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Kilmarnock

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Kilmarnock, a royal and police burgh in the SW corner of the parish just described, a seat of important manufactures, the largest town in the West of Scotland S of Paisley, and the tenth most populous town in the whole of Scotland. It stands on Irvine and Kilmarnock Waters, and the municipal boundary crosses the former, and takes in also the Riccarton suburb which is in Riccarton parish. The town has a station on the Glasgow and South-Western railway main line by Dumfries to Carlisle, while it is also the terminus of the Troon and Kilmarnock railway, and has other lines joining the Glasgow and Ayr line at Dalry and Irvine-all the routes belonging to the same system. It is by rail 7½ miles E of Irvine, 9¾ NNW of Mauchline, 15½ NNE of Ayr, 23¾ and 33½ by the direct route and by the Paisley and Dalry route, SSW of Glasgow; by road it is 12 miles from Ayr and 22 from Glasgow. The site slopes gently to the S, and is from l20 to 170 feet above sea-level. The name, like that of the parish, is from Kil Marnoch, that is, the Church of Saint Marnoch or Mernoc. The word Mernoc itself is a contraction of the Celtic words Mo-Ernin-occ, the prefix meaning 'my' and the suffix 'little,' while the centre is the name of an Irish saint, Ernin or Ernene, who died in 634 according to the Annals of Ulster, and in 635 according to Tighernach. Adamnan, in his Life of St Columba, mentions him as a boy attached to the monastery of Clonmacnoise, 'mean in dress and look, and who had not hitherto stood well in the opinions of the seniors,' and as coming forward, when St Columba visited the monastery, 'stealthily, that he might touch unperceived even the hem of the cloak which the blessed man wore, without his feeling or knowing;' but the saint caught him, and bringing him forward blessed his tongue, and said to the monks, 'Though this boy appears to you now very contemptible and worthless, let no one on that account despise him. For from this hour not only will he not displease yon, but he will give you every satisfaction; from day to day he shall advance by degrees in good conduct and in the virtues of the soul; from this day wisdom and prudence shall be more and more increased in him, and great shall be his progress in this your community; his tongue also shall receive from God the gift of both wholesome doctrine and eloquence.' And this came true, for Adamnan adds that Ernene, son of Crasen, 'was afterwards famous and most highly honoured in all the churches of Ireland.' The Breviary of Aberdeen appoints the festival 'Sancti Mernoci epyscopi et confessoris patroni de Kilmernoch' for 25 Oct.

History.- The original church had been probably dedicated to St Marnoch's memory by some of his disciples; but the first church of which we find notice is one stated by Pont, on the authority of the records of the abbey of Kilwinning, to have been 'bulte by the Locartts, Lords of it [Cunninghame], and dedicat to a holy man Mernock.' This would place the foundation probably about the end of the 12th or the beginning of the 13th century; but there must have been subsequent alterations, for one of the door lintels of the old church is said to have borne the date 1410, and this date was about 1840 inscribed on the steeple belonging to it, and now attached to the Laigh Kirk. The church was a curacy under Kilwinning Abbey. In these early days the place must have been a mere hamlet, for almost the only notice of it is in Barbour's Bruce, where mention is made of the route of Sir Philip de Mowbray in his flight after being defeated by Sir James Douglas in 1306-

'Tharfor furth the wayis tuk he then
To Kylmarnock and Kilwynnyne
And till Ardrossane eftre syne.'

Even long after this time it still remained a mere village, depending on the neighbouring castle of Dean; but the favour James VI. entertained for Thomas, the fifth Lord Boyd, led him to grant a charter of erection for it as a burgh of barony in 1591, and this was ratified by parliament ii 1592. It was probably by this time a thriving village, for in 1603 there is a reference to the manufacture of hose and bonnet making, which is supposed to have originated here, and must soon have become a prosperous industry, for in 1647, at a court held by 'ane Noble Lord, James Lord Boyd,' and his bailies, about thirty bonnet weavers appeared and made complaint that servants were being enticed away or were going away, and taking work on their own account, contrary to the welfare of the trade; and it was in consequence ordained that 'no servant or other person presume to take up work at their own hand until first he be thought worthy by the craft, and have given in his sey [essay or trial-piece] to them.' Pont, describing it in the beginning of the 17th century, says:-'Kilmernock-toune and Kirk is a large village and of grate repaire. It hath in it a veekly market and hath a faire stone bridge over the river Marnock, vich glides hard by the said toune till it falles into the river Irving. It hath a pretty church, from vich ye village castell and lordschipe takes its name. The Lord Boyd is now Lord of it, to quhosse predicessors it hath belonged for many generations.' The bridge was on the site of the present Old Bridge, which replaced it in 1762. In Franck's Northern Memoirs (1658) the manufactures are given as the' knitting of bonnets and spinning of Scottish cloth, which turns to very good account. Then, 'he adds,' for their temper of metals they are without compeer-Scotland has not better; and as they are artisans in dirks, so are they artists in fuddling, as if. art and ale were inseparable companions.' Of the place itself he had even a worse opinion than of the inhabitants. The streets were 'seldom clean but on a sun-shiny day, or at other times, when great rains melt all the muck, and forcibly drive it down their cadaverous channels into the river Marr . the influence of planets is their best scavenger.' The houses he describes as ugly, and 'little better than huts, all built so low that their eaves hang dangling to touch the earth. not one good structure is to be found in Kilmarnock, nordo I remember any wall it has, but a river there is, as I formerly told you of, that runs through the town; over which there stood a bridge so wretchedly antient, that it's unworthy our commendations.'

