets, agricultural machinery, woollens, lace, footwear, earthenware, and whisky.
Hurlford is located just east of Kilmarnock at the start of the Irvine Valley which runs up into Lanark. In former times, Hurlford boasted two railway stations, with its own engine sheds and a railway repair shop. The village's only current claim to fame is the whisky bonded warehouse.