Ayrshire Towns and Parishes

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 Stevenston view By Kenny Monaghan 

Note there is also a Stevenston in Oxfordshire, England and a NEW Stevenston in North Lanarkshire

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

Google map of Stevenston

100 years ago  (Notes on the way through Ayrshire)


ON the sea shore, south-west of Kilwinning. The town of Stevenston occupies a pleasantly elevated site, fully half-a-mile from the shore, and one mile north-east from Saltcoats. It is one of the ancient towns, St. Monochís Fair, held here annually, being mentioned in a charter of 1189; has a railway station; a post office, with telegraph, money order, and savings bank departments; a good few shops, Established and Free Churches, and a public school. Population (including Ardeer Ironworks village, a little to the south) in 1871, 3140; in 1881, 3556. Ardeer Ironworks, Ardeer Foundry, Ardeer Brickworks, and Ardeer Quarry (where a fine building sandstone is obtained) are not far distant. Coal, ironstone, and Lime-stone are also got. Much of the coal in the parish has already been worked, but the coal measures here continue to a great extent under the sea. A large portion of the town of Saltcoats is within this parish. The chief seats are Kerilaw, Mayville, Ardeer, Hayocks, Auchenharvie, and Seabank. The love of antiquity is excited by the fine old ruins of Kerilaw or Stevenston Castle, half-a-mile north of the town. Its earliest known owners and occupants were Lockharts, in the eleventh century; belonged subsequently to Cunninghams, Earls of Glencairn, one of the most remarkable of whom was Alexander, fifth Earl, Protestant leader. He was the first to raise an army in support of the Reformation in Scotland, with which he joined and protected Knox at Perth, 11th May, 1559, and put into effect the great Reformerís instructions to "tear down the rookeries and the rooks would fly away." He also wrote some poetry. Died in 1574. The parish is bounded on the east by Kilwinning and Irvine. Along the shore, south-east, is an extensive ridge of sandhills, comprising about one-third of the parish; and, at the the north-west end of the ridge, a large dynamite factory. Excepting this, the soil is good and finely farmed. A number of seats are adorned with plantations and sunny burn braes, with natural shrubbery, and there is a beautiful loch just within the north boundary. Prom the mouth of Garnock and Irvine, north-west-ward, the length of the parish is four miles and three-quarters; and from Hillhead Hill to a point of the Inner Nebbock, Saltcoats, its widest part is three miles. Area, 3771 acres. Population in 1871, 5019; in 1881, 5694.


Cholera Plague in Stevenston - 1845


About 1845, Stevenston was visited by a plague in the form of Asiatic cholera or, as it was sometimes called, pestilential cholera. As has been
previously stated, and in all, over six hundred people died in Stevenston from the disease over a period of years. Cholera was visited to the United
Kingdom in 1832 being brought it is believed, by soldiers who had served in India. The disease was ushered in by an attack of enteritis, retching,
deafness and blindness, which lasted from six to seven hours before the patient succumbed. 

Sanitary arrangements in Stevenston village at this period were non-existent. It is to the credit of the Parochial Board that certain of 
their number took it upon themselves to visit the various wells in the town from which the townspeople drew their drinking water and took the necessary
steps to ensure that they were not contaminated with either decayed vegetables or animal matter. In some instances they found byres and stables
contiguous to the drinking wells and ordered their removal. One party was prosecuted for throwing into the burn a chaff bed on which a member of the
family had died of cholera. The burn at this period was open at 'Coorouden' or New Street as we know it today. 

A young doctor was brought from Glasgow to help combat the epidemic, but with the lack of proper sanitary arrangements it was rather difficult.
However, the best was done and in some instances tenants were forbidden to keep cattle at the front or the back of dwellings. Nearly all the people,
and they comprised weavers, colliers and labourers, who succumbed to the cholera were interred together in the common ground in the Coorouden

In 1871, the workmen at Ardeer Ironworks erected a memorial to the memory to all who had to be interred in common ground up till that time. The monument
takes the form of an obelisk and is situated at the top of the main drive in the Coorouden or cemetery. The inscription reads:
In this Plot
Six Hundred and Six of the				
Inhabitants of Stevenston
Who died between 5th Aug. 1845 and April 1871
To Their Memory
The Workers of Ardeer Ironworks
Dedicate this Monument



O saw ye bonnie Lesley
As she gaed o'er the border?
She's gane, like Alexander,
To spread her conquests farther.

To see her, is to love her,
And love but her for ever;
For nature made her what she is,
   And ne'er made sic anither!

                                                                                Robert Burns


  Prehistoric Stevenston

Extracted from Prehistoric man in Ayrshire by John Smith


  Ardeer's Ironworks Mechanics

Mechanics with their hammer tools pose along with administrative staff. Ardeer Ironworks were founded in 1849. At the time of this photograph the Ironworks belonged to Glengarnock Iron & Steel Co Ltd, which was later absorbed by Merry & Cunninghame Ltd, and closed around 1931.

Workinglives Website


Photographs of Headstones In Stevenston Cemeteries

High Kirk      New Street

By Kenny Monaghan kennymonaghan@btinternet.com contact him here 


1791-99 and 1845 Statistical Accounts


Extracts from Stevenston Parish Records

A few entries from the Old parish Register.


Extracts from Stevenston Poor Relief Book

Great source for finding that 'missing' information on your Stevenston ancestors.


Pigot's 1837 Directory of Stevenston

A great description of the Parish in 1837 and details of the tradesmen, shopkeepers, clergy and gentry.


The 1691 Hearth Tax Rolls for Stevenston

One of the first Roll of local inhabitants carried out - Contains the complete list of those who paid this tax.


Rev. Landsborough's Stevenston Parish Lists

Very important sets of records kept by the Rev Landsborough of his parishoners in the Parish of Stevenston, over a period of time.


Some Stevenston Deaths between 1747 and 1820

Auld, Cunninghame, Dyet, Esdale, Frew, Howie, Jamphra, Jeffrey, Love, Raeside, Reid, Service, Skeoch, Spence.


 Some Stevenston Monumental  Inscriptions

From High Kirk, New Street and Hawkhill Cemeteries


The Will of Robert Reid Cuninghame of Auchenharvie 26th December 1814

Very interesting details of the family and the industry on Saltcoats and Stevenston at this time. Particularly in Will 2.


The Feud of Glencairn and Eglinton

THE district of Cuninghame was long the chosen battleground of the rival families of Glencairn and Eglinton. Both were of high renown, both eminent in the service of their country, both produced men who gave their lives to the national cause, and both, at crises in the history of Scotland came nobly to her aid. But for many long, years in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there ran through their own personal history a deadly and a bitter and a relentless feud, a feud which sent the flames curling from the roof-tree of Eglinton Castle itself..........................


Map of Stevenston 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 Stevenston

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.



The old church, dedicated to St. Monoch, was externally an edifice of rather a picturesque cast, but in regard to accommodation and comfort it was altogether inadequate. It occupied a site on the west bank of the rivulet immediately north of the village, above which it was elevated about forty feet. The present church was built about 1832, and occupies the same site. It is of the common rectangular form with the gable facing the village, the front gable with tower and spire attached being its principal elevation, and the only part of the exterior possessing any architectural pretence. Beneath the church are three family vaults, belonging respectively to Ardeer, Kerilaw, and Seabank................>





Stevenston Websites  



Stevenston Books


Old Stevenston
R McSherry, M. McSherry

To Order or More Information



Stevenston Maps


Pathfinder Map 0442 (NS14/24): Ardrossan & Stevenston
Ordnance Survey

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Ayrshire Books








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