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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Skelmorlie, a watering-place in Largs parish, Ayrshire, and a quoad sacra parish partly also in Innerkip parish, Renfrewshire. The village stands upon the Firth of Clyde to the S of the terminus of the Greenock and Wemyss Bay railway (1865), this being 8 miles SW of Upper Greenock and 30 ½ W of Glasgow. feued out since 1850, and mainly built of native red sandstone, it comprises two portions, Upper and Lower Skelmorlie, the former of which contains some workmen's houses, whilst the latter consists of three rows of villas and a beautiful crescent behind. A hydropathic establishment, in the Scottish Baronial style, was erected in 1868, and in 1875 received the addition of new Turkish, salt-water, and other baths. It is perched on the edge of a rugged cliff of conglomerate sandstone and pebble, which rises to a sheer height of 100 feet above the shoreroad; and it thus enjoys the most bracing air and commands a magnificent view. The quoad sacra parish, formed in 1860, is in the presbytery of Greenock and the synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £500. Its church was built in 1856, and enlarged in 1858. There are also a U.P. church (1874), a post office under Greenock, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, and a public school, with accommodation for 135 children. Pop. of village (1871) 404, (1881) 757, of whom 238 were in Lower Skelmorlie; of q. s. parish (1871) 886, (1881) 1264, of whom 311 were in Renfrewshire.

Skelmorlie Castle, 1¾ mile S of Wemyss Bay station and 4¼ miles N by W of Largs, stands 1 furlong inland, on the N side of lovely Skelmorlie Glen. Its oldest part dates from 1502; and Pont described it in 1608 as' a fair veill built housse, and pleasantly seatted, decorred with orchards and woodes, the inheritance of Robert Montgomery, Laird thereof,' whose ancestor, George, was second son of the first Lord Montgomerie, and from him received in 1461 the lands of Skelmorlie, formerly held by the Cunninghams of Kilmaurs. The estate reverted by succession to the Eglinton family; and in 1852, with consent of the late Earl, the old ruined mansion was restored by the present occupier, John Graham, Esq., a wealthy Glasgow merchant, who has made it a picturesque and delightful residence. He is a great art collector, and possesses paintings by Turner, Landseer, Holman Hunt, Wilkie, Ary Scheffer, Gainsborough, Gerôme, Stanfield, Rosa Bonheur, etc. Under Largs are noticed the Skelmorlie Aisle and the 'serpent mound.'-Ord. Sur., sh. 29, 1873. See Eglintonn Castle; Gardner's Wemyss Bay and Skelmorlie (Paisley, 1879); and A. H. Millar's Castles and Mansions of Ayrshire (Edinb. 1885).

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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