During the Covenanting troubles of the 17th century Kilmarnock figured at various times, and this district, like the other parts of the SW, furnished a considerable number of sufferers. After the Revolution the people were quite willing to have some slight revenge, and so in 1689 Mr Bell, the parson of Kilmarnock, was 'rabbled.' He was seized near Riccarton, carried prisoner to Kilmarnock, where his Book of Common Prayer was taken from him and burned, had the skirt of his gown cut off with a sword, and was finally dismissed as 'an ignorant, obdurate curate and malignant.' After the rising that terminated so disastrously at Rullion Green on the Pentlands, in 1667, the village became the headquarters of General Dalziel, who was in command of the troops in the SW, and the little prison known as 'Thieves' Hole,' to the W of the Cross, was soon filled with miserable prisoners. The house in which Dalziel himself lodged, at the end of the Old Bridge, immediately behind the present Victoria Place, was long looked on with horror in consequence of the association, and must therefore have escaped the misfortune that overtook the greater part of the place in May 1668, when 'the whole toun was burnt into ashes by a violent fire that broke out accidentallie, and about 120 families wer cast out of all habitation and brought to povertie and beggarie.' In 1678 the 'Highland Host' was quartered here as elsewhere in the West, and, not satisfied with private thefts and free quarters, a body of them attempted to sack the town. The Boyds had, in the early part of the century, been Covenanters, and the seventh Lord signed the National Covenant in 1638; but now, though the Earl of Kilmarnock does not seem to have taken any active part in the persecution, he must have at least tacitly acquiesced in the state of affairs that prevailed, for he was in such favour with the authorities, that in 1672 he obtained from Charles II a second charter conferring fresh rights and privileges on the town; and in 1690 an effort was made, with the Earl's consent, to have it erected into a royal burgh, and at the same time the common good and customs were sold to the community. The attempt to obtain a charter as a royal burgh failed; but in 1700 the common good and customs, with 'the common greens of the said town, shops under the tolbooth thereof, the weights, pecks, and measures, the tron and weights thereof, and the customs of the fairs and weekly markets, and all the customs belonging to the said burgh of barony, passed over to the town on a payment of £3650 Scots and a yearly feu-duty of £7 Scots. The tron stood at the Cross, and existed down till about the beginning of the present century. During the rebellion of 1715 the town was firmly Hanoverian, and the neighbourhood raised a considerable body of militia to fight against the rebels. When the fencibles of Cunninghame mustered at Irvine in the end of summer in that year,' the Earl of Kilmarnock appeared at the head of above five hundred of his own men, well appointed and expert, 'and later in the year bodies of them were stationed for a time at Glasgow, and afterwards in Perthshire. In 1745, though the young Earl declared for the Stuarts, the townsmen adhered to their old principles, and refused to follow their superior. From this time onwards the history of the burgh has been one of progress and prosperity, except during the Chartist times between 1816 and 1820-when grave fears of serious disturbances were several times entertained-and in 1852, when on 14 July a violent thunderstorm visited the district, accompanied by heavy rain. The streams that unite to form the Kilmarnock Water came roaring down in very high flood, destroying all the mills and bridges on the way; and a large portion of the town itself was flooded to a depth of from 2 to 7 feet. The damage done within the parliamentary boundaries alone was estimated at £15,000, while nearly 200 families lost the greater part of their effects, and 221 sustained loss of some sort or other.

