Ayrshire Towns and Parishes

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



Home New Views Old Views Old Parish Registers Skelmorlie Aisle Kelburn Castle Prehistoric Largs King Hacos Largs 1837 1841 Employment Largs 1846 Cumbraes 1846 Voters Roll 1857 Stone Inscriptions





Google Map of Largs        Waverley slideshow:-

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

There is also a Largs in New South Wales, Australia 



'Notes on the way through Ayrshire - 100 years ago'    - written late 19th Century  


North of West Kilbride, and the most northerly parish in Ayrshire. The town of Largs stands on Largs Bay, two and a half miles north of Fairlie. It is a seaport and

In the the year 1263  Haco, King of Norway, invaded Scotland with a fleet of 160 ships; and on the 2nd of October landed his numerous troops at Hayle, near Largs, where they were encountered by the Scotch army under Alexander III., and disastrously defeated-nearly the whole Norwegian army being slain, and the mighty fleet captured, which was rendered easy by a providential gale from the west preventing its timely retreat.

Kelburn House, seat of the Earl of Glasgow, stands about one mile and a half south of the town, at some distance from the shore. In 1296 it belonged to Robert de Royville (Boyle), whose name occurs amongst those who did homage to Edward IDavid Boyle, first Earl of Glasgow, eldest son of John of Kelburn, was born 1660;

The village of FAIRLIE stands on the south verge of the parish. It is a rising and pretty place, with villa residences, shops, a post office, Established and Free Churches, a public school, a new steamboat pier, a railway station, a famous yacht-building yard, and the ruins of Fairlie Castle, the scene of the ballad "Hardicanute." Population in 1871, 307; in 1881, 685, 13 of whom are in the parish of West Kilbride.

Brisbane House, in the richly wooded Brisbane Valley, two miles north of Largs, and one mile from the shore, belongs to the family of Brisbane, a very distinguished member of which was General Sir Thomas Macdougall Brisbane, Bart. Entered the 38th Regiment as Ensign, 1790; served through the war in Flanders; was at the capture of St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Trinidad, in the West Indies; embarked for the Peninsula, 1812, was in six general actions under the Duke of Wellington, and was thanked by Parliament for gallantry; Governor of Australia, 1821-26. Some knowledge of the esteem’ in which he was held during his lifetime may be gathered from the splendid array of honours conferred upon him at different times and places. He was M.A. of Cambridge, LL.D. of Edinburgh, D.C.L. of Oxford, member of the Institute of France, member of the College of Rome and Naples, member of the Royal Society, London; President of the Royal Society, Edinburgh; gold medallist of the Royal Astronomical Society, a Knight of the Grand Cross of Hanover, a Knight of the Grand Cross of the Bath, &SC. Born July 23, 1773. Died here, January 27,1860, aged 87.

Knock Castle stands on the shore, a little farther north; Skelmorlie Castle, embraced with woods, north of that, and near the village of SKELMORLIE - fashionable seaside watering place, consisting of Upper and Lower Skelmorlie, one part being built on elevated ground above rocks, behind the other, which is on the sands. It has a steamboat pier; a post office, with money order and savings bank departments; shops, an Established Church, a public school, gas works, a hydropathic establishment, and many handsome villas. Population in 1871,407; in 1881,757. With the grand profusion of hill and mountain scenery viewed across the Firth of Clyde, and ships of every variety and nationality passing and repassing on the face of the water, and sheltered as it is from the east wind and open to the western breezes, the situation of Skelmorlie for health and charming beauty has few equals. A railway station is at WEMYSS BAY, on the edge of Renfrewshire, one mile and a half north.

Along the shore of Largs the soil rests in many places on stratified rock of the old red sandstone class, and is light and carefully cultivated. The greater part of the parish consists of hills, which rise a mile from the shore in the vicinity of Largs and Brisbane, and close on the shore in other parts. They are formed of igneous rocks, covered with soil bearing rather fine grasses, considering the elevation; and here are unmistakable traces of tillage farming in ancient times, at a much greater altitude than at present.

From Fairlie, north to the source of Kelly Burn, the length of the parish is nine miles; and from the beach, at Knock Castle, straight east to the summit of the Hill of Stake (1711 feet high, and the highest of the range whose tops are the eastern boundary) its widest part is upwards of four miles-comprising 21,850 acres. Population in 1871, 4087; in 1881, 5149.

Kelly Burn, the boundary here between Ayrshire and Renfrewshire, rises four miles to the east, and ripples down its glen to the sea at Wemyss Bay. It has dry braes, covered with bent, grass, and thyme, and damp hollows, with sprotts and rue, recalling the curious old ballad, renovated by Burns, and beginning---

" There lived a carle on Kellyburn braes (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi’ thyme),

And he had a wife was the plague o’ his days ; And the thyme it is withered, and rue is in prime."


1791-99 and 1845 Statistical Accounts


King Hacos Battle with the Scots at Largs

The Norsemen in their strong warships had swept the western sea-board of Scotland. They held possessions on the mainland and over them they had placed rulers; they held whole islands, and on them they had set up tributary kings. The Scots, united under one king looked westward and northward; and wherever they cast their gaze, there floated the banners of Norway.


Map of Largs today

The GREAT Google mapping - by far the best on the internet.


StreetMap of Largs

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.



Largs Web Sites





  Old Largs Photos

A collection of over 100 postcards and photographs of old Largs.



Largs & District Historical Society

A brief summary of the career of one ship, which had various names, including that of the town of LARGS; and an introduction to the Largs and District Historical Society.


Largs and District Family History Society

A resource for those researching their family history in North Ayrshire which corresponds to the former District of Cunninghame in Strathclyde Region and includes the Island of Arran and the two Cumbraes.



This website contains up to date information and photographs of Largs and neighbouring towns. The website is updated every weekend.


  Largs Online

This website details everything that tourists and locals alike need to know about Largs - from getting there, to where to stay, what to see, where to eat, and where to go for great entertainment from morning till night !



Largs Books


Kelburn Castle & Country Centre, Ayrshire

To Order or More Information  


In and Around Largs
I B Kerr

To Order or More Information

J R D Campbell

To Order or More Information

Largs and District in Old Picture Postcards
Andrew Brown

 To Order or More Information

Largs Australians
Mary B Hall (Editor)

To Order or More Information

Largs Street Guide

To Order or More Information

Old Largs
R McSherry, M McSherry

To Order or More Information

Parish of Largs
David Baxter, Mary B Hall (Editor)

To Order or More Information


Largs Maps


Pathfinder Map 0429 (NS25/35): Largs & Kilbirnie
Ordnance Survey

To Order or More Information

Ayrshire Books


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







and .co.uk


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