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Alloway

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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Alloway, an ancient quoad civilia and a modern quoad sacra parish of Ayrshire, on the lowest reaches of the ' bonny Doon, ' 2¼ miles S of the town of Ayr. The ancient parish, lying wholly to the right of the Doon, and separated by Glengaw Burn from Ayr, was united to the latter towards the close of the 17th century: the modern parish includes a portion of Maybole, on the Doon's left bank, and had 815 inhabitants in 1871 (358 of them in Maybole). In the presbytery of Ayr and sy1od of Glasgow and Ayr, with a stipend of £150, it possesses a handsome Gothic church (1858), and a public school, which, with accommodation for 159 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 117, and a grant of £75, 13s.-' Alloway's auld haunted kirk, ' a little roofless ruin, First Pointed in style, stands just below the ' Auld Brig ' of Doon. Visited now by pilgrims from many lands, this long had been merely the resting-place of unknown peasant folk, when Burns selected it for the scene of the demon revelry of Tam o' Shanter. Near the churchyard gate, the grave of the poet's father (1721-84) is marked by a simple stone-not the original, which relic-mongers carried piecemeal away: the poet himself would fain have shared that grave. The interior of the kirk has been stripped of its woodwork, for snuff-boxes and the like: here is buried David Cathcart, Lord Alloway (1764-1829), senator of the College of Justice. -A cenotaph to Burns, erected in 1820, after a design by Hamilton of Edinburgh, at a cost of £3350, and comprising a triangular base, a Corinthian cyclostyle, and an ornate cupola, with surmounting tripod, stands about 100 yards E of the old church, and is surrounded by an enclosed plot of 1¼ acre, in which a small grotto contains Thom's statues of ' Tam o' Shanter ' and ' Souter Johnnie. '-The Auld Brig o' Doon, a gaunt structnre of great antiquity, famous for the fight between Cassillis and Bargeny (1601), more famous for its part in Tam o. Shanter, crosses the river close to the monument: and the neat new bridge, later than Burns' day, spans it, some distance lower down.-The ' Auld Clay Biggin, ' Burns' birthplace (23 Jan. 1759), and scene of his Cotter's Saturday Night, stands about ¾ mile to the N, and, theretofore a public house, was purchased in 1880 for £4000 from the Ayr Corporation of Shoemakers by the trustees of the monument, by them to be converted into a kind of Burns museum.-Mount Oliphant, to which Burns' father removed in 1777, is about 1½ mile to the ESE: and Doonbrae Cottage, Cambusdoon House, Rozelle, and Doonholm are seats within ½ mile of the church or monument. Alloway Moat, near the avenue leading to Doonholm, is an ancient artificial mound, used in old times for holding courts of justice.—Ord. Sur., sh. 14,1683.

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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