KILMARNOCK - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

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

"KILMARNOCK, a parish and large manufacturing town in the district of Cunninghame, county Ayr, Scotland. The parish is 9 miles long and its greatest breadth is 5. The Irvine bounds it on the S; on the other side it is encompassed by the parishes of Kilmours, Fenwick, and Loudoun. The surface is generally flat. The soil is fertile, and the land in a high state of cultivation. The Kilmarnock water traverses the interior. This parish is in the presbytery of Irvine and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The two ministers have a stipend respectively of £145 and £148. The High Kirk was built in 1732, the Laigh Kirk in 1802; St. Andrew's church in 1841. There are also three Free churches, three United. Presbyterian churches, a Reformed Presbyterian church, Evangelical Union, Baptist, and Roman Catholic chapels, besides a chapel-of-ease, and one or two other meeting-houses for different Protestant sects. The academy at Kilmarnock was established in 1807. There are two parish schools, besides Stewart's endowed school, Free Church, Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, ragged, and several private schools. The principal landowners are the Duke of Portland, the Marquis of Hastings, Crawfurd of Crawfurdland, Blane of Grouger, Porleans of Monkland, Parker of Aisloss, and Dunlop of Annanhill. The ancient church was attached to Kilwinning monastery. The parish of Fenwick was formed in 1641 by a detachment from the northern division of this parish. Near the confluence of the Kilmarnock water with the river Irvine stands the town, in a spot about 11 miles N.E. of Ayr and 21 S.W. of Glasgow. It is a station on the Ayr and Glasgow railway. Kilmarnock was formerly a mere hamlet, but is now an important town and flourishing seat of manufactures. The thoroughfares are regularly laid out and the houses principally built of stone. The townhall, containing the court and public offices, was built in 1805. The public news-room was erected in 1814. The observatory is 70 feet high and commands an extensive view. In the market-place stands a monument erected in 1847 to Sir James Shaw. There are several excellent societies and institutions, including the procurators and merchants' societies, the philosophical institution, benefit clubs, libraries, Gray's museum of antiquities, six branch banks, viz: Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Banking Company, Commercial, National, Royal, and Union Banks. Kilmarnock was long celebrated for the manufacture of the flat Lowland bonnets so much worn by the peasantry. But this important branch has been recently superseded by the manufactures of carpets and shawls. A considerable shoemaking trade is also carried on, and there are two breweries, rope walks, iron foundries, &c., in operation. The incorporated trades are bonnet-makers, skinners, tailors, shoemakers, and weavers. The town is governed by a provost, four bailies, and eleven councillors. It sends one member to parliament, together with Dumbarton, Port Glasgow, Renfrew, and Rutherglen. It is a free burgh of barony and was chartered in 1591 by Lord Boyd. The Kilmarnock Weekly Post is published on Saturdays. It was here that Burns published his first volume of poems. In the vicinity of the town is Dean Castle, formerly a fortified residence of the earls of Kilmarnock; and Kilmarnock House, also a residence of the same family, the last of whom was beheaded in 1745 for taking part in the rebellion in favour of the Stuarts. The old castle was accidentally burnt in 1735. Kilmarnock gives title of baron to the Earl of Erroll. Market days are Friday and Tuesday. Fairs are held in February, on the first Tuesday in May, the third Wednesday in July, and the third Wednesday in October (old style)."

"HENDERSON, a quoad sacra parish in the parish of Kilmarnock, county Ayr, Scotland, 2 miles from Kilmarnock, which see."

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

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