Ayrshire Towns and Parishes

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Loudoun Parish

The parish contained the villages of Newmilns and Darvel, and the hamlet of Auldtown

There is also a Loudoun County in Virginia, U.S.A.

Loudoun Kirk and Kirkyard view By Kenny Monaghan  

For many centuries a castle or fort has occupied a position on or near the site of the present Loudoun Castle. Loudoun gave its name to a local parish, village and kirk.

Loudoun was an area for registration only until 1905 and then in 1906 it was separated into the towns of Darvel and Newmilns. These towns almost run into one another and are about four or five miles at most from Galston. There is still a Loudoun Castle (and Theme Park) and estate there today.


Atomz - Search whole website for Loudoun             Whatuseek - Search whole Website for Dalry

Google Map of Loudoun



Notes on the way through Ayrshire - 100 years ago


EAST of Kilmarnock. The town of NEWMILNS, the capital of the parish, is seven and a half miles east of Kilmarnock, and stands on the north bank of the Irvine, with a wing called Greenholm on the south bank, which is in the parish of Galston. It is not a new but an old town, having been made a burgh of barony in the reign of James IV. It has a terminal railway station, lace and muslin manufactories, a grain mill, lots of shops; a pas" office, with telegraph, money order, and savings bank departments; Royal and Clydesdale Banks; Established, Free, and United Presbyterian Churches; two public schools, and a working men’s institute. Population in 1871, 3028; in 1881, 2860.

Its chief antiquity is an old tower, notable in the history of the Covenanters. The Established Church here will always be held venerable, in memory of the Rev. Dr. Laurie, minister of Loudoun, the first Christian minister who exerted himself in behalf of the poverty stricken and persecuted young poet Burns

The Churchyard contains several martyrs’ monuments, one of them in memory of Captain John Nisbet of Hardhill, one of the toughest of the Covenant heroes. He was a descendant Murdoch, one of the Lollards of Kyle. In early youth he was engaged in military service on the Continent; returned to Scotland in 1650, at the age of 23; accepted the Covenant with King Charles II. at Scone, and fought many battles for his persecuted Christian brethren. He was amongst the Presbyterians of Ayrshire who suffered defeat at Pentland Hills, 40 of them being killed and 130 taken prisoners. Nisbet was left lying on the field for dead, November, 1666. But the hero had more persecution to endure, and more battles to fight for his country’s freedom to worship God. Being of the same genuine Loudoun stuff as those who fought and conquered with Wallace and with Bruce at Loudoun Hill, he rallied, and found his way home; was present, with the rank of Captain, at Drumclog, where Claverhouse was defeated, June, 1679, and at Bothwell Bridge, where the Presbyterians were completely overwhelmed with numbers, and defeated with great slaughter, June 22, 1679. "Honest old John Nisbet "-as Sir William Hamilton, the Commander at Drumclog, styled him-was captured by the enemy, at Fenwick, in 1685, conveyed to Edinburgh, and executed. He met his death with great fortitude, Here is another martyr’s tombstone in a kail yard. Newmilns has cultivated environs, delightfully figured with woods and rippling burns, on both sides of the river.

The town of Darvel stands on the right bank of Irvine River, near the foot of Glen Water, one mile and a half east of Newmilns. It is largely in the form of one street, extending east and west to fully half-a-mile in length. It has a post office, a Union Bank, some good shops; Free, United Presbyterian, Secession, and Evangelical Union Churches ; a public school ; and thrives with lace factories. Population in 1871, 1729; in 1881, 1701.

Loudoun Hill, two miles east of Darvel, is a most Earl of Pembroke, who were here completely defeated and routed by 600 Ayrshire men, under Bruce, March, 1307.

