Water of Fail

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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Fail, a rivulet and the site of a monastery in Tarbolton parish, Ayrshire. The Water of Fail, rising in Craigie parish, winds 7¼ miles south-eastward, till below COILSFIELD or Montgomerie it falls into the river Ayr at Failford, 2¾ miles WSW of Mauchline. The monastery, St Mary's, stood on the right bank of the rivulet, 1¼ mile NNW of Tarbolton town, and, founded in 1252 by Andrew Bruce for Red or Trinity friars, was cast down by the lords of council in 1561, when its lands fell to the Wallace family. One old satirical poem says of its friars, that 'they never wanted gear enough as long as their neighbours' lasted;' and another runs—

'The friars of Fail drank berry-brown ale,
The best that ever was tasted;
The monks of Melrose made gude kail,
On Fridays, when they fasted.'

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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