KILWINNING, Ayrshire

"This ancient Burgh of Regality stands on a gently rising ground on the right bank of the Garnock, which passes the town at the east end. A great many of the houses are of one storey, and being thatched, give the town a dull, antiquated appearance, which yet borrows sufficient splendour from the loveliness of its environs, from reminiscences of its historical importance, and from the remains of its fine old Abbey. The old town is said by some authorities to have been situated on the opposite side of the river from the Abbey, and it comprised Bridgend, Pathfoot, and Corsehill. It doubtless owed its origin to the settlement in that place of saintly pioneers. That there existed a religious house at this place, in the early part of the seventh century, is a generally accepted truth; the holy father of the church being Saint Winning; after whom, in olden times, the town was called by the name of Sagtoun, or Saint's town."

"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.

Bibliography

"Old Kilwinning: a pictorial look at early Kilwinning" by Roy Lauchlan; ISBN: 1 84033 041 4; published by Stenlake Publishing, Ochiltree Sawmill, The Lade, Ochiltree, Ayrshire KA18 2NX, Scotland. Tel/Fax: 01290 423114.

"Kilwinning in Old Picture Postcards, Volumes 1 & 2" by Roy Lauchlan published 1992. [ISBN 90-288-5523-8/CIP].

Church History

"The [Abbey Church,] parish church of Kilwinning was erected in 1775, on, or near the site of the old abbey chancel. It was renovated and improved a few years ago. The alterations consisted of re-seating of gallery, painting of walls and roof, and the introduction of three stained glass windows. The window to the right of the pulpit is the gift of the late Earl of Eglinton. Christ in the centre is represented as saying 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life'. On the lower part the Eglinton coat of arms is depicted in harmonious colouring, with the motto 'Gardez Bien' and the following inscription: 'Erected in memory of Sophia, Countess of Eglinton - born 1840, died 1886 - by Archibald, 14th Earl of Eglinton, 1890'."

"A window on the opposite side of the pulpit is erected to the memory of the late Hugh Conn. In the east aisle of the church, a circular window has been erected by the present minister of the church, the Rev. William Lee Ker, in memory of his children Nettie and Alice. Some of the early pastors of this church who attained eminence as preachers of the Gospel, were the Rev. Robert Baillie, the Rev. James Ferguson, and the Rev. Drs. Ritchie, Burns, Stevenson, and Campbell."

"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.

Description and Travel

The parish of Kilwinning is small in area lying in the Cunningham district of North Ayrshire. The parish includes the sizable town of the same name, Furgushill and Eglinton Castle.

Kilwinning town lies on the River Garnock, a few miles inland from Ardrossan by way of busy Stevenston, is notable as the home of freemasonry in Scotland, Mother Lodge Kilwinning (No. 0) having been founded in 1107, at the same time as the Abbey, of which the few remains have been incorporated into the present Parish Church. The history page has more details on the development of the town.

Kilwinning was known earlier this century for its engineering works, iron foundry and fire-clay works and with an older worsted-spinning industry. The town has grown considerably into the suburban sprawl linking Irvine in the south and Stevenston and Ardrossan to the west.

Eglinton Castle (the seat of the Earl of Eglinton) is chiefly remembered as the scene of the great tournament in 1839 by which it was hoped to revive certain aspects of ancient chivalry. Among the combatants was the Emperor Napoleon III. The castle fell into ruin after being unroofed in 1925. After use for naval gunnery practice during WWII, the remaining ruins were demolished in 1973. The old Home Farm has been transformed into the Eglinton Country park which is open to visitors.

Between Kilwinning and the sea is a somewhat desolate area of sandhills in which were once large explosive works. Through this area the River Garnock winds to the sea, and the Irvine, after making an extraordinary loop, joins it, just below the town of Irvine. The area includes the disused Bogside racecourse.

An 1837 description of Kilwinning, including a listing of the key personalities of the town, is given in this extract from Pigot's Directory for Ayrshire. The transcript was provided by Keith Muirhead from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.

There is a web site for Kilwinning. It contains a virtual tour of the town, maps, churches etc.

View photographs of Kilwinning 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 Kilwinning.

Newspapers

The local newspaper - the Irvine Herald and Kilwinning Chronicle has on-line local news and information at its website.