Loudoun Castle stands on slightly elevated ground, nearly two miles west of Newmilns, and fully half-a-mile north-east of Galston. An old part of it was built in the fifteenth century; and that, we suppose, would be built on the site of a still older castle which was in existence at a much earlier date. We find Sir Neil Campbell of Loudoun mentioned amongst those who, to save their lives, swore fealty to Edward, July 29, 1296. A sister of his, or of his father, was married to Sir Reginald Crawford of Crosbie Castle, Sheriff of Ayr, and was the maternal grandmother of the great William Wallace. The Dukes of Argyll, if not all the Campbells of Scotland, are descended from these ancient Campbells of Loudoun. The stately modern mansion, which it now chiefly is, was built during three years-from 1807 to 1811 - and a better ideal of a grand lordly castle rising amid its woods could not be. The pleasure grounds are very fine: the park, studded with great trees, and reaching down south to the Irvine, half-a-mile distant, is bonny. There are many miles of " Loudon’s bonny woods and braes " and " Loudon’s flowery lea, lassie "-an excellent place to spend " happy bridal days"--lying to the sun. Sir John Campbell, first Earl of Loudoun, created 1637, resisted Charles I. in his attempt to force Episcopacy on Scotland; garrisoned the castles of Strathaven, Douglas, and Tantallan for his fellow Covenanters; in 1641 was appointed Lord High Chancellor of Scotland-an office which he held for 19 years, until he was deposed at the restoration; was also First Commissioner of the Treasury; and in 1648 was President of the Scottish Parliament. Died in 1663. Hugh, third Earl, was a friend of Allan Ramsay. Burns, on the origin of the song, "The Lass o’ Patie’s Mill," says -- " The following anecdote, which I had from the present Sir William Cunningham of Robertland, who had it of the late John, Earl of Loudoun, I can, on such authorities, believe:- Allan Ramsay was residing at Loudoun Castle with the then Earl, father to Earl John; and one forenoon, riding or walking out together, his Lordship and Allan passed a sweet romantic spot on Irvine Water, still called ‘Patie’s Mill,’ where a bonnie lass was ‘tedding hay, bareheaded, on the green.’ My lord observed to Allan that it would be a fine theme for a song. Ramsay took the hint, and lingering behind, he composed the first shetch of it, which he produced at dinner."

The hamlet of LOUDOUN KIRK lies nearly a mile to the west of the Castle, and close by the wood-shaded ruin of Loudoun Kirk and auld Kirkyard, where may be seen the graves of Thomas Fleming of Loudoun Hill, who fell at Drumclog; Janet Little, the Scottish milkmaid poetess, contemporary of Burns; and another poetess, Lady Flora Hastings, daughter of Francis Radon, Marquis of Hastings, by his wife, Flora Mure Campbell, Countess of Loudoun in her own right. Lady Flora was born in 1806. Endowed with rare talents and accomplishments, she was chosen a Lady of the Household of H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent, where she was seized with a painful malady-enlargement of the liver. From this unfortunate circumstance her chaste and refined character was abused with shameless scandal, in the midst of which she died, aged 33 . Her poems, in one volume, were published after her death. The Countess, last of the great Campbells of Loudoun, was so affected by her daughter’s piteous and untimely end that she survived her only a short time, and died of a broken heart.

The parish is about nine miles long, east and west. Area, 15,486 acres. Population in 1571, 5525; in 1881, 5239.



1791-99 and 1845 Statistical Accounts


Cameron in Loudoun Parish


1851 Census for Loudoun (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!


The Raid of Loudoun

The Campbells of Loudoun and the Kennedys of Carrick were at feud during the earlier part of the sixteenth century. There was no dissension then in the great family of southern Ayrshire. The Earl of Cassillis was the virtual monarch of his own country-side, and he rode whithersoever he listed, from the Doon into the heart of Galloway, amid vassals who owned his undisputed sway. The powerful collateral branch of Bargany yielded obedience to the King of Carrick. Its head may have been jealous of the overpowering domination of the Earl; but internal disputes wore as yet under check, and to all intents and purposes the Kennedys could be depended on to rally to the 'Standard of Lord Cassillis, when he upraised it either for Ayrshire feud, or to lead his men across the frontier of the shire in the national struggle or the factional fights which decimated Scotland. Cassillis sided with the Duke of Albany. Not so Sir Hew Campbell of Loudoun..............


StreetMap of Loudoun

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.


Map of Loudoun Area today

This Link takes you to the MULTIMAP website where you will find a map of the Castle and the surrounding area 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.



Loudoun Websites

Parkers of Loudoun & Galston Geneaology


Friends of Loudoun Kirk

The Friends of Loudoun Kirk have started up a new interactive wiki site for Loudoun/Galston areas.   They are looking for memories, stories etc in fact anything connected to the Loudoun Parish.

The website is
http://www.geocities.com/loudkirk and the wiki site is http://loudounkirk.wetpaint.com/


Loudoun Books


Pre-1855 Gravestone Inscriptions in Kilmarnock and Loudoun District
Alastair G. Beattie, Margaret H. Beattie

To Order or More Information


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







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