Catrine is a thriving manufacturing village in the parish of Sorn, 72 miles wsw of Edinburgh, 32 s of Glasgow, 14 e by n of Ayr, 12 sw of Kilmarnock, 5 from Old Cumnock, and 4 from Ochiltree; pleasantly situate nearly in the centre of the county, on the north bank of the river Ayr. This place has risen from insignificance to a considerable town. In 1787 its site contained only a blacksmith's shop and a meal mill, while its present population numbers nearly 3,000 persons.
The cause of this surprisingly rapid increase is the erection of cotton works by the late Claud Alexander, Esq. of Ballochmyle, who, having acquired a large fortune in the East Indies, purchased the land for the purpose of establishing works thereon, by which he might increase the value of his property here. But not understanding the cotton business himself, he formed a partnership with the late David Dale, merchant of Glasgow, with whom he carries on the business until the 13th April, 1801, when it was entered upon by Messrs James Finlay & Co, since which period the works here have been very considerably increased. At first the spinning of cotton yarn for sale was carried on to a limited extent; but this has been greatly extended: nearly the whole is made into cloth by power looms, and about 60,000 yards are produced weekly, employing nearly 900 hands, besides many others in the process of bleaching, the works in which branch are considerable. It is impossible to speak in adequate terms of the excellent manner in which this extensive concern is conducted, for it not only gives employment, and, therefore, the means of support to the labouring classes, but the health and morals of every individual, in any way connected with it, are studied in a manner the most laudable to the proprietors.
Schools, with efficient teachers, are provided, in which every branch of moral and useful instruction is imparted to about 200 of both sexes: there is also a sewing school in which the girls are taught needlework , and to make articles of dress for their own use. A Sabbath evening school has also been established, to which a library is attached, consisting of upwards of 500 volumes, and free sittings in the chapel are provided for those attending the school whose circumstances require gratuitous accommodations. The feuars of the village have bought the chapel from Mr Alexander, by whose father it was erected about forty years ago. A further proof of the prosperity of all around these works is, that most of the workmen have been able to purchase from the company the houses in which they live. The other principal trading establishments are two for the manufacture of a peculiar and beautiful description of snuff boxes.
Sorn Castle, about a mile and a half from Catrine, once the seat of the Loudon family, is now the property and residence of Mrs Sommerville, who, with Miss Farquhar, Sir James Boswell, and Claud Alexander, Esq., are the principal heritors of the parish of Sorn - which abounds with coal, limestone and ironstone. Douglas Stewart, Esq., the late celebrated professor of moral philosophy, in Edinburgh, was born in the neighbourhood of Catrine.
The parish of Sorn, is bounded on the east by Muirkirk, on the south by Auchinleck, on the west by Mauchline, and on the north by Galston and Strathaven. The form of the parish is nearly square, measuring about six and a half miles each way; it formed a part of the extensive parish of Mauchline, till the year 1656; the parish church stands about three miles distant from that village. The land originally moorish, has been much improved and well inclosed; and there are fine plantations near the Ayr, which river runs through the parish, from east to west.
Mauchline, a considerable village and capital of the parish of its name, 2½ miles from Catrine; is situate in a pleasant part of the county, and surrounded on all sides by a delightful country, intersperced with several elegant mansions. The buildings are neat and possess an air of pleasing variety. Mauchline Castle, the present residence of Alexander Hamilton, Esq., is an ancient building, well deserving the notice of the antiquarian. There are several excellent benevolent societies for the relief of sick members and poor widows, and a bible society has been, for a length of time, promoted with success. The parish school is well conducted and numerously attended. The weaving of cotton goods in this, as in all the towns of the neighbourhood, forms the principal support of the inhabitants. There is, however, besides, in the town, two considerable manufacturies for snuff boxes, cigar cases, &., (that belonging to Messrs W and A Smith enjoys the patronage of royalty), and a respectable branch of the Commercial Bank of Scotland.
The parish is seven miles in length, and its extreme breadth is five miles. The Duke of Portland, Lord Glenlee, Sir James Boswell and Claud Alexander, Esq., are the principal heritors.