About the middle of the 18th century Kilmarnock consisted of a few narrow and crooked streets and lanes between the Cross and the site of the High Kirk, including those now known as High Street, Back Street, Fore Street, Soulis Street, Croft Street, Strand Street, and Sandbed Street; but the place was even then prospering so well that in 1765 the Earl of Glencairn opened up a new street, straight and wide, leading from Kilmarnock to Riccarton. This is now Glencairn Street, Glencairn Square, and Titchfield Street. In the next fifty years further extension took place to Dean Street on the N, and to Grange Street on the W; while the Cross district and Titchfield Street had been united by King Street; and East and West Shaw Streets, Netherton and Douglas Street had branched out from the road formed by the Earl of Glencairn. In 1800 a fire broke out in the lower part of the town called Netherton Holm, the present Low Glencairn Street; and, fanned by a brisk breeze and fed by thatched roofs, it was not subdued till it had destroyed over thirty-two houses, and rendered some 300 persons of the poorer class homeless. The attention thus drawn to the old narrow thoroughfares resulted in the Improvement Act of 1802; and the operations of the commissioners then appointed led at once to the removal of nuisances, the widening of old thoroughfares, and the laying out of new streets. A new bridge was built, and King Street, Portland Street, and Wellington Street were all opened before 1810; and since that time, and more particularly between 1855 and 1870, a large number of new streets have been formed, the principal being Portland Road, Duke Street, John Finnie Street, Dundonald Road, and Hamilton Street, while many handsome villas have been erected in Portland Road, London Road, Dundonald Road, Witch Road, and elsewhere. The town now comprises two central areas or squares, a suburban square, and about sixty-five streets exclusive of lanes. It is about 2 miles long from N to S and 1 mile wide, the municipal boundary under the Extension Act of 1871 stretching from the Millburn on the W to Irvine Road on the E, and from beyond Beansburn on the N to beyond Riccarton on the S.

Public Buildings.-The Town-Hall or Council Chambers stand in King Street, and are built on part of a long arched way, which carries the street and the adjacent buildings across Kilmarnock Water. It was erected in 1805, and though now hardly worthy of such a town, is a neat structure of two stories, surmounted by a belfry. The bell and a curious carved mantelpiece in one of the rooms both belonged to the old Town-House which stood to the W of the Cross. The principal room or court-room contains a portrait of Sir James Shaw; one, by James Tannock, of Sir John Dunlop, first M. P. for the Kilmarnock burghs; one, by the same artist, of Burns; one, by William Tannock, of B. R. Bell, first sheriff-substitute for the district; one of the late Earl of Eglinton, by Sir John Watson Gordon; and one of Sir John Shaw, nephew and successor of the above-mentioned Sir James. The bridge on which the Town-Hall stands was erected in 1804, and long bore the name of the New Bridge. It supports also the meat market. Four other bridges cross Kilmarnock Water and the Irvine within the burgh boundaries. and a viaduct of twenty-four lofty arches carries the Glasgow and South-Western railway over Portland Street, Soulis Street, and Kilmarnock Water. The Court-House, a good building in St Marnock Street, was erected in 1852, and subsequently enlarged and improved. The Tontine or Exchange Buildings at the Cross were erected in 1814, and the large hall served both as a well-furnished reading-room and as a place of mercantile resort, until it was discontinued in 1880. At the corner of Green Street and London Road, on part of what was once the Low Green, stands the Corn Exchange. It was erected in 1862 at a cost of about £6600, of which £6000 is the capital of a joint-stock company, and £600 was raised by public subscription for the erection of the tower, which is designed as a memorial of the late Prince Consort, and is known as the Albert Tower. It rises to a height of 110 feet, and has a public clock. The town's arms are cut on the front, and the head carved on the keystone of the window of the main building immediately underneath, represents Prince Albert; that to the left, Lord Clyde; and that to the right, Sir John Shaw. The main buildings, covering a space of about 1602 square yards, are Italian in design, and rise to a height of two stories. The lower story is occupied in front by shops, and behind by a large hall 84 feet long, 51 wide, and 51 high, which is used for corn exchange and other public purposes. There is accommodation for 1200, and at one end is a fine and powerful organ. The upper story contains two large halls, one of which, fronting Green Street, contains the Kilmarnock Library; and the other, fronting London Road, is used for the Athenæum Reading Room. The Kilmarnock Library was instituted in 1797, and by 1862 the library contained 3000 volumes. In that year this library, and those belonging to the Philosophical Institution and the Kilmarnock Athenæum, were all amalgamated, and the number of volumes is now about 10,000, and is annually increasing. About £100 a year from the Crawford bequest is available for library purposes, besides the members' subscriptions. The Philosophical Institution was founded in 1823 for 'the promotion of general, and more particularly of scientific, knowledge,' and sought to attain this end by the formation of a library and museum, by the delivery of lectures, and the holding of meetings for discussion. The Athenæum was founded in 1848, for 'the social and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants, more especially of the youth and working classes, by the providing of a first-class reading-room, the maintaining of a library,' and by such other means as might seem proper. Though the libraries are now all amalgamated, the institutions themselves still remain separate. The subscription for all three is 12s. 6d. per annum, and for each separately a smaller sum. To the S of the Corn Exchange is a large building 81 feet long and 64 wide, used as a market for the sale of butter, eggs, etc.

