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

Kirkoswald, a village and a coast parish in Carrick district, Ayrshire. The village, standing 332 feet above sea-level, is 1¾ mile from the coast, and 4 miles WSW of Maybole, under which it has a post office. An old and picturesque place, with a good inn, it was here that Burns spent his seventeenth summer in the study of mensuration, making pretty good progress therein, though not so great as in the knowledge of mankind, in ` scenes of swaggering riot and roaring dissipation.' In the burying-ground are the graves of his ` Tam O, Shanter ' and ` Souter Johnnie ' (Douglas Graham and John Davidson), as also of his grand and great-grand parents, the Brouns, the restoration of whose tombstone was inaugurated on 3 Aug. 1883. Pop. (1871)

The parish, containing also Maidens village, included, till 1652, a considerable tract on the NW side of Girvan Water, now belonging to Girvan and Dailly. It is bounded NE and E by Maybole, SE by Dailly, S by Dailly and Girvan, and W and NW by the Firth of Clyde. Its utmost length, from W by N to E by S, is 7 1/8 miles; its utmost breadth, from NNE to SSW, is 6 1/8 miles; and its area is 15,444 acres, of which 503¾ are foreshore and 79 ¼ water. The coast-line, 8 ¼ miles long, exhibits prominent features at Colzean Castle and Turnberry Point, but elsewhere is chiefly a sandy beach, with verdure down to the water-mark. It offers good bathing facilities, and, though destitute of any village, attracts to the farmhouses and the cottages in its vicinity a considerable number of summer visitors. The interior shows great diversity of contour, attaining 886 feet above sea-level at Mochrum Hill and 800 at Craigdow-vantage-grounds that command a wide and magnificent prospect; and it is everywhere richly embellished with park and wood and culture. Mochrum Loch (2½ x 1 ¼ furl.) and Craigdow Loch (1¾ x 1½ furl.) lie on the north-eastern and the eastern borders; and Milton Burn and numerous rills, running in various directions to the Firth, afford abundance of pure water. The rocks are partly eruptive, partly carboniferous; and coal has long been mined, but to no very great extent. The soil of the NW district is mostly a very rich argillaceous loam; of the SE, is generally lighter and more humid. Nearly all the land, except that in parks and under wood, is regularly or occasionally in tillage. Colzean Castle, Thomaston Castle, the vestiges of Turnberry Castle, and the ruins of Crossraguel Abbey, all noticed separately, are objects of great interest. The Marquis of Ailsa owns three-fourths of the parish, 2 other proprietors holding each an annual value of more, and 9 of less, than £500. Giving off a portion to the quoad sacra parish of Crosshill, and a smaller one to that of Maybole West Church, Kirkoswald is in the presbytery of Ayr and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £393. The present parish church, at Kirkoswald village, is a modern and commodious edifice. The ancient church, standing within Turnberry manor, was called Kirkoswald of Turnberry, and took the suffix Oswald from Osuald, King of Northumbria (634-42), who showed great zeal in the re-establishment of Christianity. There is also a Free church; and two public schools, Kirkoswald and Townhead, with respective accommodation for 162 and 80 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 111 and 77, and grants of £79, 3s. and £58, 15s. Valuation (1860) £13,052, (1883) £14, 960, 1s., plus £1132 for railway. Pop. of civil parish (1801) 1679, (1831) 1951, (1861) 2060, (1871) 1846, (1881) 1781; of ecclesiastical parish (1871) 1623, (1881) 1515.—Ord. Sur., shs. 14, 13, 1863-70.

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