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Groomes's Gazetteer

Stair in 1882 - Extract from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland

"Stair, a parish of Kyle district, Ayrshire, whose church is beautifully situated near the left bank of the river Ayr, 1⅛ mile S of Tarbolton station, and 6½ miles ENE of Ayr. Tarbolton is the post-town, and there is a post office of Stairbridge, designated after a three-arch bridge of 1745. The parish, formed out of Ochiltree in 1673, is bounded NW and N by Tarbolton, NE and E by Mauchline, SE and S by Ochiltree, and SW and W by Coylton. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 5⅛ miles; its utmost breadth is 2¼ miles; and its area is 5449⅓ acres, of which 73 are water, and 1940½ belong to two detached portions. Of these, one containing Trabbochburn farm, and completely surrounded by Ochiltree, is very small, only 6 by 2¼ furlongs; the other, containing DRONGAN station, and surrounded by Ochiltree and Coylton, has an utmost length from N by W to S by E of 2¾ miles, and varies in breadth between 1 furlong and 2¼ miles."

"The Lugar Water flows 1 mile north-north-eastward along all the eastern boundary to the river Ayr, which itself winds 7½ miles west-north-westward and south-westward along all the north-eastern, northern, and north-western boundary, though the point where it first touches and that where it quits the parish are but 4⅛ miles distant as the crow flies. The scenery along its deep gorge is very beautiful, especially at Barskimming. The Water of Coyle traces all the western boundary of the larger detached portion. The surface undulates gently, at no point sinking much below 200 feet above sea-level, at none much exceeding 300 in the main body or 400 in the detached portion."

"Sandstone of various qualities, some of them well adapted for building, is plentiful, and has long been quarried; coal has also been largely mined; the celebrated Water-of-Ayr (now 'Tam o'Shanter') stone has been quarried on the Dalmore estate since 1789; and plumbago or black-lead was worked between 1830 and 1850. The soil, in the hollows or small vales along the streams, is generally sandy loam; but the rest of the parish consists of stiff clay. Most of the lands of the parish are disposed for tillage or the dairy; but more than 700 acres are under wood. The chief antiquities are remains of two old towers at Trabboch and Drongan. Stair House, near the church, is an antique corbie-stepped building, with round towers at the angles. In 1450 William de Dalrymple acquired the lands of Stair-Montgomery by marriage with Agnes Kennedy; and their eighth descendant, James Dalrymple (1619-95), was created a baronet in 1664, and Viscount Stair in 1690. His son, John (1648-1707), of Glencoe notoriety, in 1703 was raised to the earldom of Stair; and his son and successor, John (1679-1747) best known as Field-Marshal Stair, is said, as a mere boy, to have accidentally shot his elder brother in a room on the ground floor of Stair House. The estate was disposed of by the Stair family, but was repurchased about the year 1826. Dalmore House is a fine castellated edifice of 1880-81; and another mansion is Barskimming, noticed separately."

"Three proprietors hold each an annual value of more, and four of less, than £500. Stair is in the presbytery of Ayr and the synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £347. The church is a Gothic edifice of 1864, and contains 400 sittings. The public school, with accommodation for 150 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 94, and a grant of £78. 14s. Valuation (1860) £6478, (1885) £7834, 16s, plus £1959 for railway. Pop. (1801) 563, (1841) 823, (1861) 743, (1871) 734, (1881) 928.—Ord. Sur., sh. 14, 1863."

Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland; by F. H. Groome; published in 1882.