Parish of Lochwinnoch

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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1791-99: Lochwinnoch
1834-45: Lochwinnoch

Lochwinnoch, a town and a parish of S Renfrewshire. The town stands on the left bank of the river Calder, at the SW end of Castle-Semple Loch, 1 mile NW of Lochwinnoch station on the Glasgow & South-Western railway, this being 6¾ miles NNE of Dalry Junction, 8¾ SW of Paisley, and 15¾ WSW of Glasgow. Its name was written in nearly forty different ways before the present spelling was finally adopted; and while the first part of it manifestly refers to Castle-Semple Loch, the latter part may be either the genitive innich of the Celtic innis, `an island,' refering to an islet in the lake, or the name of a St Winnoc, to whom some old chapel on or near the town's site was dedicated. That site is a pleasant one, sheltered on all sides except the SE by rising-grounds or thick plantations. The older part of the town is mean and irregular; but its modern portion comprises a main street, half a mile in length, with some streets diverging at right angles, and chiefly consists of slated two-story houses. Manufactures of linen cloth, thread, leather, candles, and cotton were formerly carried on; but a wool-mill, a bleachfield, and a steam-laundry are now the only industrial establishments. Lochwinnoch has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, a branch of the National Bank, an inn, a gas company, reading and recreation rooms, an agricultural society, a public library, and cattle fairs on the second Tuesday of May and the first Tuesday of November, both old style. The parish church (1806; 1150 sittings) has the form of an irregular octagon, and is adorned with a columnar porch, surmounted by a neat short spire. The Free church was built soon after the Disruption; and the U.P. church (1792; 503 sittings) is in the form of an octagon with a small front tower. Pop. (1841) 2681, (1861) 1190, (1871) 1683, (1881) 1192, of whom 659 were females. Houses (1881) 329 inhabited, 122 vacant.

The parish of Lochwinnoch, containing also the village of Howwood, is bounded N by Kilmalcolm and Kilbarchan, E by Kilbarchan, Neilston, and Dunlop, and S and SW by the Ayrshire parishes of Beith, Kilbirnie, and Largs. Its utmost length, from WNW to ESE, is 11 miles; its utmost breadth is 65/8 miles; and its area is 19, 877¾ acres, of which 371¼ are water. Castle-Semple Loch (1¾ mile x 3 furl.; 90 feet) extends across the greater part of the interior, and divides the parish into two parts of about one-third on the SE, and two-thirds on the NW. Kilbirnie Loch (11¾ x 3½ furl.; 105 feet) touches a projecting point on the southern border; Queenside Loch (2¾ x 1 furl.; 1300 feet) lies among hills in the extreme NW; and Walls Loch (4 1/3 x 3 furl.; 560 feet) lies on the eastern boundary. Rowbank Dam is the Paisley reservoir. The Calder, rising in Largs parish at an altitude of 1400 feet above sea-level, flows 9¼ miles east-south-eastward to the head of Castle-Semple Loch, out of which the Black Cart runs 23/8 miles north-eastward along the Kilbarchan boundary. Auchenbathie Burn winds 4 miles along the Beith boundary to the head of CastleSemple Loch; Dubbs Burn, running from Kilbirnie to Castle-Semple Loch, traces for 1¼ mile further the boundary with Ayrshire; and Maich Water, rising and running 1¼ mile near the western border, traces for 4 miles a portion of the Ayrshire boundary south-south-eastward to Kilbirnie Loch. The surface of the south-eastern division of the parish nowhere exceeds 656 feet above sea-level; but that of the north-western attains 908 feet at Thornlybank Hill on the northern boundary, and of 1711 at the Hill of Stake on the south-western, the highest summit of the Mistylaw Hills. The central district is mainly a low-lying valley along the banks of Dubbs Burn, Castle-Semple Loch, and the Black Cart, flanked with slopes, undulations, and rising-grounds up to the base of the hills. It formerly contained a much larger expanse of Castle-Semple Loch than now, and an other lake called Barr Loch; and, having an elevation over great part of its area of not more than from 90 to 170 feet above sea-level, it possesses a wealth of artificial embellishment in wood and culture, and presents a warm and beautiful appearance. Partly eruptive and partly carboniferous, the rocks comprise all varieties of trap, fused into one another in endless gradations. They include workable beds of limestone, sandstone, and coal; and contain carbonate of copper, oxide of manganese, jasper, agate, very fine white prehnite, and other interesting minerals. The soil of the lower grounds is clay and loam; and that of the higher grounds, exclusive of the moors, is of a light, dry quality. Nearly half of the entire area is arable; more than 700 acres is under wood, and the rest is either pastoral or waste. The chief antiquities are Barr Tower, Elliston Castle, foundations or sites of CastleTower and Beltrees, Cloak, and Lorabank Castles, remains of an ancient camp on Castlewalls farm, an ancient bridge at Bridgend, and various relics found in Castle-Semple Loch. Alexander Wilson (17661813), minor poet and American ornithologist, worked at Lochwinnoch as a journeyman weaver. Three estates, noticed separately, are Castle-Semple, Barr, and Auchenbathie; and 8 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards. Lochwinnoch is in the presbytery of Paisley and the synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £450. At Howwood is a chapel of ease; and four public schools-Glenhead, Howwood, Lochwinnoch, and Macdowall-with respective accommodation for 66, 140, 250, and 92 children, had (1882) an average attendance of 29, 114, 183, and 61, and grants of £31, 7s. 6d., £103, l6s., £169, 7s., and £48, 12s. 6d. Valuation (1860) £17,965, (1884) £30, 154, 1s. 1d. Pop. (1801) 2955, (1841) 4716, (1861) 3821, (1871) 3816, (1881) 3369.—Ord. Sur., shs. 30, 22, 1866-65.

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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