Ayrshire Towns and Parishes

www.Ayrshireroots.com   and  www.Ayrshireroots.co.uk



Home New Views Old Views Historical Timeline Prehistoric Kilwinning Post 1855 Certs Poor Relief Shoot the Papingo Kilwinning OPRs Kilwinning 1846 1851 Census 1861 Census Kilwinning 1837






Atomz - Search whole website for Kilwinning     Whatuseek - Search whole Website for Kilwinning

Google Map of Kilwinning


100 Years Ago  

 (Notes on the way - Through Ayrshire)

Kilwinning Parish

South of Dalry. The town of Kilwinning stands on Garnock river, with fine sylvan scenery on its east end four miles south of Dalry. It is a very ancient place, and presents an unusually interesting assemblage of old and new architectural features; is largely a town of shops; has a Clydesdale Bank and a Commercial Bank; a post office, with telegraph, money order, and savings bank departments; a public school; Established, Free, United Presbyterian, Original Secession, and Evangelical Union Churches; muslin and other textile manufactories, engineering, ironfounding, blacksmith’s, joiner’s, and builder’s establishments; a railway station, and the ruins of an old abbey. Population in 1871, 3598; in 1881, 3469.

The building of the Abbey of Kilwinning was commenced in 1140. During its four centuries of active existence, down to its abolition at the Reformation, it had acquired great riches. The last Abbot was Gavin Hamilton, renowned for the chivalrous opposition which he made to the Reformation. Having taken up arms in defence of the unfortunate Queen Mary and the Church of Rome, he fell in a skirmish at Edinburgh, June 28, 1571. The masonic lodge of Kilwinning, which is the first or mother lodge of Scotland, is said to have been founded by the architect and masons who came from the Continent to build the Abbey. Kilwinning is famous, likewise, for the perpetuation of ancient Scottish archery, and the fascinating ceremonial connected with the shootings at the papingo is a little bit of elegant antiquity well worthy of preservation. James Manson, Glasgow Herald musical critic, and author of a volume of poems, was born at Kilwinning, 1809. Died, 1863. Principal Robert Baillie, D.D., known in history as Baillie of Kilwinning, was born at Jerviston, 1599. After having taking his degree of M.A. in the University of Glasgow, he received Episcopal orders, and became parish minister of Kilwinning. At the commencement of armed hostilities against Episcopacy, in 1637, he joined the Covenant, and, with sword and Bible, marched with the army to Duns Law, 1639; bore an able and leading part during the civil war; was chosen a member of Westminster Assembly of Divines, 1643; Professor of Divinity, 1651; Principal of Glasgow University, 1661. Baillie’s " Letters and Journals" lay unprinted for more than a century after his death, but where utilized to advantage by Woodrow in history. They were first published at Edinburgh, 1775, in two volumes; and a more complete edition was published at Edinburgh, 1841, in three volumes. To students of the stirring periods of Scotch history (1637-1662), and to lovers of the antique in literature, these volumes have a strong and curious interest. Dr. Baillie was great grand-father to the celebrated Henry Home, Lord Kaimes. Died July, 1662, aged 63.

EGLINTON IRONWORKS village is half-a-mile south of the town. Population, 672. 

FERGUSHILL village, one mile and a half east of the town, has an Established Church and a public school. Population, 537.

BENSLEY village is not far distant. Population, 318.

DOURA village is a mile east of Fergushill. Population, 350. The seat of Montgreenan, with railway station, is some distance to the north of these villages. It has a history connected with a branch of the Cunninghams, sprung from William, fourth , Earl of Glencairn. Clonbeith Castle and Monkredding House, in ruins, are a little to the north-west of it. 

The hamlet of DALGARVEN lies one mile and a half up the Dalry Road.

