LOUDOUN - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

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

"LOUDOUN, a parish in the Cunninghame district of county Ayr, Scotland, 7 miles E. of Kilmarnock. It is situated near the bridge over the river Irvine, and contains Auldton, Derville, and Newmills, at which last place is a railway station on the Glasgow and South-Western and Portpatrick line. Tho size of this parish is 9 miles by 5, with a hilly surface. It contains about 19,170 imperial acres, of which about 10,700 are in tillage, 7,600 moss, moor, or pasture, and the remainder under wood. Clay, ironstone, and coal are abundant, and limestone of good quality is extensively worked here. The parish is in the presbytery of Irvine and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The minister's stipend is £191. The parish church, situated at Newmills, is modern and commodious. There area Free church, Reformed Presbyterian church, an United Presbyterian church, a parish school, besides several other schools. Loudon Hill, situated in the S.E. part of this parish, is a conical eminence celebrated in history. In the neighbourhood of this hill Claverhouse was defeated in 1679, and in 1307 a battle known as the battle of Loudon Hill was fought between the English under the Earl of Pembroke, and the Scots under Bruce. The Knights Templars possessed lands in this parish. The parish is for the most part owned by the Marquis of Hastings, who takes the title of earl and baron from this place. Loudoun Castle, the seat of the before-mentioned earl, is an ancient structure, and was restored by Chancellor Loudon in 1622. It contains a library, and is situated among the "bonny woods and braes" of Tannahill's song. Near Loudon Hill are traces of a Roman camp; also Roman vessels have been found. In the neighbourhood are tumuli, cairns, and traces of castles, supposed by some to be of Danish origin. John Earl of Loudon, who succeeded to the earldom in 1731, did a great deal for the agricultural improvement of this parish. The feast of "Beltan," or Baal's fire, is kept up on St. Peter's day."

"ALTON, a village in the parish of Loudoun, in the county of Ayr, Scotland."

"DARVEL, (or Derval, or Derville), a village in the parish of Loudoun, in the county of Ayr, Scotland. It originally belonged to the Knights Templars in 1362, and stands on the right bank of Irvine Water, on the road from Kilmarnock to Strathaven. The chief branch of industry is hand-loom weaving. Here is a Reformed Presbyterian church and two schools one belonging to the Establishment, the other to the Free Church."

"IRVINE, a river, having its source at Loudon Hill, in the parish of Loudoun, and a second headwater in the adjacent parish of Avondale, county Ayr, Scotland. The greater part of its course forms the mutual boundary between the districts of Cunninghame and Kyle. It is 22 miles in length, and after receiving the waters of the Carmel and Annock streams, falls into the Frith of Clyde at the town of Irvine."

"NEWMILNS, a village in the parish of Loudoun, county Ayr, Scotland, 7 miles E. of Kilmarnock. It is the terminus of a short branch line from the Glasgow and South-Western railway. It is situated on the river Irvine, and was made a burgh of barony in 1490 by James IV. under the earls of Loudoun. It is governed by two bailies, a chancellor, treasurer, fiscal, and 15 common councillors. The town, which is ancient, is well built, and is now a very considerable manufacturing place. It contains a branch office of the Western Bank, a subscription library, gas works, &c. The inhabitants are to a great extent employed in hand-loom weaving. There are Established, Free, and United Presbyterian churches, all of which are of recent erection; also a parochial school and a Sabbath evening school. Near the centre of the town stand the ruins of an old castle, said to have been erected about the same time as that of Edinburgh. About 1½ mile from the town is Loudoun Castle, a castellated pile, surrounded by natural woods and artificial plantations; and within a short distance from the mansion is the ancient parish kirk of Loudoun. Fairs are held on the first Thursday in February, third Wednesday in May, fourth Thursday in August, first Wednesday in September, and fourth Wednesday in October."

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

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