To the SE, on the ground at the bend of the river, is a large hall known as the Agricultural Hall, and used for the annual shows of dairy produce, etc., held by the Agricultural Association, and also as a volunteer drillhall. The theatre, a handsome Italian building in John Finnie Street, was erected in 1875 at a cost of £7000, provided by a joint-stock company. It is well fitted up, and has accommodation for 1050 persons. The Fever Hospital and Infirmary, on Mount Pleasant, at the N end of Portland Street, was erected in 1867 at a cost of £4146, and has a large number of patients who are carefully tended. It is under the management of a body of directors, and has a staff consisting of a resident doctor, two consulting physicians, and a consulting surgeon. The Astronomical Observatory, at Morton Place, was erected in 1818 by the late Thomas Morton, Esq., at a cost of £1000. On an elevated situation and rising to a height of 70 feet, it commands an excellent view. It contains two telescopes-one Newtonian 93/8 inches in diameter, and the other Gregorian 7 inches in diameter, and both made by Mr Morton himself-and a camera obscura. Kilmarnock House stands between St Marnock Street and Nelson Street, and was the place of residence of the Kilmarnock family after the burning of Dean Castle already referred to. The older part dates from the latter part of the 17th century, and the western part was being built immediately before the rebellion of 1745-46. There are grounds with trees, and along the line of Dundonald Road is a tree-bordered avenue known as the Lady's Walk, which is said to take its name from its having been a favourite place of resort of the last Countess of Kilmarnock after the execution of her husband. The Walk was considerably improved in 1879. The building itself is now used as a Ragged and Industrial School. During the Reform agitation of 1832, a meeting at which it is said 17, 000 persons were present, was held on the lawn in front. There are also other handsome buildings in several of the streets-particularly the buildings of the Co-operative Society at the corner of John Finnie and John Dickie Streets, erected in 1879-80 at a cost of £4000, and several of the bank offices. In Ladeside Street is a model lodging-house erected in 1878. At the Cross is a statue of Sir James Shaw (1764-1843), a native of the adjacent parish of Riccarton, Lord Mayor of London in 1805-6. The monument, which was the work of James Fillans, was erected in 1848. The statue, which represents Sir James in his official robes as Lord Mayor, is about 8 feet high. It is of Carrara marble, and stands on a pedestal with a base of Aberdeen granite. The scroll he is holding in his hand represents the warrant of precedence he obtained in 1806, reviving the right of the Lord Mayor of London to take precedence of every one except the sovereign in all public processions in the city. At the S corner of the Cross is a circular granite stone with the inscription, 'John Nisbet was executed here 14th April 1683.' It marks the place of execution of a Covenanter who was charged with having been engaged in the battle of Bothwell Bridge. A temperance coffee house, presented to the town by Lady Ossington, lady of the manor, was erected in 1883 at a cost of £3500. On the NE of the town and E of High Street is the large and well laid out public park known as the Kay Park. The ground was purchased in terms of a bequest by the late Mr Alexander Kay (17961866), who, at his death, bequeathed £10, 000 for the purpose of acquiring ground for and laying out a public park in Kilmarnock. The present ground, extending altogether to over 40 acres, of which a very small part is reserved for feuing, was acquired at a cost of £9000, and after £3000 had been spent in laying it out, was finally opened to the public in 1879. Near the centre of it is the Burns Monument erected in 1878-79. It is a two-story building, Scotch Baronial in style, with a tower rising to a height of 80 feet. The situation is elevated, and from the top of the tower fine views are obtained of the town and the surrounding districts. On the ground floor are rooms for the accommodation of the keeper. A handsome stone staircase leads up in front to a projecting portion of the upper story, and here, as in a shrine, is a fine marble statue of Burns by W. G. Stevenson. The poet is represented standing with a pencil in his right hand and a note-book in his left, while a cluster of daisies rises at his feet. Behind are three rooms used as a museum, and containing a number of interesting relics connected with the poet, a copy of the first (the Kilmarnock) edition of his poems, a copy by James Tannock of Nasmyth's portrait of Burns, a portrait of Mr Alexander Kay by A. S. Mackay, and a portion of the remains discovered in the crannoge found at Lochlea. The building cost over £1500 and the statue £800. The fountain to the SW was the gift of the late Mrs Crooks of Wallace Bank. There is also a public recreation ground between Dundonald Road and the bank of Irvine Water. Churches.-The Laigh Kirk or Low Parish Church stands near the centre of the town, and occupies the site of an older church erected about the middle of the 18th century. This does not seem to have been a very substantial structure, for it had to be taken down in 1802, when the present one was erected. It might have stood longer, but, its strength being doubted, the fall of some plaster from the ceiling during afternoon service caused a panic that resulted in the death of 29 persons, and the heritors, anxious to allay all cause of alarm, sanctioned its removal. The spire seems to have survived from a still earlier church, and is said to have had the date 1410 on a door-lintel. The date now to be seen was cut about the middle of the present century. The building of 1802 was enlarged in 1831 at a cost of £1200, and now contains 1457 sittings. One good lesson learned from the panic is visible in the spacious staircases leading to the galleries. An organ was introduced some years ago at a cost of about £500. In the interior is a stone in memory of Robert, fourth Lord Boyd, with the following epitaph said to be the composition of Alexander Montgomery, author of The Cherrie and the Slae:-

