A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer
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airlie, a coast village and a quoad sacra parish in the S of Largs parish, NW Ayrshire. Sheltered eastward by uplands that rise to a height of 1331 feet, the village is charmingly seated on the Firth of Clyde, 1 5/8 mile E of Great Cumbrae by water, 2¾ miles S by E of Largs by road, and 4 J N of West Kilbride by an extension of the Glasgow and South-Western railway, opened on 1 June 1880, and traversing at the back of the village one of the longest tunnels in the S of Scotland. A century since it was only a tiny fishing hamlet, but now it has several handsome villas, an Established church (1833; 300 sittings), a Free church, a school, 2 inns, a post office, with money order and savings' bank departments, 2 railway stations, of which that at the Pier is a fine erection of 1882, a steamboat pier (1882), and a yacht building-yard, which, dating from 1812, has turned out some of the finest clippers afloat. Kelburne Castle stands 1¼ mile to the N; and at the village itself is Fairlie House, the seat of Charles Stuart Parker, Esq. (b. 1829), M.P. for Perthshire from 1868 to 1874, and for Perth from 1878, who owns 2 acres in the shire, valued at £100 per annum. Fairlie Burn, rising on Fairlie Moor (1100 feet), and hurrying 2 miles westward to the Firth along the boundary between Largs and West Kilbride, threads in its lower course a lovely glen. Here, on a rounded knoll, above a waterfall, stands the ruins of Fairlie Castle, a square tower, built in 1521, the seat of Fairlies of that ilk who figure from the 14th to the 18th century. Elizabeth Halket, Lady Wardlaw (1677-1727), laid in this tower the scene of her fine ballad Hardyknute. The quoad sacra parish is in the presbytery of Greenock and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. Pop. of village (1871) 294, (1881) 672; of q. s. parish (1871) 313, (1881) 771.Ord. Sur., sh. 21, 1870. See pp. 82-85 of Wemyss Bay (Paisley,
An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is
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