Eglinton Castle stands one mile and a half south-east, of Kilwinning, on Lugton Water, in a great park of 1200 .acres, occupying the most southerly part of the parish and a small portion of Irvine parish. It has been a residence of the chief family of Montgomery upwards of five hundred years; was rebuilt in 1798, and makes a large and elegant specimen of castellated architecture. The ornamental gardens harmonize in extent and grandeur with the castle and park, and illustrate beautifully the ,splendid combination of science and art which the modern gardener has achieved. Hugh, Lord Montgomery, first Earl of Eglinton, created 1507. Born 1460. Died at the age of 85, Hugh, twelfth Earl. Born about 1740. Entered the army as ensign, 1755; M.P. for Ayrshire, 1784-9, and 1796; rebuilt Eglinton Castle; representative peer, 1798; peer of the United Kingdom, with title of Baron Ardrossan, 1806; began the construction of Ardrossan harbour, 1806, on which he expended £100,000; composed Lady Montgomery’s Reel, and other tunes. Died December 15, 1819, aged 79. Susannah, Countess of Eglinton, daughter of  Sir Archibald Kennedy of Culzean. Born 1689. Celebrated for her beauty and accomplishments; was six feet in height, and described by George II. as the most beautiful woman in his dominions; lauded by Allan Ramsay, who dedicated to her his "Gentle Shepherd," and by Dr. Johnson, in his "Tour." Died at Auchans, Dondonald, 1780, aged 91. Archibald William, thirteenth Earl. Born December 29, 1812. August, 1839, gave an entertainment of enormous magnificence in the grounds of the castle, known as the ‘ Eglinton Tournament," representing in character the chivalry of past ages. Jane Georgiana, Duchess of Somerset, though she had been nine years married, was by general acclamation selected as the most beautiful woman in the United Kingdom, to represent the " Queen of Beauty," though we are quite sure she could not be so bonnie as some of the Ayrshire lassies who milk the Ayrshire cows. Amongst the brave mailed warriors who entered the lists, as of old, to compete for her hand was Napoleon I. As Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1852 ,and 1858-9), the Earl acquired great popularity with the Irish, being perfectly free from the overbearing, distrustful style too frequently characteristic of English rather than of Scotch officials in the sister isle. Privy Councillor, 1852; Lord Rector of Glasgow University, same year: ’ President of Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights, 1853; Knight of the Thistle, 1853; Earl of Winton, 1859. Died October 7, 1861, aged 49. A beautiful statue of this highly esteemed nobleman has been erected in Ayr.

The principal minerals which underlie most of the parish are coal, ironstone, fireclay, limestone, and sand-stone. The coal seams are nine in number, and their names and dimensions, reckoned from the top downwards, are :-Five-quarter coal, 2 feet 11 inches; parrot coal, 2 feet’ 4 inches; turf coal, 2 feet 4 inches; wee coal, No. 1,2 feet 2 inches; lady ha’ coal, 2 feet 2 inches; ell coal, 2 feet 3 inches; stone coal, 2 feet 4 inches; wee coal, No. 2, 2 feet ; main coal, 3 feet. The surface has an agreeable variation of swells and devexities; nowhere rises to a height of more than 310 feet above sea level; contains some reclaimable mosses, but is chiefly in a state of excellent cultivation; and much of it is beautified and sheltered with green woods. From Penny Burn railway bridge, north-east to a quarter of a mile beyond Hacks of Auchenmade, its length is six and a quarter miles; and from Red Burn, in Eglinton park, to Caaf Water, near Dalry, its widest part is six miles. Area, 10,989 acres. Population in 1871, 73t5; in 1881, 7137.

Kilwinning is probably the oldest continuous congregation now in the Free Church, having been formed in 1738 by those who adhered to the Erskinite Secession of 1733. The controversy over Edward Fisher's Marrow of Modem Divinty had led the Assembly majority to condemn evangelical sentiment in 1720. A campaign of persecution against "Marrowmen" followed which encouraged many in the evangelical party to later secede over the abuse of Patronage. The congregation worshipped at Kilmaurs until 1759 when the present church building was erected at Kilwinning beside the ruined cloisters of the 12th century Abbey. In the subsequent divisions which plagued the Secession the congregation took an Antiburger stance over the rightfulness of taking the Burgess Oath and supported the "Auld Licht" view of the Confession of Faith. Years of Union negotiations between the Free Church and the Synod of United Original Seceders floundered in 1932 over the name of the new church and it was not until the Secession disbanded in 1956 that Kilwinning elected to enter the Free Church.


Kilwinning Cemeteries

Photographs of Headstones In 

Abbey Cemetery         Bridgend Cemetery

By Kenny Monaghan kennymonaghan@btinternet.com contact him here


Some Monumental Inscriptions  in

Abbey       Bridgend


Location and details of Kilwinning Cemeteries



Registers of Burials in Kilwinning Parochial Cemetery (Ayrshire Scotland)

1870 - 1897 for various Surnames (not a complete listing)


Some Post 1855 Marriage and Death Certificates


Extracts from Kilwinning Old Parish Records

A few entries for certain surnames. If you have researched more please send for uploading.