'1589
Heir lyis yt godlie, noble wyis lord Boyd
Quha kirk & king & commin weil decoir'd
Quhilke war (quhill they yis joweil all injoyd)
Defendit. counsaild. governd. be that lord.
His ancient hous (oft parreld) he restoird.
Twyis sax and saxtie zeirs he leivd and syne
By death (ye thrid of Januare) devoird
In anno thryis fyve hundreth auchtye nyne.'

In the surrounding churchyard there are, among other interesting stones, several to the memory of persons who suffered death during the Covenanting persecutions. The verses on the older ones are very peculiar. The following are the inscriptions:-

'Here lie the heads of John Ross and John Shields, who suffered at Edinburgh dec. 27th 1666 and had their heads set up in Kilmarnock.
Our persecuters mad with wrath and ire
In Edinburgh members some do lye, some here;
Yet instantly united they shall be
And witness 'gainst this nation's perjury.'

On another of recent erection is the following:-

'Sacred to the memory of Thomas Finlay, John Cuthbertson, William brown. Robert and James Anderson (natives of this parish) who were taken prisoners at Bothwell. June 22nd 1679. sentenced to transportation for life, and drowned on their passage near the Orkney Isles. also. John Finlay. who suffered martyrdom 15th December, 1682, in the Grass-Market, Edinburgh.
Peace to the Church! her peace no friends invade,
Peace to each noble martyrs honoured shade;
They, with undaunted courage, truth, and zeal
Contended for the Church and Country's weal;
we share the fruits. we drop the grateful tear,
And peaceful Ashes o'er their ashes rear.'

On another:-

'Here lies John Nisbet, who was taken by Major Balfour's Party and suffered at Kilmarnock, 14th April. 1683. for adhering to the Word of God and our Covenants. Rev. xii. & 11.
Come, reader, see, here pleasant Nisbet lies.
His blood doth pierce the high and lofty skies;
Kilmarnock did his latter hour perceive
And Christ his soul to heaven did receive.
Yet bloody Torrence did his body raise
And buried it into another place;
Saying "Shall rebels lye in graves with me!
We'll bury him where evil doers be."

