Ayrshire Towns and Parishes

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Home Prehistoric Stewarton Stewarton 1837 Stewarton 1846



Note there is also a Stewarton in Dumfries and Galloway, and also in Argyll and Bute



St Columba's Parish Church view By Kenny Monaghan 


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

Google Map of Stewarton

 Notes on the way - Through Ayrshire - 100 Years Ago

Stewarton Parish

NORTH-EAST of Irvine. The town of Stewarton stands on  Stewart Clan at Stewarton, whose chief was crowned King; and if we mistake not, its name should be the Royal or Stuart bonnet, and should have a Stuart tartan rim, and be worn as an indispensable part of the Clan Stewart garb. Its unity with the kilt would harmonize completely with the unity of Lowlander and Highlander under the Stuarts. In the fifteenth century Stewarton was the private property of the Stewart kings. Their castle here, as well as the old Church of St. Mary connected with it, is now extinct. The Kilmarnock bonnet, doubtless that of the Clan Boyde, was very broad. With antiquarian research, it might be possible to reproduce most of the old clan bonnets. They would make an interesting exhibition - a stimulus to trade. 

David Dale, philanthropist, and founder of the political system called Socialism, was born at Stewarton, January 6, 1739. He was bred to handloom weaving, at which he worked till he was 32 years of age, when he went into Glasgow, commenced business there, and made a large fortune in 20 years. He formed a benevolent scheme for the improvement of the condition of the working classes; and, to carry it into effect, in the year 1784 feued the site for a village and extensive cotton mills on the Clyde, about a mile from Lanark. In April, 1785, he began building the first mill; and in 1793, when four mills and ‘the village of New Lanark had been built, the number of people employed was 1334, which afterwards increased to 4000. Mr. Dale’s system was to give to his workers the whole value of their labour, by dividing the profits amongst them periodically. They were engaged for a term of years, during which they were supplied only with a sufficiency of the necessaries of life - as food, clothing, houses, schooling &. - and at its termination received in a lump sum the accumulated surplus profits. An anecdote is told by Lord Kinloch which illustrates in some measure the terms of familiar equality that subsisted between Mr. Dale and his workers. His Lordship says:-" My father had been in the counting-house of the well-known David Dale, the founder of the Lanark Mills, and eminent for his benevolence. Mr. Dale, who, it would appear, was a short, stout man, had a person in his employment named Matthew. One winter day Mr. Dale came into the counting-house, and complained that he had fallen on the ice. Matthew, who saw that his master was not much hurt, grinned a sarcastic smile. ‘I fell all my length’ said Mr. Dale. ‘ Nae great length, sir,’ said Matthew. ‘ Indeed, Matthew, ye need not laugh,’ said Mr. Dale; ‘I have hurt the sma’ of my back.’ ‘I wunner whaur that is,’ said Matthew." The new Lanark Mills were, during a lengthened period, under the management of Mr. Dale’s son-in-law, Robert Owen, a native of Wales. On the death of his father-in-law, Mr. Owen,** who was formerly one of the employees, became the owner of the mills, and extended still further Mr. Dale’s system of " Liberty, Equality, Fraternity." ’ With the view of obtaining more favourable conditions for its nationalization or universalization, Owen sold the New Lanark Mills? and bought a large tract of land in America, where he formed a community which he called " New Harmony." This proving unsuccessful, he returned home, and established a community at Orbiston, Lanarkshire, and another at Tytherley, Hampshire, and also a Labour Exchange in London; but all were unsuccessful. He also wrote vigorously on the subject; but his judgment was overpowered by his enthusiasm, and, after departing from Mr. Dales well-established footing, he succeeded in nothing but expending the large fortune. Dale was elected a magistrate of Glasgow in 1800, and also preached there, to a congregation of his own forming. Died in Glasgow, 1806, aged 67. 

Robert Watt, M.D., author of " Bibliotheca Britannica; or, a General Index to British and Foreign Literature," produced, besides that great laborious work, other important works on the nature and treatment of diseases; and was president of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow. Born at Stewarton, 1774. Died in Glasgow, 1819, aged 45.

The parish contains limestone and coal. The surface is agreeably figured with the courses of rivulets, and rises north-east by gentle terraces to moorlands of no great height, is decked with the seats of Kennox, Robertland, Lainshaw, Girgenti, many pleasant farmers’ houses, and several ruined castles. Its length, north-east, is fully nine miles, and its greatest breadth four miles-comprising 13,626 acres. Population in 1871, 5019; in 1881, 4309.

** Informed by Geoff Palmer  CGPG@bigpond.com  that [Mr Robert Owen was acting for a consortium of Manchester mill owners who wished to purchase the Lanark mills of David Dale. This purchase was arranged before Mr Robert Owen became engaged to Anne Caroline Dale, daughter of David Dale. He was not a “former employee” who obtained ownership of the mills by marrying the owner’s daughter.]


1791-99 and 1845 Statistical Accounts


  Photographs of Headstones in Stewarton St Columba's Churchyard

By Kenny Monaghan kennymonaghan@btinternet.com contact him here



Map of Stewarton 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 Stewarton

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.



In the reign of James V., the vicarage of Stewarton was taxed at 4/-, being a tenth of the estimated value. At the Reformation the tithes and other revenues of the church yielded yearly, to the monks of Kilwinning, 133 bolls of meal, I boll of beer, 254 bolls of oats, and £34 6s 8d for part of the tithes which were leased. The church, built in 1696, served its purpose down to the year 1825, when a large addition was made to it, increasing the sittings to about 1300. The only noteworthy feature in its architecture is its very unassuming spire, which rises semi-detached from the front gable. Over the pointed arched doorway in front of its base, now, however, built up, is a rather oblong, window-like compartment, in which the shake-fork forms, as it were, the mullion. The shake-fork is the crest of the Cuninghame family, to whom the patronage of the church belonged..........................


Stewarton Websites


Stewarton Books


Stewarton Maps

Pathfinder Map 0444 (NS44/54): Stewarton & Kilmaurs
Ordnance Survey

To Order or More Information


Ayrshire Books

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






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