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Auchinleck

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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Auchinleck (often pronounced Affleck=Gael. achadhnan-leac, ` field of the flat flagstone '), a village and a parish of Kyle, E Ayrshire. The village has a station on the Glasgow and South-Western, the junction for Muirkirk, and-by rail is 15½ miles E of Ayr, 13¾ SSE of Kilmarnock, 44½ NW of Dumfries, and 47½ S by W of Glasgow. It contains the parish church (built 1838, and seating 800), a United Original Secession church, five inns, a railway telegraph office, a post office under Cumnock, with money order and savings' bank departments, and a public and a female school, which, with respective accommodation for 178 and 71 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 170 and 73, and grants of £133,7s. and £58,3s. 2d. A fair for grit ewes and hoggs is held here on the last Thursday in March, and an important lamb fair on the last Tuesday in August. Pop. (1861) 1053, (1871) 1199, (1881) 1528.

The parish contains, too, -likewise, in its western half, -the villages and stations of Lugar and Cronberry, and the hamlet of Darnconnar. It is bounded N by Mauchline, Sorn, and Muirkirk; NE by Muirkirk and Lanarkshire; SE by Dumfriesshire and New Cumnock; S by Old Cumnock; and W by Ochiltree. From E to W., viz., from Threeshire Stone to the confluence of Dippol Burn and Lugar Water, it is 15¾ miles long; its breadth from N to S varies between ¾ mile and 5 miles; and its area is 24,295 acres, of which 165¾ are water. Guelt and Glenmore Waters, head-streams of the ` winding Lugar, ' trace with the latter all the southern and the western boundary; that to the extreme N, from Dalfram to just above South Limmerhaugh, a distance of 2½ miles, is marked by the river Ayr, which is joined by the Lugar, 1¼ mile beyond the NW extremity of Auchinleck. By these and by the Lugar's tributaries, Gass Water and Auchinleck Burn, the drainage everywhere is carried westward; and westward the surface everywhere declines, elevations from E to W being Stony Hill (1843 feet), Auchitench (1527), West Foredibban (1489), Black Hill (1404), Wardlaw Hill (1630), Whiteyards (l235), Glenmuir (1025), Airdsmoss (753), and Darnlaw (489). Nearly two-thirds of the surface are occupied by cold, bleak uplands, fit only for the pasturage of sheep, and by Airdsmoss, the broad, wild swamp, so sadly famous in Cameronian story; thence onward, some 4 miles to the western border, low grounds present a fertile fairly-wooded aspect, level and somewhat tame. But if outwardly poor for the most part, the soil has its hidden treasures, ironstone, limestone, and coal; a lease of which upon the Auchinleck estate, obtained about 1848 by the owners of the Clyde Iron-works, has passed to the Eglinton Company. Their Lugar iron-works had four furnaces in blast in 1879, when one ironstone mine (Cronberry) and two collieries (Ballochmyle and Gilmilnscroft) were at work within the parish. The lands of Auchinleck were granted in 1504 by James IV. to Thomas Boswell, a cadet of the Balmuto line, who had married a daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Auchinleck of that ilk. Among his descendants were Alexander Boswell, Lord Auchinleck (d. 1782), a judge of the Court of Session; his son, James Boswell (1740-95), ` the first of biographers; ' and his son, Sir Alexander Boswell, Bart. (1775-1822), remembered by his black-letter library, his Anchinleck printing-press, and his death in a duel. Auchinleck House (Lady Jessie Boswell, widow of the second and last baronet, and owner of 11,977 acres in the shire) stands 3¼ miles WNW of the village, between the Dippol and Lugar, is a good Grecian edifice built by Lord Auchinleck shortly before his death, and therefore is not the house where Johnson stayed in 1773. Near it are the remains of the baronial fortalice, figured by Grose, and thus referred to by the Lexicographer:-` I was less delighted with the elegance of the modern mansion than with the sullen dignity of the old castle. I clambered among the ruins, which afford striking images of ancient life. It is, like other castles, built upon a point of rock, and was, I believe, anciently surrounded with a moat.' Another ruin is Kyle Castle, 7 miles ESE of the village, at the confluence of the Glenmore and Guelt. Natives are William M`Gavin (1773-1832), author of The Protestant, and the Rev. A. K. H. Boyd, ` The Country Parson ' (b. 1825); Peden, the Prophet of the Covenant, was laid in the kirkyard (1686), whence, forty days after, his body was lifted by dragoons, to be reinterred beneath the Old Cumnock gallows. Lady Boswell holds almost two-thirds of the valued rental, the rest being divided among the Marquis of Bute and ten other proprietors. Held in 1265 by the Abbey of Paisley, this parish is in the presbytery of Ayr and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; its minister's income is £236. There are also a chapel-of-ease at Lugar and a mission church at Darnconnar; whilst under the school-board are six schools-the two at the village, and at Glenmuir, Cronberry, Darnconnar, and Lugar. These, with a total accommodation for 1096 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 1047, and grants amounting to £858,16s. 2d. Valuation (1880) of lands £24,797,19s. 3d.; of railways, £6832. Pop. (1831) 1662, (1861) 4213, (1871) 6174, (1881) 6681.—Ord. Sur., shs. 14,15,1863-64.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available.

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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