Ayrshire Towns and Parishes

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Home New Views Old Views Kirkmichael 1837 Kirkmichael 1846



Kirchmichael of Gemilston

Note there is also a Kirkmichael in Perth and Kinross  in Banff and also in Perth.





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

Google Map of Kirkmichael

Notes on the way through Ayrshire - 100 years ago 


East of Maybole. The village of Kirkmichael is finely placed on the north bank of Dyrock Burn, crossed here by a bridge, half-a-mile north of Girvan Water, and three miles east of Maybole. It has an Established Church, a public school, a post office; grocer’s, shoemaker’s, black-smith’s, and joiner’s shops; Kirkmichael Arms Inn, and a grain mill. Population in 1871, 372; in 1881, 343.

Kirkmichael House stands, embellished with woods, on the opposite side of the burn. Cloncaird Castle stands amid more extensive sylvan adornings, on the right bank of the Girvan, one mile and a quarter south-east.

The village of CROSSHILL is built on the left side of Girvan Water, crossed here by a bridge, two miles south-west of Kirkmichael. It is a bright looking place, with shops, a post office (with money order and savings bank departments), Established and Free Churches, public schools, various blacksmiths’ and joiners’ shops, and a grain mill. Population in 1871, 835; in 1881, 740.

Cassillis House, a grand old place, partly modern, embosomed in umbrageous woods on the Doon, is two and a half miles north of Kirkmichael. John Kennedy, sixth Earl of Cassillis, born 1600, was a powerful Covenanter and a chief leader of the Presbyterians who met in the famous Glasgow Assembly of 1638, and, with Henderson as Moderator, abolished Episcopacy in Scotland in defiance of the English advisers of Charles I. His wife, Lady Jean Hamilton, daughter of the Earl of Haddington, is the reputed heroine, and Cassillis House the scene, of the ballad, " Johnnie Faa, the Gipsy Laddie." Sir John Faa was a former lover who came to Cassillis, disguised as a gipsy, and eloped with her ladyship.

" The gipsies they cam to my Lord Cassillis yett, And O ! but they sang bonnie ;

They sang sae sweet, and sae complete, That doun cam our fair lady.

"She cam tripping doun the stairs, Wi’ a’ her maids before her :

As soon as they saw her weelfaur’d face, They coost their glamourie ower her."

It is likewise the opening scene of Burns’ Halloween:-

" Upon that night, when fairies light On Cassillis Downans dance."

The Downans are little hills to the south-east of the Castle, on two of which is the bare grassy ring of an ancient British camp for the fairies to dance in. 

The surface of the parish is finely diversified with heights and hollows, lochs and shrubby burns, numerous individual trees, and knots and rows of plantation. It is mostly in a state of culture, save Cloncaird Moor, east of the Castle, and a narrow point at the south end, which rises at a difficult crank of an old road-called the Deil’s Elbow - to a height of 817 feet, and at Glenalla Fell to 1406 feet above sea level. Freestone and limestone are plentiful, From the back of Glenalla Fell, north to the Doon at Dalrymple, the length of the parish is nine miles; and from Ballochbroe, eastward to half-a-mile beyond Loch Spallander, its widest part is five miles. Area, 15,930 acres. Population in 1871, 2254; in 1881, 1781.


1791-99 and 1845 Statistical Accounts


1851 Census for Kirkmichael (2% of Census Total only)

The 2 per cent extract of the 1851 census was done by taking every 50th enumeration book, and transcribing that entire book; NOT every 50th page. As a result, you get full data for all those persons in those books which were taken (Not randomly selected - just every 50th book in the sequence throughout the UK was transcribed). The result is that you might find all the household of interest to you, but the odds are 50 to 1 against!


  Kirkmichael Gravestone Listing

By Kenny Monaghan kennymonaghan@btinternet.com contact him here



Map of Kirkmichael 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 Kirkmichael

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.



Kirkmichael Websites


Kirkmichael and Crosshill


Kirkmichael Books


Monumental Inscriptions from Kirkmichael Churchyard, Ayrshire
Gordon Killicoat, David Killicoat

To Order or More Information


Ayrshire Books

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







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