"WEST KILBRIDE, a parish and post-office village in the district of Cunninghame, county Ayr, Scotland, 9 miles N.W. of Irvine. The parish lies along the coast of the Firth of Clyde, and is 6 miles long, by 3 broad. The surface is hilly, particularly in the E., where Kaim attains an altitude of 1,000 feet. There is a large proportion of moorland. Kilbride and Southannan burns traverse the interior, besides some others; as also does the road from Saltcoats to Greenock. The Ardrossan railway and harbour afford ready communication. This parish is in the presbytery of Irvine, and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The minister has a stipend of £260. The church was erected in 1732. There are Free and United Presbyterian churches, also Free Church schools, a public library, and two friendly societies. The church was anciently subordinate to Kilwinnig, and had several chapels. Southannan is the seat of the Earl of Eglinton. The town, a poor irregularly built place, stands upon the Greenock road, in a sheltered spot on the Kilbride burn, which turns two grain-mills. The inhabitants are principally weavers of the poorest description, working for the Glasgow and Paisley houses. Kirton Hall was the birth-place of Robert Simpson, the mathematician. On a prominent part of the coast, near Ardnell, or the "Three Sisters' Cliff," stands the ruin of Portincross Castle, where one of the Spanish Armada went down. Remains of a watch-tower are seen on Auld Hill. Law Castle, near the village, was an ancient seat of the earls of Kilmarnock. On the banks of the Southannan burn, which has a cascade, are the ruins of an old seat of the Semples. The prevailing rocks are sandstone and basalt, but millstones are also obtained at Kaim."

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


"Old West Kilbride: The Tattie Toon"; a pictorial booklet containing some 50 old photographs; by Molly Blyth; published in 1997; Stenlake Publishing, Ochiltree Sawmill, The Lade, Ochiltree, Ayrshire KA18 2NX, Scotland; ISBN No: 1 872074 99 5.

Description and Travel

An 1837 description of West Kilbride, 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 Queensland.

View photographs of West Kilbride and the surrounding area.

Historical Geography

Information about boundaries and administrative areas is available from A Vision of Britain through time.


View maps of West Kilbride.