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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Cunninghame, a poor-law combination and a territorial district in Ayrshire. The combination includes only part of the district, yet extends southward into Kyle, comprising the parishes of Ardrossan, Beith, Dalry, Dreghorn, Dundonald, Dunlop, Galston, Irvine, Kilbirnie, West Kilbride, Kilmarnock, Kilwinning, Loudon, Stevenston, Stewarton, and Symington. The poorhouse contains accommodation for 279 inmates. Pop. (1871) 102,015, (1881) 106,014.-The territorial district is the northern one of the three districts into which Ayrshire is divided. It comprises the parishes of Ardrossan, Beith, Dalry, Dreghorn, part of Dunlop, Fenwick, Irvine, Kilbirnie, West Kilbride, Kilmarnock, Kilmaurs, Kilwinning, Largs, Loudon, Stevenston, and Stewarton; and contains the towns and villages of Ardrossan, Saltcoats, Beith, Dalry, Dunlop, Fenwick, Irvine, Kilbirnie, Glengarnock, West Kilbride, Kilmarnock, Kilmaurs, Crosshouse, Kilwinning, Largs, Fairlie, Newmilns, Darvel, Stevenston, and Stewarton. It is bounded N and NE by Renfrewshire, E by Lanarkshire, S by the river Irvine, which separates it from Kyle, SW and W by the Firth of Clyde. Its greatest length from NW to SE is 29½ miles, and its greatest breadth in the opposite direction 12¾ miles. The surface is pleasantly diversified with hill and dale, and rises, in the NW, into considerable heights, but cannot be said to have any mountains. The chief streams, besides the Irvine, are the Rye, the Caaf, the Garnock, the Dusk, the Lugton, the Annick, the Fenwick, and the Craufurdland or Kilmarnock. The only considerable sheet of fresh water is Kilbirnie Loch. Trap rocks constitute most of the hills, but carboniferous rocks prevail elsewhere, and are rich in sandstone, limestone, ironstone, and coal. Extensive iron-works are at Dalry and Glengarnock, and very productive coal mines are in various places. The dairy husbandry rose to high perfection in Dunlop, Beith, and Stewarton in the latter part of last century, and it has ever since maintained a high character through out most of the district. The ancient family of De Morville, the constables of Scotland, were in the 12th and 13th centuries proprietors of almost all the land, and they are supposed to have had their residence at either Glengarnock or Southannan. Many other families subsequently became proprietors; and not a few of them, particularly those of Eglinton, Glencairn, and Loudon, took a leading part in the affairs of the kingdom during its most agitated times. The district appears to have been at one time under the control of the corporation of Irvine, and, for a long period prior to the abolition of feudal jurisdictions, it formed a bailiwick under the Earls of Eglinton. Valuation (1882) £434,248, including £38,512 for railways. Pop. (l831) 63,453, (1861) 95,593, (1881) 105,23l. See Ayrshire and Cunninghame, Topographised by Timothy Pont, A.M., 1604-8, with Continuations and illustrative Notices by the late James Dobie of Crummock (1876).

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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