Seagate castle, Irvine
Maryborough salt pan houses
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Old Statistical Account


[Transcribed from the original by David Courtney McClure.]

[Vol. V, pages 369–374.]

(County of Ayr.)

By the Rev. Mr Andrew Shaw.

Name, Erection, etc

The name Craigie appears to have been given to this parish, from several craigs or rocks, which are situated near the church.  The parish and that of Riccartoun, were formerly united, but were disjoined in 1647.  It appears from records, that there were, at that time, in the two parishes, above 2000 communicants, which far exceeds the number in both at present.  What causes have produced this decrease, it may, perhaps be difficult to ascertain.  A consideralbe part of a small parish, called Barnwell, which was suppressed in the year 1673, when than of Stair was erected, is now annexed to Craigie.

Extent, Situation, Surface, and Soil

This parish is about 7 English miles in length, and 1¼ in breadth.  It is situated in [370] that district of Ayrshire, called Kyle, in the presbytery of Ayr, and in the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr.  Near the church and manse it is hilly.  One may walk, in the short space of 5 minutes, from the manse to the top of one of the neighbouring hills, which, though not perhaps more than 500 feet above the level of the sea, yet commands a most extensive and delightful prospect.  It may be safely said, that, above 100 square miles of rich land may be seen; and that in all that extent, almost every nobleman and gentleman's seat, every town and village, every garden and wood, appear distinctly.  Here also are beheld the venerable Ben–lomond, and several of the other Grampian hills; the frith of Clyde flowing beautifully to the ocean; the ridges in the Isle of Jura; the lofty tops of Arran, and the majestic rock of Ailsa, beyond which the hills of ireland seem to rise from the sea.  The soil in general is rather light and gravelly.  Some parts of it consist of a thin poor clay, but there are many fields of a deep strong clay, which, when properly cultivated, produce, in favourable seasons, very rich crops.  The greatest part of the parish is arable, and inclosed with hedge and ditch, but some parks are surrounded with stone dikes.  There are likewise some good fields of meadow ground.  The hills are covered with verdure, and afford excellent pasture for cattle.


Many parts of this parish contain coal, though only one pit is at present wrought.  In some places which were wrought not long ago, two seams were found; the one a hard and lasting, and the other a light, or what is called a candle coal.  When there were burnt together, they made an excellent fire.  There are also 2 or 3 great lime–works, whose distance from coal is not above 2 English miles.  About 60,000 bolls of lime may be raised annually.  The profit thence arising must be considerable, [371] while the neighbourhood is greatly benefited by the lime, some of which has been carried southward, above 9 English miles.  These lime works are in the eastern parts of the parish, and the western part of it is supplied with lime from quarries, surrounding the limits of this parish to the north.

Climate, Diseases, etc

The air, in general, is pure, and there are no distempers peculiar to the parish.  Many of the inhabitants arrive at the age of 80, some at that of 90 years.  They live neither in towns nor villages; they are employed chiefly in the open air, and are active, sober, and industrious; they are of late much improved in their dress and manner of living, and dwell in houses more neat and cleanly than formerly; circumstances which must contribute to health.

Produce and Cattle

The grain chiefly cultivated in this parish, is oats.  Pease, beans, and barley, are also raised, but in much smaller quantities. [1]   Potatoes are planted by almost every family for their own subsistence.  Considerable quantities of rye–grass and clover seeds, are also sown.  No turnips, cabbages, or hemp, are raised, and little flax, excepting some for private use.  More grain is raised than is consumed in the parish; and much butter and cheese is sent to the markets of Ayr and Kilmarnock, and even to Paisley and Glasgow. [2]   Great attention is now given to [372] the improvement of the breed of cows and horses, which have risen greatly in value within these few years.  The number of horses, young and old, may be 246, and of cows 738.  There are only a few sheep.


Upon comparing the present amount of annual baptisms, with that of any particular period, for a considerable time past, the state of this parish, with respect to population, does not appear to have been materially altered.  Owing to the enlargement of farms, to the demolition of cottages, and to the increase of manufactures in the neighbourhood, (to which persons of all ages resort), its population might, perhaps, be supposed on the decline.  Yet it is a fact, that the return to Dr Webster amounted only to 551; and, at present, the number of parishioners, young and old, are not under 700. [3]   They are mostly farmers, some are lime quarriers, some day–labourers, and there a few of those tradesmen, who are essentially necessary in every country parish. [4]   At an average for the last 5 years, there have been 6 marriages, 14 baptisms, and 9 burials, annually.