The Laigh Kirk is the church that figures in Burns' poem of The Ordination. The High Church, in Soulis Street, was erected as a chapel of ease in 1732, and the steeple (which is 80 feet high) in 1740. The total cost was about £1000. It is a very plain building with 952 sittings, and is surrounded by an extensive burialground. A separate parish was constituted and attached to it in 1811. A three-light window was, in 1869, filled with stained glass, as a memorial of the last Earl of Kilmarnock, and a few years ago an organ was introduced at a cost of nearly £300. In the wall enclosing the churchyard, but fronting the street, is a niche with a fluted pillar surmounted by an urn, and having a pediment with an inscription to commemorate a Lord Soulis who is said to have been killed here by one of the Boyds in 1444. The present monument was erected in 1825, and replaced a pillar surmounted by a small cross and known as Soulis' Cross. This pillar was mentioned by Pont, and was probably much older than 1444, at which time no Soulis seems to have been connected with the district. It had to be removed in consequence of its decayed condition. St Marnock's Church, in St Marnock Street, is a Gothic building of 1836. It was built as a chapel of ease at a cost of £5000 including the tower, and has 1730 sittings. It was constituted a quoad sacra church in 1862. The organ, which cost £350, was the gift of John Gilmour, Esq. of Elmbank. St Andrew's Church, in Richardland Road, was built as a chapel of ease in 1841 at a cost of £1700, and became a quoad sacra church in 1868. It contains 1093 sittings. The burying-ground about it was opened in 1856; and that adjoining, opened in 1837, was till 1875 the only common burying-ground, the Low Churchyard having been practically closed after 1850. In 1876 a new cemetery of 7¾ acres was opened to the E 'of the town. It has an entrance gateway in the Scottish Baronial style. The Free High Church, in Portland Street, was built in 1844 at a cost of £3000, and has since been altered and improved at different times at a cost of over £1000, the last improvements being finished in 1881. It is a plain building with a tower, and has 1228 sittings. The Free St Andrew's Church, in Fowld's Street, was also built in 1844 at a cost of £1200, and contains 930 sittings. The Free Henderson Church, in Wellington Street, was originally erected in 1818 by a congregation of Original Burghers, but the congregation has since passed over to the Free Church. The first cost was £1000, but as much has since been expended on alterations and improvements. The number of sittings is 650. The Grange Free church, in Woodstock Street, is a handsome Early English cruciform structure of 1877-79, with a spire 140 feet high. There are 860 sittings, and a hall and class-room to the E has accommodation for 500 persons. The total cost was £8000. Martyrs' Free church, in Mill Lane, originally a Reformed Presbyterian church, was built in 1825, but has since been altered and improved. It contains 590 sittings. The King Street U.P. church, built in 1832, is a mixed style of architecture, with a spire 120 feet high. It was the second dissenting church in Scotland with a steeple, and the first with a bell. It cost £3840, and contains 1493 sittings. Princes Street U.P. church is a neat building, erected in 1842, and containing 750 sittings. Portland Road U.P. church, a handsome Byzantine building, was erected in 1859 at a cost of £1900. It contains 850 sittings. It superseded a church in Wellington Street built in 1772, and removed in 1861, which was the first dissenting church in the town. The Holm U.P. Church was built in 1880-81 at a cost of £1600, and contains nearly 500 sittings. The Original Secession church, in Fowld's Street, is a very plain building erected in 1857 at a cost of £500. It contains about 200 sittings. Clerk's Lane Evangelical Union church was originally erected in 1775 as an Antiburgher meeting-house, and was in 1807 rebuilt on a larger scale. The building, which is very plain, contains 875 sittings. It changed its ecclesiastical connection in 1841, when its minister-now the Rev. Dr Morison of Glasgow, and the founder of the Evangelical Union Church-was deposed on a charge of heresy. The Winton Place Evangelical Union church is a good building in the Early English style, erected in 1860 at a cost of £2700, and containing nearly 900 sittings. The Baptist Church, off Fowld's Street, is a small building erected in 1869-70 with accommodation for about 50 persons. There was, prior to 1867, an Independent church in Mill Lane, but since that year the building has ceased to be a church, and is now used for the meetings of the Kilmarnock Abstainers' Union, to which body it now belongs. The Episcopal church (Trinity), at the corner of Dundonald Road and Portland Road, is a good building in the Early English style, with accommodation for 720 persons. It was erected in 1857 at a cost of £1400 exclusive of the organ, which was presented by W. H. Houldsworth, Esq., at a cost of £1000, and is the finest in town. There is a stone pulpit, and the chancel is finely decorated and lighted by a stained-glass window in memory of the late Patrick Boyle, Esq. of Shewalton. The Roman Catholic church (St Joseph's), to the N of Portland Street, is a Gothic building erected in 1847 at a cost of £3000, and contains 600 sittings. From it an excellent view is obtained of the town and the surrounding country.

Schools, etc.-The old Kilmarnock Academy, at the site of the Agricultural Hall, was erected in 1807, and superseded an older parish school erected in 1752 which stood at the corner of Green Street. It had a vigorous and prosperous career till 1876, when it was closed in consequence of the opening of the New Academy, which was built by the School Board in 1875-76, and is at once a secondary and an elementary school. The site a-d playground cover about an acre. The building, which cost £4500, is Elizabethan in style, and has a frontage of 150 feet with a two-story centre and one-story wings. There are classical, English, and mathematical departments, and the staff consists of a rector, 5 masters, and 3 lady teachers. In 1881 the following were the schools under the charge of the Burgh School Board, with accommodation, average attendance, and grant:-Academy (600, 611, £661, 11s.), Grammar (380, 393, £344, 2s. 6d.), Glencairn (400, 343, £218, 8s.), High Street (400, 277, £203, 6s.), West Netherton (258, 220, £108, 9s. 11d.), Kay's endowed in Bentinck Street (248, 255, £174, 17s.), Kay's endowed in Wellington Street (258, 256, £229, 2s.), Industrial (201, 206, £152, 9s.), and Roman Catholic (378, 295, £227, 16s.). The last was greatly enlarged in 1882. The two schools in Bentinck Street and Wellington Street were erected in 1869 under the will of the late Mr Kay, the donor of the Kay Park, by which his trustees were directed 'to set aside the sum of six thousand pounds sterling' for the purpose of erecting and endowing 'schools in Kilmarnock, in which may be given a plain, practical, and useful education, such as is usually given in the best parochial schools in Scotland, but not to include what is usually called a classical education. 'It is also stipulated in the will that moderate fees of from one shilling to one shilling and sixpence per quarter are to be charged. The school of Science and Art, in Woodstock Street, is a Tudor building, erected in 1877 at a cost of £1550. It contains 2 large lecture-rooms, and the classes in which instruction is given to about 170 students every year are in connection with the Science and Art Department at South Kensington. The principal benefactors of Kilmarnock, besides Mr Kay, have been Robert Crawford, who, in 1844, bequeathed all his property for the purpose of providing funds for the yearly purchase of books for the Kilmarnock Library; and the Misses Buchanan (the last of whom died in 1875), who bequeathed the lands and estate of Bellfield to trustees who were to apply the annual proceeds to small annual payments to the Ragged School, to the Kilmarnock Infirmary, and to the deserving poor of Riccarton; £130 yearly for a salary for a missionary in Riccarton parish, and the rest for the purpose of fitting up part of the mansion as a public library, and should the revenue be sufficient to fit up the rest of the mansion as an asylum for aged and infirm people who have resided in Kilmarnock or Riccarton for 10 years, are over 60 years of age, and are not on the poor-roll.

