Parish of Fenwick

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: Fenwick
1834-45: Fenwick

Fenwick, a village and a parish in Cunninghame district, Ayrshire. The village stands 430 feet above sea-level on the right bank of Fenwick Water, 4¼ miles NNE of Kilmarnock, under which it has a post office with money order and savings' bank departments. Pop. (1871) 469, (1881) 366.

The parish is bounded NE by Eaglesham in Renfrewshire, E and SE by Loudoun, S by Kilmarnock, SW by Kilmaurs and Dreghorn, W by Stewarton, and NW by Stewarton and by Mearns in Renfrewshire. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 8 miles; its breadth, from N to S, varies between 2 and 5¼ miles; and its area is 18,1611/3. acres, of which 57 are water. Crawfurdland and Fenwick Waters, gathering their head-streams from Eaglesham, run west-south-westward and south-westward across the parish, and, passing into Kilmarnock, there unite to form Kilmarnock Water; whilst Loch Goin or Blackwoodhill Dam (7 x 3 furl.) just touches the north-eastern boundary. The surface sinks, below Dalmusternock, in the furthest S, to 340 feet above sea-level, and rises thence east-north-eastward to 714 feet at Airtnock, 836 at Greenhill, 807 at Crins Hills, and 932 near the eastern border; north-north-eastward or northward to 785 at Dicks Law, 914 near Loch Goin, 556 at East Pokelly, 754 at Greelaw, and 876 at Drumboy Hill. Thus, though, as seen from the hills of Craigie in Kyle, Fenwick looks all a plain, it really attains no inconsiderable altitude, and from many a point commands far reaching views of Kyle and the Firth of Clyde, away to the heights of Carrick and the Arran and Argyllshire mountains. Originally, for the most part, fen or bog, the land, in spite of a general scarcity of trees, now wears a verdant, cultivated aspect, being chiefly distributed into meadow and natural pasture. Fossiliferous limestone is plentiful; in the W are a freestone quarry, and a thin seam of coal; and seams of ironstone, with coal and limestone, are on the Rowallan estate. This estate was held from the 13th till the beginning of the 18th century by the Mures of Rowallan, of whom a curious Historie, published at Glasgow in 1825, was written by Sir William Mure (1594-1657), ` a man '-we have it on his ipse dixit-` that was pious and learned, had an excellent vein in poesie, and much delyted in building and planting.' His son and grandson both were zealous Covenanters; and during the former's time the celebrated William Guthrie, who was minister of Fenwick from 1644, is said to have held conventicles in the house of Rowallan after his ejection (1664). Fitly enough, the sufferings of the martyrs and confessors of the Covenant were chronicled in the Scots Worthies of a native of Fenwick, John Howie of Lochgoin (1735-91). He was descended from a Waldensian refugee who had settled here so long ago as 1178; and Lochgoin, in the days of his great-grandfather, had twelve times been pillaged by the persecutor. In his own day that ancient and sequestered dwelling became a kind of covenanting reliquary, wherein were enshrined the Bible and sword of Paton, the standard of Fenwick parish, the drum that was sounded at Drumclog, and so forth. To revert to Rowallan, it passed, through an heiress, to the fifth Earl of Loudoun. Three proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 9 of between £100 and £500, 3 of from £50 to £100, and 13 of from £20 to £50. Disjoined from Kilmarnock in 1642, Fenwick is in the presbytery of Irvine and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £200. The parish church, at the village, was built in 1643, and contains 850 sittings. It retains its original black oak pulpit, with a half-hour sand-glass; and the jougs still hang from the S gable. There are also Free and U.P. churches; and two public schools, Fenwick and Hairshaw, with respective accommodation for 120 and 65 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 92 and 39, and grants of £75, 19s. and £31, 12s. Valuation (1860) £11,637, (1882) £15,635, 10s. Pop. (1801) 1280, (1831) 2018, (1861) 1532, (1871) 1318, (1881) 1152.—Ord. Sur., sh. 22, 1865.

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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