Burns resided several years at Mossgiel, a small farm, about half a mile to the north of Mauchline, on the left side of the road from thence to Kilmarnock. The steading may still be seen environed by a few trees, as well as the fields, in traversing which, it is said, he composed some of his best poems. His chief resort, when he visited Mauchline, was the public-house, kept by John Dow, which still stands, - a well thatched house of two flats, nearly opposite the church-yard gate. The cottage of 'Ponsie Nansie', or Mrs Gibson, the scene of 'the Jolly Beggars', stands more immediately opposite the church-yard gate. Mauchline kirk, the scene of the 'Holy Fair', was of the pure barn species. There is now an elegant new church, in the gothic style, with a steeple. In the surrounding cemetery may be seen the graves of the Rev. Mr Auld. Nanse Tinnock, and several other persons who figure in the satires of Burns; and on the banks of the Ayr, at a short distance from Mauchline, is the scene of some of the bard's more pleasing poems, his lyrics particularly.
Wood street, Catrine, Peter Stewart, Post master - Letters from all parts of Scotland arrive from Mauchline every morning at eight, and are despatched every afternoon at two. - Letters from England arrive from Sorn (by foot post) every afternoon at four, and are despatched every night at nine.
Sorn, R.K. Dalgleish, Post master - Letters from Kilmarnock and the north arrive every morning at seven, and are despatched every afternoon at half past two. - Letters from England arrive from Douglas every afternoon at half past two and are despatched every morning at seven. - Letters from Mauchline arrive (by foot post) every morning at half past nine, and from Cumnock every night at nine and are despatched every afternoon at half past two.
Mauchline, Hugh Wilson, Post master - The mail from Edinburgh, with letters from the north of Scotland, and Glasgow, Kilmarnock, and Ayr, arrive every morning at six.- The mail from Douglas, with letters from all parts of England, arrives every afternoon at three. - Letters to all parts of England and Scotland (except Edinburgh) are despatched every morning at six, and afternoon at three, at which latter hour are also forwarded letters for Edinburgh.
|NOBILITY, GENTRY AND CLERGY:|
|Alexander, Claud, esq., of Ballochmyle ||Braberan (?), Lady Cecilia, of Kinginckley|
|Campbell, Robt., esq., of Auchmannock ||Campbell, William, esq., of Nether pl|
|Douglas, George, esq., of Rodinghead ||Farquhar, Miss Margaret, of Gillmannock|
|Glenlee, the Hon., Lord, Barskimming ||Hamilton, Colonel (of West port), Cairnhill|
|Hamilton, Miss Margaret, Loudon st, Mauchline ||Ranken, George, esq., (of Whitefield), Barnhead|
|Somervell, Mrs Agnes, (of Hamilton farm), Sorn castle ||Stewart, Rev. John, Sorn manse|
|Stewart, Lieut.-Col. Matt of Catrine ||Tod, Rev. John, Manse, Mauchline|
|Walker, Rev. John, Mauchline ||Wallace, Mrs Ferrier, Cairnhill|
|White, Thomas, esq., of Sawrston ||Woodrow, Robert, esq., of Viewfield|
|ACADEMIES AND SCHOOLS:|
|Bryan, William, Mill square ||Catrine Works School - James Park, master|
|Currie, Rev. James, Stewart place ||McClymont, John, Sorn|
|Parochial School, Mauchline - Thomas Mitchell, master ||Parochial School, Sorn - Adam Smith, master|
|Patrick, John, St. Cuthbert's, Holm ||Sloan, (?), Sorn|