Kilmarnock has also four bowling clubs, each with a separate green, several curling clubs, several football clubs, a Mission to the Deaf and Dumb, Male and Female Benevolent Societies, an Agricultural Society, a Horticultural Society, a Philharmonic Society, four Masonic Lodges (Kilmarnock Kilwinning, St John's, No. 22; St Andrew's, No. 126; St Marnock's; and St Clement's, Riccarton, No. 202), lodges of Oddfellows, Free Foresters, and Free Gardeners. During the period of the Peninsular War two regiments of volunteers were formed, and when the volunteer movement of 1859 began Kilmarnock as the first place in Ayrshire to form a company. There are now the 1vst and 9th Ayrshire Rifle Volunteers and the 5th Ayrshire Artillery Volunteers.

Trade.-The introduction of the weaving of hose and bonnets into the town in the end of the 16th century has been already noticed, and by the beginning of the 18th century the trade was much more important than that of any other place in the county. Defoe mentions it in 1723 as famous for all kinds of cutler's ware-a branch of trade that has long vanished. Carpet manufacture was introduced in 1777, and by 1791 had prospered so well that the annual value of the goods produced amounted to £21, 00. At the most prosperous period of this trade, about 1837, no less than twelve firms had carpet factories; but now the number is four, of which one manufactures Brussels, and the rest only Scotch carpets, both two ply and three ply. The three ply machine was the invention of a Kilmarnock mechanic- Mr Thomas Morton (1783i1862)-to whom is also due the Brussels carpet machine, that works five colours with four needles. Two firms now employ steam, and the annual value of the goods produced is about £120,00. Six spinning mills in the town or neighbourhood supply yarn for the various weaving works. Bonnet-making, in the departments of flat and 'cocked, woollen bonnets and striped nightcaps, is carried on by six firms, the annual product being worth about £55,000. Miscellaneous weaving of tweeds, winceys, and various woollen and mixed fabrics, is carried on extensively by five firms; while the Nursery power loom cotton factory has 1100 looms at work. The making a d printing of shawls and calicoes (the former introduced in 1824, the latter in 1770), as well as the making of muslin, were all at one time extensively carried on, the shawls made and printed in 1837 being valued at £230,0 0; but now only two small works are thus engaged. The boot and shoe trade was also at one time considerable; but it also decayed till 1873, when a steam power boot and shoe factory was established, which now does a large trade. There is a large tan work and a brickwork. The staple trade now is in connection with iron, there being a number of foundries and machine making establishments, including works for making engines, gas meters, agricultural implements, and hydraulic appliances. Works in connection with the Glasgow and South-Western railway at Bonnieton Square, to the W of the town, were transferred hither from Glasgow in 1856-58 at a cost of £45, 000. They are intended for the manufacture and repair of locomotive engines, carriages, and other appliances required on the line. The store department was opened in 1874. Round the town there are very extensive coal-fields and works. There are five incorporated trades, viz., the bonnet makers, the skinners, the tailors, the shoemakers, and the weavers-the first being the oldest, with a charter dating from 1646. The shield of the town's arms is the same as that of the Earls of Kilmarnock, viz., Azure, a fess cheque argent and gules.