Extracts from Kilwinning Poor Relief Book

Interesting details of the people and the hardships of the 1800s. Sometimes details of family members that might not be recorded elswhere are found in these records.


The 1691 Hearth Tax Rolls for Kilwinning

The complete Roll recorded for the Parish of Kilwinning of all who paid the tax.


1791-99 and 1845 Statistical Accounts

Click on the Parish List tab then select Account Year  followed by County and Parish required. Click on the page link in the 'reference' column when this is found.


Shooting the Papingo

Story of the Ancient Society of Kilwinning Archers


A Foul Fiend Reclaims a CUNINGHAME DRUNKARD.

In common with other parts of the country, Ayrshire was of olden days the scene of not a few miraculous occurrences. When the holy St. Winning, for instance, took up his residence on the banks of the Garnock in the eighth century, he received a visit from a friend, who, fond of fishing cast his line in the pellucid stream whose waters oft refreshed the weary saint. He was an expert angler, but to his chagrin the fish would not respond.



Map of Kilwinning today

This Link takes you to the MULTIMAP website where you will find a map of the town and the surrounding area as it is today. You can zoom in and out and move around in all directions.


StreetMap of Kilwinning

This Link takes you to the STREET website where you will find a street map of the town as it is today. You can zoom in and out and move around in all directions.


Old Maps of Ayrshire Place Names

This link goes directly to the OLD MAPS website for an Ayrshire Index to detailed old maps of most Ayrshire Towns around 1860. You can explore out to all sides by using the arrows at the top of the page. These maps are ideal for finding the locations of areas such as farms.



Kilwinning Web Sites


Lots of photographs, old and new, and lots of historical information about, the Ayrshire town of Kilwinning, known affectionately to it's locals as Kilwinkieland! This website also features 360 degree PANORAMIC VIEWS, SLIDESHOWS, and a LIVE WEBCAM of the Kilwinning area, which features some really nice dusk skies on clear evenings

Kilwinning Rangers Football Club




Kilwinning - The crossroads of Ayrshire. Virtual Tour, where to stay, what to do, where to eat. Community - Sport - Shopping.


Eglinton Tournament

The Eglinton Tournament 1839

Fondness for past times grew with the ever increasing speed of change in society. The stability and simplicity of the Middle Ages had a strong appeal, especially to aristocrats with real life Knights amongst their ancestors...................


Eglinton Castle and Estate

Looks at the changing fortunes of the Castle and grounds over the centuries. Shows the industries which were part of the Estate, the staff and other Estate workers and more, and Eglinton Estate as it is today. The beautiful park land and the ruined castle, with full colour photographs.


  The Mother Masonic Lodge

Kilwinning Masonic Lodge is No 0


  Benedictine Abbey of Kilwinning

A community of Tyronensian Benedictines was brought from Kelso; the abbey was soon richly endowed by royal and noble benefactors, possessing granges, large estates, and the tithes of twenty parish churches, and a revenue equivalent to some 20,000 pounds sterling a year



History of Kilwinning

Kilwinning traces it's history back to the coming of St Winning nearly 1400 years ago. The ancient abbey, built in the 12th century on the site of an early celtic monastery, whose ruins tower over the town centre, was one of the masterpieces of medieval architecture and building. Around this experience grew up what was to become the craft of Freemasonry, and the unique Mother Lodge of Freemasonry in Kilwinning. Around the world freemasons associate with Kilwinning. The early masons probably met in the Chapter House of the Abbey but after the destruction of the abbey following the reformation it is on record that they moved to 24 Main Street owned by brother Hugh Smith this is known locally as the Mason's Howff next to the Mercat Cross.

The Garnock Bridge was originally built in 1439 to link Kilwinning with the settlement of Segdoune.


Kilwinning Books


Kilwinning in Old Picture Postcards Vol 1
J. Kennedy

To Order or More Information

Kilwinning in Old Picture Postcards Vol 2
Roy Lauchlan

To Order or More Information

Kilwinning Masonic Lodge
Roy Lauchlan

To Order or More Information

Old Kilwinning
Roy M.B.E. Lauchlan

To Order or More Information


Kilwinning Maps


Pathfinder Map 0443 (NS34): Kilwinning
Ordnance Survey

To Order or More Information  

Ayrshire Books


Help needed to source old pictures, postcards or photographs, interesting articles or the history of Kilwinning. If you would like to help please contact me at email address below.






and .co.uk


Copyright © 2000-13   The contents of these webpages are copyright.