ST QUIVOX, Ayrshire
The parish was originally known as Sanquhar or Sanchar (from the Gaelic 'sean' = old and 'coer' = fort). There are still farms with this name in the district. The present name of St. Quivox is believed to have been derived from 'Santa Kennocha Virgo in Coila' (a female personage of some local note, who lived in the reign of Malcolm II ). It has been found spelt as St. Kevock, St Kenochis, St. Cavocks and St. Evox. The latter could be found on local milestones until a few years ago.
In 1755 the population of the parish was 499 from 96 families - 4 blacksmiths, 4 masons, 5 colliers, 3 weavers, 30 farming and 43 part-time labourers. Around this time Sir Thomas Wallace of Craigie feued land for building north of the Auld Brig from which Wallacetown developed. In 1759 Auchincruive Estate was purchased by London merchant, Richard Oswald, son of the minister at Dunnet. By 1792 the population had risen to 250 families, mainly at Wallacetown. By 1835 it was found necessary to build a chapel of ease to serve this area. In the following year Wallacetown was declared a separate parish.
The Troon and District Family History Society has published a book of Monumental Inscriptions for St Quivox.
"This is one of the churches that date back to pre-Reformation times. It was repaired and enlarged in 1834, and contains nearly 400 sittings. Originally, and for many centuries, it was known by the name of Sanchar. In 1212 it was a rectory. Between 1229 and 1238, it belonged to the convent of Dalmulin, and from 1239 till the Reformation it was the property of the monks of Paisley. Though Sanchar, or Sanquhar, continued to be the name of the several estates, which were portions of the ancient territory, the church, at the Reformation, looked out under the designation of St. Kevoc."
"The old church as it appeared half a century ago as described by an able writer: 'Like the other Presbyterian places of worship erected in past days, this building is remarkable chiefly for the Quaker-like simplicity of the design, the confined and badly-lighted interior, and the picture it presents of the popular taste in regard to architecture at the date of its erection. At one angle of the church a small addition has recently been made. Entrance to the gallery is obtained by outside stairs, situated at both gables, and above one of these a belfry is erected, containing the bell whose echoes are wont to awaken the people of the parish at the advent of each day of rest."
"The Old Mortality", says the same writer, "may here find a rich fund of antiquarian lore. In one corner of the churchyard, are the mausoleums belonging to the families of Craigie and Auchincruive. Conspicuous among the memorials of the departed, are the tombstones erected over the remains of the village blacksmiths of yore. One stone is occupied by a distinct and curious representation of Adam and Eve in Paradise, with the betraying, serpent coiled among the trees. The date of this stone is 1780. Some of the parishioners have a distinct remembrance of an old stone, which, with its quaint poetical inscription, has now disappeared. The rhyme ran thus:"
"Quha lies here?"
"It's me, Johnnie Wilson, what gars ye spier;
"Hech, man, Johnnie, is this you?"
"Aye, but I'm dead noo'"
"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 parish of St Quivox is a small area to the east of Newton-upon-Ayr, 3 miles north of the River Ayr and 5 miles inland. It lies between the new A77 trunk road and the B743 Ayr to Mauchline road. It is centred on the small village of St Quivox which consists of little more than the church, the manse and few cottages. The village is now dominated by the Scottish Agricultural College which has be developed in the former Auchincruive estate to the east. The Auchincruive estate includes a number of historic buildings which have been blended into the new developments of the college. The parish includes Whitletts village and the Wallacetown district which have since been absorbed into the outer parts of Ayr.
An 1837 description of Ayr and neighbouring areas including St Quivox, and offering 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 <email@example.com> from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.
- The transcription of the section for St Quivox from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.
Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time: