KILMAURS, Ayrshire

"A small town in Cunningham, 2 1/4 miles NNW of Kilmarnock. Its name is derived from the Galeic 'cill mor ais' literally meaning the hill of the great cairn. Itt is problematical whether the reference in this place name to a 'great grave' applies to the same one from wich the place name Kilmarnock was derived."

Carrick Gallovidian by J. Kevan McDowall, F.S,A. Scot. Published by Homer McCririck 236 High Street, Ayr, Scotland 1947.

Church History

"The parish church of Kilmaurs is situated nearly half-a-mile south eastward of the burgh, at a small place called the Kirkton, consisting of some half dozen or so of cottages. The pre-Reformation church was given, during the reign of William, by Robert, the son of Wernebald, the progenitor of the Glencairn family, to the monks of Kelso, and was held by them till the Reformation and served by a vicar. In 1633, when Charles I erected the bishopric of Edinburgh, he granted to the dean of St. Giles the church of Kilmaurs, with all its tithes and revenues."

"In 1403, Sir William Cuninghame founded at Kilmaurs a collegiate church for a provost, six prebendaries, and two singing boys. At what period the present church was erected is uncertain, though, from the frequent repairs and alterations it seems to have undergone, there can enter into the composition of the fabric but little of the collegiate church of Sir William Cuninghame. That some portions, however, of the old building still exist, seems not improbable, from the circumstance that, in repairing the east end of the church in 1773, there was discovered, beneath a coating of plaster, a small priestly effigy cut on one side of a stone cube, and placed in a niche made in the wall. Below the effigy of the saint was a hollowed stone, supposed to have been the basin for holding the holy water."

"Originally, the edifice had been of an oblong form, but subsequently, by the additions of the 'Glencairn Vault' to its south side, and the 'Robertson Aisle' to the north one, it became an irregular cruciform building. The west gable, which carries a small belfry, is considered the most ancient part of the church. The Glencairn Aisle, for many years allowed to remain in an unroofed and torn-down condition, was fast verging to the fallen and extinguished state of the ancient noble house to whom it belonged, and many of whose members lie interred in its subterraneous chamber. Its complete ruin was, however, averted by Dame Charlotte Montgomerie Cuninghame, who, in 1844, had the ruined walls repaired and the opening to the vault guarded by a door of open ironwork. The monument within the aisle was erected in 1600 by James, seventh Earl of Glencairn, in commemoration of "himself, his first wife Dame Margaret Campbell, daughter of Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchie, and their eight children".

"Ayrshire Nights Entertainment: A Descriptive Guide to the History, Traditions, Antiquities of the County of Ayr" by John MacIntosh of Galston, Ayrshire, published in 1894, by John Menzies & Co. of Kilmarnock, Dunlop and Drennan.

The present Kilmaurs Parish Church was built in 1888 on the site of the earlier churches and incorporating the Glencairn Aisle.

Description and Travel

The parish of Kilmaurs is a relatively small rural parish running diagonally south-west to north-east and sandwiched between the parishes of Dreghorn and Kilmarnock. It is centred on the former weaving village of Kilmaurs and oncludes the village of Crosshouse and Rowallan castle.

Kilmaurs village lies on the A735 road some 3 miles north of Kilmarnock. The village is a mixture of charming cottages on twisting lanes and late 19th century houses which are two-storied. At the centre of the village lies the Tolbooth, or 'jougs' as it is known locally (after the iron neck-ring attached to one wall). The Tollbooth has a miniature tower house, a single court room over vaulted basements. The Tour, on the south-east of the village, is an 1841 mansion built for a Glasgow merchant.

An 1837 description of Kilmaurs and Riccarton is covered in the Kilmarnock section, including a listing of the key personalities of the towns, given in this extract from Pigot's Directory for Ayrshire. The transcript was provided by Keith Muirhead from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.

Crosshouse was originally a roadside miner's village but has been rebuilt as local authority provided housing in the 1950s and 1960. In the village is the 1970s built North Ayrshire District Hospital.

The Rowallan Estate is located midway between Kilmaurs and Fenwick. The original Castle dates back to the 13th century and is under the care of Historic Scotland. The late Lord Rowallan was Chief Scout for many years and pledged a plot of ground on his estate to Ayrshire Scouting as a training centre. Unfortunately, the building on the land was recently destroyed by vandals.

Among its famous sons, Crosshouse boasts Andrew Fisher, the 6th, 8th and 10th Prime Minister of Australia. Andrew was born in Crosshouse, Ayrshire on 29th August 1862, the second son of Robert Fisher, a coalminer, and Jane Unknown. Andrew and his elder brother emigrated and landed at Brisbane, Queensland on the 17th August 1885. He died in London on 22nd October 1928.

View photographs of Kilmaurs and the surrounding area.

Gazetteers

Historical Geography

Information about boundaries and administrative areas is available from A Vision of Britain through time.

Maps

View maps of Kilmaurs.

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