Under 10 years of age


Above 10, and under 20


Above 20, and unmarried




Widowers and widows





Heritors, Rent, etc

The number of heritors is 16, and 9 of them are resident.  Of the heritors who reside, three have very considerable estates; the property of the other 6 is small.  The valued rent is £3236 13 3 Scotch.  From the improvements made by the superior skill and industry of the tenants, and also from the advanced price of the produce of land, the rent has greatly increased within these last 30 years; yet the tenants are in a better condition than they were before that time.  The leases are commonly for 19 years.  the ground is cropped for 3 years, and rests 6.  The number os Scotch acres is about 5500.  The rent is from 10s to 20s per acre, taking the average of which, the present rent of the parish must be about £4000 Sterling per annum.  But, as some of the land is in the hands of the proprietors, that cannot be exactly ascertained.  The farms are very unequal.  Some are so small, as to be under £20.  Some are from £40 to £60, and others are as high as £140 per annum. 

Church, Manse, and Stipend

The church was built anno 1776, is a neat and commodious place of worship, and may contain about 600 people. [5]   The mase was built anno 1745, and has since been at different times repaired.  The stipend consists partly of victual, and partly of money; and, including the glebe, may amount to £96.  The right of patronage belongs to William Campbell, Esq., of Craigie.


Here is a parochial school, and the master has a legal salary, a house adjoining to the school, and also a [374] garden.  The number of scholars is much greater in winter than in summer; and, at an average, during the year, may be about 60.  The wages, per quarter, are, for English, 1s 6d; for writing, 2s; for arithmetic and Latin, 2s 6d; and a complete system of book–keeping is taught for 10s 6d.  The schoolmaster's place, including all perquisites, may amount to £30 Sterling.


There are, at present, 12 persons who receive public charity.  The sum spent yearly, for their support, is about £20.  This arises from the weekly collections made in the church, and from the interest of a sum of money belonging to the parish.  None who reside here are vagrants.  Attention is given, that the children of those who are needy and indigent, be properly educated.


The roads were formerly made and kept in repair by the statute labour, but this is now converted into money; 3d is paid for every pound Scotch of valuation, which may amount to about £40 Sterling yearly.  The roads are kept in good order, considering the great number of coal and lime carts that are constantly passing over them.


The people are regular, peaceable, and industrious; anxious, in their several occupations, to provide for themselves and their families; and what they acquire by active labour, they enjoy with moderation.  Few of them may be called rich, though almost all of them are far removed from poverty.  When circumstances occur, that call forth their humanity, they are charitable.  They enjoy, in a reasonable degree, the benefits and comforts of society, and are, in general, contented with their circumstances and situation in life.


[1]           Pease and beans are sown in the beginning of March, oats from the middle of March to the end of April, and barley soon after the middle of April.  Harvest generally begins about the middle of September, and is finished about the middle of October.

[2]           The price of every article of provision has arisen greatly of late, particularly of beef, butter, cheese, hens, and eggs; and may rise still higher, in proportion as manufactures increase, and as this county becomes more rich [372] and populous.  The prices of the above mentioned articles are regulated by the markets of Kilmarnock and Ayr; and they are also, in a great measure, affected by the more distant markets of Glasgow and Paisley.

[3]           [The table which appeared as a footnot has been isnerted within the body of the text following this paragraph.]

[4]           The wages of a man–servant, for the year, are, from £9 to £10, and of a maid–servant, from £3 to £4.  The wages of a harvest labourer, are from £1 5s to £1 10s, and of a day–labourer, 1s 3d in summer, and 1s in winter.

[5]           The kirk of Craigie is said to have been formerly called the Kirk in the Forest, which name was probably given it, from its being surrounded by woods; but few trees are now to be seen near it.  It is also said, that in this church, schemes were concerted by some of the principal reformers, whose estates lay in the neighbourhood, for opposing the measures of the Queen Regent, and for promoting the interests of the Reformation, at its commencement.





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