Municipality, etc.-Till near the end of the 17th century Kilmarnock was governed by a baron bailie, and from that time to the passing of the Reform Bill by a provost, 6 bailies, a treasurer, and 16 councillors. It is now governed by a provost, 6 bailies, a treasurer, a dean of guild, and 16 councillors, five members o f council being returned for each of the five wards into which the town is divided. The magistrates and council are also police commissioners, the force in their employment in 1882 having been a superintendent and 20 men, or 1 officer to every 1231 of population. The super. Intendent's salary is £190. The number of persons tried at the instance of the police in 1881 was 758, the number convicted was 747, the number committed for trial 10, and the number not dealt with was 53. The Municipal Extension and Improvement Act of 1871 transferred to the corporation the charge of the gaswork, which was originally established by a joint stock company in 1822. The corporation re venue in 1881 82 was £814. Water was introduced in 1850 by a joint stock company, in whose hands the works still remain. The original cost was £20,000, and this has since been largely increased. The settling reservoir is at Gainford, in the parish of Fenwick, and covers 3 acres; one storage reservoir is at Northcraig, in Kilmarnock parish, and with its embankments covers 25 acres, and holds nearly 66,000, 000 gallons; another, at Burnfoot, covers an area of 43 acres, and holds 80, 00,000 gallons. The Northcraig distributing basin is 240 feet above Kilmarnock Cross, and there is thus always abundant pressure. A sheriff court is held every Wednesday during the session, and a small debt court on Thursday. A justice of peace court is held on the first Tuesday of every month. Kilmarnock has a head post office, with money order, savings' back, insurance, and telegraph departments. There are branches of the Bank of Scotland, the British Linen Company, the Clydesdale, the Commercial, the National, the Royal, and the Union Banks, a National Security Savings. Bank, agencies of 35 insurance companies, and 6 hotels. The Liberal Kilmarnock Standard (1863) is published on Saturday, and the Liberal Kilmarnock Herald (1880) on Friday. There are general markets every Tuesday and Friday, a corn market every Friday, and fairs on the 2 Feb., the second Tuesday of May, the last Thursday of July, and the last Thursday of October. That in May is known as the 'curd fair,' the Saturday after which is holiday; that in July as the gooseberry fair; 'and that in October is the cheese show and fair, which is attended by dealers from all parts of the kingdom, and is said to be the largest thing of the kind in Great Britain, the annual amount of cheese exhibited being about 10,000 tons. The sacramental fasts are on the first Thursdays of May and November. Kilmarnock unites with Dumbarton, Port Glasgow, Renfrew, and Rutherglen in sending a member to parliament, and is the returning burgh. The member has been always Liberal since 1832, except from 1837 to 1841. Parliamentary constituency of Kilmarnock alone (1882 83) 3573, municipal 4194. Valuation, exclusive of railways (1875), £61,847; (1883) £80, 843, railways £6538. Pop. of parliamentary burgh (1841) 19, 398, (1851) 21, 443, (1861) 22, 619, (1871) 22,963, (1881) 23, 038; of police burgh (1881) 25,844, of whom 13,238 were females. There were in the same year 5572 houses, and 31 building.

The town is notable in literary history for its connection with the early career of Burns. Several of his poems refer to matters connected with it or its neighbourhood, and here the first edition of his poems was printed in 1786, while some of the leading men in or about the place were his earliest patrons. Kilmarnock has also been the birthplace of many individuals who have distinguished themselves in literature, art, or science, and has connected with it probably more than the average number of the minor poets of Scotland. We may here mention John Goldie (1717 1809), author of several small theological works that made a noise in their day; Gavin Turnbull, a minor poet; Jean Glover (1758-1801), authoress of O'r the Muir amang the Heather George Campbell (1761 1818), minor poet; James Thomson (1775-1832), minor poet; John Kennedy (1789-1833), minor poet and miscellaneous writer; Archibald M'ay (1801-83), minor poet and local historian; John Ramsay (1802-79), minor poet; Rev. Dr Findlay (1721-1814), professor of theology in the University of Glasgow; James Tannock (1784-1863), portrait painter; William Tannock, his brother, also an artist; T. Y. M'hristie (1797-1860), revising barrister for the city of London; F. G. P. Neisson (d. 1876), a well-known statistical writer; Alexander Smith (1829-67), poet; and James B. Reid (1v837-63), artist. See also The Contemporaries of Burns and the more recent Poets of Ayrshire (Edinb. 1840); Archibald M'ay' History of Kilmarnock (Kilmarnock, 1848; 3d ed. 1864; 4th, 1880); James Paterson's Autobiographical R'eminiscences, including Recollections of the Radical Years 1819-20 in Kilmarnock (Glasgow, 1871); M'Kay's Burns and his Kilmarnock Friends (Kilmarnock, 1874); Cunninghame Topographised by Timothy Pont, A. M., 1604-8, with Continuations and Illustrative Notices by the late James Dobie of Crummock (1876); and chap. xix. of M'Ilwraith's History of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway (Glasgow, 1880).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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