Parish of Riccarton

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.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2022.

It has taken much time and money to make the six-volumes of Groome's text freely accessible. Please help us continue and develop by making a donation. If only one out of every ten people who view this page gave £5 or $10, the project would be self-sustaining. Sadly less than one in thirty-thousand contribute, so please give what you can.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry Arrow

Links to the Historical Statistical Accounts of Scotland are also available:
(Click on the link to the right, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Browse scanned pages")

1791-99: Riccarton
1834-45: Riccarton

Riccarton, a parish on the northern border of Kyle district, Ayrshire, containing a southern suburb of Kilmarnock and the greater part of the town of Hurlford. It is bounded N by Kilmarnock, E by Galston, S- by Craigie, SW by Symington, and W by Dundonald. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 4¾ miles; its utmost breadth, from N to S, is 2¾ miles; and its area is 7598½ acres, of which 48¾ are water, and 1259½ belong to a detached south-eastern portion (2¼ x 1¼ miles), which, approaching to within ¼ mile of the main body, is bounded S by Mauchline, and on all other sides by Galston. The river Irvine winds 73/8 miles west south-westward along all the northern border, though the point where it first touches and that where it quits the parish are only 4¾ miles distant as the crow flies. At the NE corner of the parish it is joined by Cessnock Water, which winds 5 miles north-by-eastward, viz., 1½ mile along the Galston boundary, 7/8 mile across the eastern interior, and 15/8 mile again along the Galston boundary. Higher up, Cessnock Water runs 15/8 mile westward along all the southern border of the detached portion. In the extreme W the surface declines along the Irvine to close upon 70 feet above sea-level; and thence it rises to 186 at Whalriggs, 448 at the Craigie border, and 442 near Hillhouse in the detached section. The parish, on the whole, is gently undulating, but rises gradually towards the S and SE, till it terminates in a low ridge of hills, whose highest points command an extensive and brilliant view to the N and W. The banks of Cessnock Water are picturesque, but those of the Irvine are very tame. The rocks are chiefly of the Carboniferous formation. Coal, which exists in great abundance, and which seems to have been worked from a very early period, has been increasingly mined since the formation of the railways. Much anthracite or blind coal is likewise raised, and limestone has been quarried both for mortar and for manure; whilst iron working is carried on at Hurlford. The soil, in most parts, is strongly argillaceous. Nearly 500 acres are under wood, and most of the remainder is either arable or pasture, 700 acres of moss having in great measure been reclaimed in the course of the last half century. Riccarton was anciently a chapelry, subordinate to the parish church of Dundonald; and it followed the fortunes of that church in annexation, from 1229 till 1238, to the short-lived convent of Dalmulin, and in subsequent annexation to the monastery of Paisley. At some period of the Paisley monks' possession, it was made a parish church, and treated by them as a vicarage. After the Reformation, it was incorporated with Craigie; but, in 1648, it was disunited from that parish, and made independent. The name Riccarton was originally Richardstown or Ricardston, and seems to have been derived from a Richard Wallace, whom tradition declares to have been the uncle of the celebrated Sir William, the patriot, but who probably lived too early to claim that honour. In the 13th and 14th centuries the lands of Ricardston belonged to a family of the name of Wallace, or, as the word was anciently written, Waleys. During the reign of Alexander II., and under the second Walter the Steward, Richard Waleys held considerable estates in other parts of Kyle-Stewart, and appears to have been one of the most considerable of the Steward's vassals; and he very probably was the ancestor of the Ricardston Wallaces, the first holder of their property, and the person from whom it derived its manorial designation. A seat of Sir Ronald Crawford, the maternal uncle of Sir William Wallace, stood on the site of Yardside farmhouse, and is closely associated, in traditionary story, with early exploits of the Scottish patriot. Sir John Cunninghame of Capriugton (d. 1684), a very eminent lawyer in the time of Charles II.; and Sir James Shaw (1764-1843), Lord Mayor of London and a distinguished benefactor of Kilmarnock, were natives of Riccarton. Mansions, noticed separately, are Bellfield, Caprington Castle, Dollars, Milrig, Shawhill, and Treesbank. The Duke of Portland is chief proprietor, 11 others holding each an annual value of £500 and upwards. Giving off since 1874 the greater part of Hurlford quoad sacra parish, Riccarton is in the presbytery of Ayr and the synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £480. The parish church surmounts a mound in the southern suburb of Kilmarnock, partly natural and partly artificial, and formerly known as the 'Seat of Justice.' Built in 1823, and containing 1192 sittings, it is a large edifice with a lofty spire, which forms a conspicuous object in a wide circumjacent landscape. Five schools-Crossroads public, Hurlford public, Riccarton public, Barleith, and Caprington infant-with respective accommodation for 76, 499, 147, 235, and 100 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 59, 3l9, l39, 151, and 92, and grants of £46, 11s., £257, 4s., £90, 14s., £128, 1s., and £74, 11s. Landward valuation (1880) £27, 432, 19s. 8d., (1885) £24, 835 15s. 5d., plus £6185 for railway. Pop. (1801) 1364, (1831) 2499, (1861) 5629, (1871) 5845, (1881) 7112, of whom 1940 were in the parliamentary burgh of Kilmarnock, and 3728 in the town and quoad sacra parish of Hurlford.—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

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better