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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Dundonald, a village and a coast parish of Kyle, Ayrshire. The village stands, 113 feet above sea-level, 1 3/8 mile S by E of Drybridge station, 4 ¼ miles NE of Troon, 4 ¾ SE of Irvine, and 5 ¼ SW of Kilmarnock, under which it has a post office. Dundonald Castle, crowning a beautiful round hill a little W of the village, seems, from the style of its architecture and from other circumstances, to have been erected in the 12th or 13th century. According to legend, it was built entirely of wood, with never a wooden pin, by one Donald Din, or Din Donald, the story of whose enrichment by the discovery, through a dream, of a pot of gold is related also of a Norfolk chapman, a spendthrift of Dort, and a Baghdad beggar (pp. 236-238 of Robert Chambers's Popular Rhymes of Scotland, ed. 1870). The residence of several princes of the Stewart dynasty and the death-place of Robert II. (1390), it has given the title of Baron since 1647, of Earl since 1669, to the family of Cochrane; and now, with 5 roods of land adjoining, it is the last remaining property in Ayrshire of that family. Tradition relates that it was shorn of its topmost story for building or improving their neighbouring house of Auchans; but it still forms a massive two-story ruin, measuring 113 feet by 40, and retains on its western wall, in high relief but much obliterated by time, the armorial bearings of the Stewarts. At its southern end are shattered remains of two or three arched cells, which belonged to its keep or prison; and it seems, from vestiges still visible, to have been surrounded by a rampart and a moat. Samuel Johnson and Boswell were here in 1773.

The parish, containing also the seaport of Troon and the Fullarton suburb of Irvine, is bounded N by Irvine, Dreghorn, and Kilmaurs, E by Riccarton, SE by Symington and Monkton-Prestwick, SW and W by the Firth of Clyde. Rudely resembling a triangle in shape, with southward apex, it has an utmost length from NNW to SSE of 7 ¾ miles, an utmost breadth from ENE to WSW of 6 ½ miles, and an area of 13,404 ¾ acres, of which 940 are foreshore and 99 ¾ water. The coast-line, 8 5/8 miles long, from the mouth of the Irvine to that of the Pow Burn, is low and sandy, broken only by the promontory of Troon, but fringed by Lappock, Stinking, Mill, Garden, and Seal Rocks, and Little and Meikle Craigs. The surface for some way inland is almost a dead level, and at its highest point but little exceeds 400 feet above the waters of the firth - said point occurring near Harpercroft, and belonging to the so-called Claven or Clevance Hills. All under tillage, pasture, or wood, these form a central tract, and, extending about 3 miles south-eastward and 1 ½ mile south-westward, converge to a culmen, which commands a wide panoramic view, said to comprise portions of fourteen counties. From just above Gatehead station to its mouth, the river Irvine, winding 11 miles west-north-westward, roughly traces all the boundary with Kilmaurs, Dreghorn, and Irvine; whilst Rumbling Burn follows that with Symington and Monkton, and one or two smaller rivulets flow through the interior to the firth. The rocks in the Claven Hills, and elsewhere in patches, are eruptive; in all other parts, belong to the Carboniferous formation. Coal has long been mined at Shewalton and Old Rome; excellent sandstone is quarried for exportation at Craiksland and Collennan; and hone-stone, of a very superior quality, abounds on the estate of Curreath. The soil, to the breadth of about ½ mile on nearly all the coast, except round Troon, is sandy and barren; in the adjacent tracts to the E, is of various character from light to loamy; in the extreme E, is mostly a loamy fertile clay; and is a stiffish clay in some other parts. A very large proportion of the entire area is under cultivation, and much is devoted to dairy husbandry. A native was the cobbler-artist, John Kelso Hunter (1802-73). A famous preReformation church, `Our Lady's Kirk of Kyle,' adjoined Dundonald Castle, but has disappeared; and an ancient chapel stood on Chapel Hill, near Hillhouse mansion; whilst not far from Newfield are remains of a structure, supposed to have been a Roman bath or reservoir. A vitrified fort, now in a state of utter dilapidation, crowned a projecting eminence between two ravines at Kemplaw; and two ancient camps are on the heights above Harpercroft farm. Auchans House is an interesting object; and mansions of comparatively modern erection are Fullarton, Shewalton, Newfield, Fairlie, Curreath, and Hillhouse, 7 proprietors holding each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 9 of between £100 and £500, 31 of from £50 to £100, and 100 of from £20 to £50. In the presbytery of Ayr and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, this parish is divided into the quoad sacra parishes of Troon, Fullarton, and Dundonald, the last being a living worth £446. Its church, built in 1803, contains 630 sittings; and four public schools Dundonald, Fullarton, Loans, and Troon - with respective accommodation for 129, 180, 60, and 160 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 136, 126, 39, and 249, and grants of £87, 3s., £90, 17s., £27, 6s., and £207, 18s. 6d. Valuation (1860) £27,538; (1882) £39,095, 3s. 9d., plus £8060 for railway. Pop. of civil parish (1801) 1240, (1831) 5579,* (1861) 7606, (1871) 6964, (1881) 8089; of Dundonald registration district (1871) 1507, (1881) 1509.—Ord. Sur., sh. 22, 1865. See the Rev. J. Kirkwood's Troon and Dundonald: with their surroundings, Local and Historical (3d ed., Kil., 1881).

* An increase largely due to the annexation of Troon, Halfway, and Shewalton from Irvine.

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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