North Ayrshire

A town and railway junction in the Cunninghame district of North Ayrshire, Kilwinning lies on the River Garnock, 2¼ miles (3.5 km) east northeast of Stevenston and 3 miles (5 km) north northwest of Irvine. In the 8th century a church is said to have been founded here by St. Winning. A later Tyronensian abbey, linked to Kelso, became an important religious centre with a market. Kilwinning was a noted centre of archery in Mediaeval times and later developed in association with coal mining, quarrying, iron-founding and textile manufacture. In 1966 Kilwinning was included within the designated New Town of Irvine. In the early 1970s, the Irvine Development Corporation (IDC) built industrial estates at Nethermains (on the site of the former Eglinton Iron Works that operated between 1846 and 1926) and West Byrehill, and then pedestrianised the Main Street in the mid-1980s. Modern industries include whisky blending and bottling and the manufacture of plastics and electronics.

Kilwinning is also notable as home to the first Masonic Lodge in Scotland. The Mother Lodge of Scotland may date back to the building of the Abbey in the 12th C., although the first documentary evidence of its existence is in 1598. The Mother Lodge building on Main Street dates from 1893.

Notable individuals born in Kilwinning include author and friend of the French royal family Quintin Craufurd (1743 - 1819), philanthropist John McGavin (1814-81), Australian politician James Service (1823-99), Islamic poet and author John Parkinson (1874 - 1918), actor Colin Friels (b.1952), politician Des Browne (b.1952), composer Sir James MacMillan (b.1959) and footballer Julie Fleeting (b.1980). Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited in 1956.

Nearby are Eglinton Country Park, Dalgarven Mill Museum and the coastal resorts of Ardrossan and Saltcoats.

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