|Smith, Hugh, Mauchline || |
|Ferguson, William, Mauchline ||Hamilton, James, Bridge st|
|Miller, John, Mauchline ||Walker, William, St. Germain st|
|Wilson, George, Mill square || |
|Commercial Bank of Scotland (Branch), Mauchline -(draws on that establishment, Edinburgh, and Jones, Loyd & Co. London) - John Strathdee, agent|
|Bogle, David, Sorn ||Brown, James, Ayr street|
|McKinlay, Alexander, St. Cuthbert st ||Meikle, Thomas, Mauchline|
|Taylor, James, Cowan place || |
|BOOT AND SHOE MAKERS:|
|Brown, John, Mill square ||Garvan, James, Mauchline|
|Gibb, James, Mauchline ||Hamilton, Robert, Stewart place|
|Howat, George, Mill square ||Howat, Thos., (& leather cutter), Mill sq|
|Le Pralk, James, Sorn ||McIntyre, John, Mill square|
|McKinnal, Thomas & James, Mill st ||Nisbet, Robert, Mauchline|
|Reid, John, Sorn ||Seaton, William, Mill st|
|Simpson, Hugh, Sorn ||Weir, William, Mauchline|
|Wilson, Janet, Mill st ||Wilson, John, Sorn|
|Wilson, Thomas, Mauchline || |
|CARPENTERS, JOINERS & CARTWRIGHTS:|
|Baird, John, Sorn ||Buchanan, Alexander, Town head|
|Caldow, John, New mill, Sorn ||Cowan, Andrew, Mill st|
|Cowan, Robert, Cowan place ||Gemmell, John, Lint mill, Sorn|
|Goudie, Robert, Mauchline ||Granger, Robert, Holm head, Sorn|
|Lees, David, Mauchline ||Lees, William, Mauchline|
|McCulloch, Hugh, Sorn ||McGill, James, Mauchline|
|McKinna, John, Ford st || |
|CATRINE COTTON WORKS:|
|James Finlay & Co, proprietors ||Alex. Buchanan, resident partner|
|John Barclay, manager of Cotton Works ||James Barclay, manager of Bleach Works|
|Bryan, William, mill square ||Wilson, Hugh, Mauchline|
|FIRE & LIFE OFFICES:|
|Insurance Company of Scotland (fire), & Edinburgh Assurance Company (life), Mauchline - John Strathdee, agent|
|Climmie, Hugh, Mill square ||Crosby, James, Mill st|
|Little, William, St Germain st ||McClelland, Thomas, Mauchline|
|Bryan, David, St Cuthbert st ||Caldwell, David, Mill st|
|Dalgleish, Robert Kirkland (& wholesale dealer in meal & cheese), Sorn ||Ferguson, John, (and dealer in meal and cheese), Sorn|
|Gemmell, Thomas, Mill square ||McGaan (?), Robert, Mill st|
|McMurtrie, Henry, St Germain st ||Nisbet, Robert, Mauchline|
|Paterson, John, St Germain st ||Reid, Hugh, Wood st|
|Wallace, John, Wood st || |
|INNKEEPERS & VINTERS:|
|Baird, Hugh, (Greenfoot Inn), Sorn ||Bryan, David, (Black Bull) St Germain st|
|Calderwood, William, (Cross Keys), Mauchline ||Caldwell, David, Mill st|
|Kirkland, Robert, Sorn ||Lindsay, David, (Black Bull), Mauchline|
|Lockhead, James, Mauchline ||McClelland, Hugh, Mauchline|
|McClelland, Thomas, Mauchline ||McCubbin, Mary, Bridge st|
|McGaan, Robert, (Sun), Mill st ||McGaan, William, Mauchline|
|McMurtrie, Henry, St Germain st ||Morton, William, Wood st|
|Muir, Matthew, Mauchline ||Murray, Thomas, Stewart place|
|Nisbet, Jean, Mauchline ||Paterson, John, (Crown) St Germain st|
|Retson, John, Sorn ||Sharp, James, Mauchline|
|Smith, Hugh, Mauchline ||Stirling, Hugh, Mauchline|
|Young, Andrew, (Star), Mauchline || |
|McGaan, Andrew, Mauchline || |
|LINEN AND WOOLLEN DRAPERS:|
|Brown, Thomas, St Germain st/ ||Fleming, Robert, Mill square|
|Goldie, John, Mauchline ||McGaan, John, (& hatter), Mauchline|
|McMaster, James, Mill st ||Smith, James, St Germain st|
|MILLINERS AND DRESS MAKERS:|
|Paton, Euphemia, Mauchline ||Ross, Agnes, Mauchline|
