Notes on the way
through Ayrshire - 100 years ago
West of Kilmaurs.
The village of Dreghorn, four and a half miles west of Kilmarnock,
stands on the brow of a descent to the west, commanding a fine view of the
sea. It has a railway station, a post office (with money order and savings
bank departments), shops, an Established Church, an Evangelical Union
Church, and a public school. Population in 1871, 821; in 1881,928.
PERCETON was a
parish of itself until the year 1688, when it was annexed to
Dreghorn. It has now a Free Church, designated Dreghorn Free Church; and
its fireclay works employ a number of people.
The village of
SPRINGSIDE and BANKHEAD, a mile east of Dreghorn, has a public school
and a mission hall. Population, 1266.
The village of
OVERTON stands in the centre of the parish, half-a-mile from Cunninghamhead
Railway Station. Population, 413.
Lodge, Warwickhill, and Perceton House are seats.
and sandstone are contained in the parish, and coal is extensively worked.
The seams, in the order of descent are:-MíNaught coal, 3 feet 6 inches
in thickness; Towerhall coal, 3 feet 4 inches; major coal 3 feet 10
inches; five-quarter coal, 4 feet 6 inches; parrot coal, 3 feet 3 inches;
wee coal, 2 feet 2 inches.
The neat and rich
appearance of the farms in this part shows increasing expertness of the
agriculturists. They are, of course, on the dairy system, which is the
especial industry of Ayrshire females; and a peep at the glancing-clean milkhouses
and dishes proves how clever they are, these "Ayrshire lassies,
bonny lassies, Lassies blithe and cheery, O ! " with their
cotte breeked - a style of working dress almost peculiar to Ayrshire,
as it is rarely seen elsewhere in Scotland, and never at all in England
and Wales. They breek their cotte to prevent the annoyance
of the skirt drooping in front while they are stooping at work. There are
two styles of breeking the cotte. One is done by sewing a
button on the hem in front and a loop on the hem behind, and buttoning it
together between the ankles : it is usually adopted by wives. The other,
which gives more scope for athletic movements, is done by raising the hem
and tying it with a garter round each limb above the calf---the cotte
bulging a little, like a pineapple. It is suitable for all sorts of farm
work: milking, lifting. corn, building ricks, washing floors--they donít
lie down like town women to wash the floor - and, with the healthy,
handsome figure of these early-rising, hard working farmersí daughters
and servants, the style is exceedingly smart and graceful.
From Warrix, a
mile off the shore, the parish extends north-east fully eight miles; and
its greatest breadth, across by Overton, is two miles. Area, 5626
acres. Population in 1871, 3241; in 1881, 3949.