National Gazetteer, 1868


Muirkirk - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868


"MUIRKIRK, a parish in the district of Kyle, county Ayr, Scotland. It comprises the post town of its own name, and the village of Glenbuck. It extends 9 miles in length from E. to W., with an extreme breadth of 8½ miles, and is bounded on the N. and E. by the county of Lanark, and on other sides by the parishes of Auchinleck, Sorn, and Galston. The surface is very uneven, consisting chiefly of moorish hills, with an altitude of from 800 to 1,000 feet above the sea-level, the highest point being Cairntable, near the S.E. extremity, which rises 1,660 feet above sea-level. It is a rude and bleak district, the land being but partially reclaimed from its original mossy and moorish character. A considerable portion has recently been drained, and converted into grazing and pasture land, on which the black-faced sheep prosper so much as frequently to have obtained the highest prize awarded at the Highland Society's shows. Coal, ironstone, and limestone abound, all of which are worked to a considerable extent. The parish is traversed in an easterly direction by the road between Ayr and Edinburgh, and in a southerly by the road between Glasgow and Dumfries, by way of Strathaven. This parish is in the presbytery of Ayr, and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The minister has a stipend of £157. The parish church was erected in 1813. There are a Free church, a Roman Catholic chapel of recent erection, a Free Church school, also two schools supported by the Muirkirk Iron Company, besides various other schools. The town of Muirkirk is distant about 13 miles S. of Strathaven, and 51 from Edinburgh. It is a station on the Kilmarnock railway. The town stands at the head of Ayr and Greenock waters, and occupies nearly a central position in the parish. The town has rapidly increased in prosperity within this last quarter of a century, and may now fairly be reckoned one of the great iron-producing districts of Scotland. The houses and streets are well built. There are a branch of the Western Bank of Scotland, a savings-bank, and a large circulating library."

"AYR, (or Air, Water), a river in Ayrshire, Scotland, rising in the parish of Muirkirk, among the hills on the eastern edge of the county, crossing it in a westerly direction, and falling into the sea at Ayr. It has given name to the town, the county, and the bay. The scenery through which it runs is wild and bleak in the upper part of its course, but of great beauty and richness in the lower part. On its banks are Sorn Castle, and many elegant modern residences near the town of Ayr. It has been celebrated for the abundance and excellence of its salmon; but the supply has of late years greatly diminished. In its bed is found the peculiar stone called Water o' Ayr stone, used for making whetstones and for polishing metals. It is a kind of claystone, with particles of felspar and mica. This river is about 30 miles long, and divides the county into two nearly equal parts. Its name is said to be an ancient British word signifying clear; and at the present day, the water of the river, which flows along a gravelly bed, is remarkable for its clearness."

"GARONHILL, a village in the parish of Muirkirk, county Ayr, Scotland."

"GLENBUCK, a village in the parish of Muirkirk, district of Kyle, county Ayr, Scotland, 4 miles N.E. of Muirkirk. It is situated in a wild mountain district, in the neighbourhood of some abandoned iron works."

"PRIESTHILL, a hamlet in the parish of Muirkirk, county Ayr, Scotland, 4 miles N.E. of Muirkirk, and 23 E. by N. of Ayr. It is situated under the Haughshaw hills, at the head of Ayr and Greenock waters. At this place, John Brown was shot by Claverhouse whilst standing at his own door."

"WELLWOOD ROW, a village in the parish of Muirkirk, county Ayr, Scotland."

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