Kyle, an ancient castle and a district in Ayrshire. The castle stood in Auchinleck parish, on an elevated tongue of land between confluent Gelt and Glenmore Waters, 6 miles E of Cumnock. Unknown to history, as to either its origin or its early proprietors, it passed into the possession of the Marquis of Bute; and is now represented by only slight remains. The district, the middle one of the three divisions of the county, has often, in common with Coilsfield, Coyle river, and Coylton parish, been thought to have got its name from 'Auld King Coil,' a Pictish king or regulus, said to have been killed in a battle fought in Coylton parish. It seems, however, to have anciently been all or nearly all covered with forest, so may very probably have got its name from the Celtic Coille, 'a wood;' and it ranked, in the Middle Ages, as a bailiwick. It is bounded on the N by the river Irvine, which divides it from Cunninghame, on the NE by Lanarkshire, on the E by Dumfriesshire, on the S by Kirkcudbrightshire, on the SW by the river Doon, which divides it from Carrick, and on the W by the Firth of Clyde. Its greatest length, from E to W, is 28 miles; its greatest breadth is 23 miles; and its extent of coast, measured in a straight line, is nearly 12 miles. The river Ayr, rising on its eastern border, and traversing it westward to the Firth, divides it into Kyle Stewart on the N and King's Kyle on the S. Other chief streams are the Cessnock, running to the Irvine; the Lugar and the Coyle, running to the Ayr; and the Nith, rising on the southern border, and making a circuitous run of 15¾ miles to the boundary with Dumfriesshire. The parishes are Dundonald, Riccarton, Galston, Craigie, Symington, Mauchline, Sorn, Muirkirk, Monkton, Tarbolton, Newton, St Quivox, Stair, Auchinleck, Ayr, Coylton, Ochiltree, Old Cumnock, New Cumnock, Dalrymple, and Dalmellington; and all are in the presbytery of Ayr. The poorlaw combination of Kyle, with a poorhouse at Ayr, comprehends the parishes of Auchinleck, Ayr, Coylton, New Cumnock. Old Cumnock, Dalmellington, Dalrymple, Mauchline, Muirkirk, Newton, Ochiltree, St Quivox, and Sorn.
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