|Brown, James, Mauchline ||Mason, John, Mauchline|
|Caldwell, Joseph, Mauchline ||McGaan, James, Mill st|
|SHOPKEEPERS AND DEALERS IN SUNDRIES: (Marked thus * are also spirit dealers)|
|Alexander, William, Mauchline ||Baird, Hugh, Sorn|
|Brown, John, Mill st ||Buchanan, William, St Cuthbert's holm|
|Cook, James, Mill st ||Gibb, James, Mill st|
|Gibb, James, Mauchline ||* Hood, James, Mauchline|
|* Lamont, Matthew, Mauchline ||McGaan, William, Mauchline|
|* McJannet, Alexander, Mill st ||Mitchell, Robert, St Germain st|
|Morton, Janet, Mauchline ||* Muir, Andrew, Mill st|
|Murray, Elizabeth, Mill square ||Murray, Janet, St Germain st|
|* Pagan, Quentin McAdam, Mill sq ||* Porteous, John, Bridge st|
|*Richard, Andrew, Mauchline ||Seaton, Ann, Mill st|
|Tullock, James, Stewart place ||Wallace, Hugh, Mauchline|
|Wilson, Robert, Damside, Sorn || |
|SNUFF BOX MAKERS:|
|Dunlop, George, Stewart place ||Lynn, William Miller, Stewart place|
|Paterson & Lucas, Mauchline ||Smith, Wm & Andrew (& cigar cases &c., to his majesty), Mauchline|
|Gibson, Richard, Mauchline ||Nisbet, Robert, Mauchline|
|Ronald, William, Mauchline ||Smith, John, Mill square|
|Cameron, George, Sorn ||Lire (?), Hugh, Mauchline/|
|Nemo (?), James, Wood st || |
|Blackwood (?), John, St Germain st ||Hamilton, Douglas, Cow gate, Mauchline|
|Herbert, John, Mill st ||Nicholson, James, Mauchline|
|Crawford, Wm (& clothier), Mill st ||Graham, James, St Germain st|
|Lambie, James, St Germain st ||Lambie, James, Mauchline|
|Lambie, John, Mauchline ||Lambie, Margaret, Mauchline|
|Lambie, William, Mauchline ||Logan, James, Mauchline|
|Montgomerie, John, Mauchline ||Young, William, Bridge street|
|WATCH & CLOCK MAKERS:|
|Ferguson, Montgomerie, Mauchline ||Robertson, Matthew, Mill square|
| || |
|WRITERS (lawyers): || |
|Hamilton, Alexander, Mauchline castle ||Murdock, William, Mauchline|
|Strathdee, John, Mauchline || |
|Greenshield, Alex, brewer, St Germain st ||Howat, Hugh, cattle dealer, Sorn|
|Kay, James, portrait painter, Sorn ||Lire, Matthew, plasterer, Mauchline|
|McCarlin (?), Alexander, dyer, Cornmill st ||Meikle, Hugh, painter, St Germain st|
|Stamp Office, Cross, Mauchline - John McGaan, distributor ||Urquhart, John, auctioneer, Bridge st|
|Wilson, Robert & Hugh, millers, Sorn ||Young, William, tinsmith, St Germain st|
To Carlisle, a coach (from Glasgow), calls at A. McGaan's coach office, Mauchline, every morning (Sunday excepted) at ten; goes through Sanquhar, Dumfries, Annan, &c - From Carlisle passengers are forwarded to London.
To Glasgow, a coach (from Carlisle), calls at the above office every afternoon (Sunday excepted), at three; goes thro' Kilmarnock.
To Ayr, Thomas Murray, from Stewart place, and John and George Reid, from Mauchline, every Tuesday and Friday.
To Glasgow, Donald McDonald, from Ford street, every Thursday; William and John Morton, from Wood street, every Monday and Thursday; and Robert McCandlish, from Mauchline every Monday.
To Glasgow and Kilmarnock, Francis Blain, from Wood street, every Tuesday and Friday.
To Kilmarnock, Francis Blain, from Catrine, and William Wallace, from Mauchline, every Tuesday and Friday; and Andrew Gibson from Mauchline, every Wednesday and Friday.
To Muirkirk, John and Gregory Reid, from Mauchline, every Monday and Thursday.
This transcript was kindly provided by Keith Muirhead from Queensland.