National Gazetteer, 1868


Kirkoswald - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868


"KIRKOSWALD, a parish in the district of Carrick, county Ayr, Scotland. It is situated on the coast of the Atlantic, and contains the villages of Maidens and Kirkoswald, the latter being 13 miles S. from Ayr, and 4½ from Maybole. Its extent along the coast is 6 miles, and its greatest extent inland is 7 miles. It has a sandy beach in the northern portion, which is admirably adapted for bathing, and is much resorted to by visitors in the summer season. The surface of the parish is diversified. Near the sea the soil is abundantly fertile, while the interior or mountainous district affords pasturage for numerous flocks of sheep. Coal is worked to the amount of about 1,000 tons per annum. A coal mine in this parish caught fire in the middle of last century, and was burning for above 50 years. The fishery off the coast is very profitable. The parish is in the presbytery of Ayr and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, in the patronage of the crown. The minister's stipend is £261. The church was built in 1777. The original church, founded in the 9th century, was dedicated to St. Oswald, King of Northumbria, and has given its name to the parish. Here is a Free Church preaching station, and several schools: 2 miles E. of the village are the ruins of Cross Regal Abbey, founded by the Earl of Carrick in 1244 for Cluniac monks. It is at present the most entire monastic ruin in this part of Scotland. On a promontory at the entrance of the Firth of Clyde are the ruins of Turnberry Castle, which in 1274 was occupied by the ancestors of the royal horse of Stuart, and in 1306 by an English garrison under Earl Percy. It was afterwards taken by storm and demolished by King Robert Bruce. One of Bruce's nephews, in 1335, built in the vicinity the castle of Thomaston, which was inhabited so late as a century ago, and is now the property of the Marquis of Ailsa. Upon a rocky precipice overhanging the sea is the castle of Cullean. There are several remarkable caves at the foot of this rock termed the caves of Cullean. About 1 mile from Turnberry Castle is the farm of Shanter, once the residence of Douglas Graham, the hero of Burns' poem "Tam O'Shanter.""

"CULZEAN CASTLE, in the parish of Kirkoswald, in the county of Ayr, Scotland, 4 miles S.W. of Maybole. It was built by Earl Cassilis towards the close of the 18th century, on a rock 100 feet high, after designs by Adams, and is now the seat of the Marquis of Ailsa. Beneath the castle are extensive caves, famed in story as the Fairies' haunt."

"MARDINS, a village in the parish of Kirkoswald, county Ayr, Scotland, 5 miles S.W. of Maybole."

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