Seagate castle, Irvine
Maryborough salt pan houses
weavers' cottages in Crosshill


Culzean coach house
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Old Statistical Account


[Transcribed from the original by David Courtney McClure.]


[Vol. VI, pages 71–74]

(County and Presbytery of Air, Synod of Glasgow and Air.)

By the Rev. Mr Duncan McMyne.

Name, Soil, Climate, &c

The true orthography of Damelingtoun is said to be Dame–Helen's–town, after a lady of rank and fortune, of the name of Helen, who built a castle near this place.  The parish is about 8 miles long, and between 2 and 3 in breadth.  The soil in the lower parts, lying upon the river Doon, is a strong, rich, deep clay; around the village of Damelingtoun, it is dry and gravelly; and towards the hilly parts, hard and rocky.  About a mile below the village is a large morass, [1] which formerly rendered the climate very unhealthy, particularly to children; but since it has been drained, and two small streams carried through its centre, the climate [72] is become more salubrious, the children are stout and healthful, and there are now many instances of longevity in the parish.  Immediately beyond this large morass, runs the river Doon, where there is perhaps the largest tract of natural meadows that is to be found in any part of Scotland.  These fine meadows are apt to be overflowed, by which their grass is filled with sand and rendered hurtful to cattle; and often, in great speats [sic], a great deal of hay is carried away.  In order to prevent this damage, the proprietors cut through a very high and solid rock at the foot of Loch Doon, (from whence the river flows), but the event did not answer their expectations.  Loch Doon is a beautiful piece of water, 9 miles long, abounding in trout, with a hard rocky coast.  On an island are the remains of a fine old castle, and there was a beautiful natural cascade at the foot of the loch, before the cut was made.


The parish is full of fine coal, and freestone, in almost every corner of it.  These two useful articles terminate here, there being none to the southward beyond this parish.  Coal is carried from hence, to the distance of 30 miles, into Galloway.  There is also iron–stone to be found in the parish, and lead in some of the hills.  Near the village of Damelingtoun is the cheapest and best coal that is to be found in the west of Scotland.


The following table will exhibit the state of the parish, as to population, rent, &c.

Population in 1755


Population in 1792


Above 12 years of age


Below 12


Annual average of births for 2 years


Annual average of burials


[73] Rent








Heritors resident


Heritors non–resident



The population, in the country part of the parish, has considerably diminished, owing to the monopolizing of farms, or conjoining a number of possessions into one; but it has increased in proportion in the village of Damelingtoun, which contains about 500 inhabitants.  Seven fairs are held in it every year; and it has 5 or 6 public houses, kept by people of good character.  Near the village are two large commons, let at a reasonable rate to the inhabitants, for feeding their cattle upon.  Each common may feed 25 or 30 cows.  There is plenty of coal, freestone, and good water, all around; so that, upon all these accounts, Damelingtoun is particularly well situated for a woolen [sic] manufactory, especially as it is in the neighbourhood of numerous and fine flocks of sheep.  Accordingly, a few public spirited men propose immediately to establish both a woolen and a cotton manufactory here; which, in time, will probably be productive of the happiest effects, as the inhabitants of the village are a sober, industrious, regular and well–informed set.

Miscellaneous Observations

The stipend is 1200 merks Sc. all in money; with a glebe of 11 acres.  The schoolmaster's salary is £100 Sc.  The average number of poor is 27, maintained by weekly collections, and the interest of a capital stock of £110.  The monopolizing of farms, and the cheapness of houses and coal in the village, has contributed much to increase the number of the poor; but they are very diligent and industrious.  In the parish are the remains of 3 old castles, one of them on an island in Loch [74] Doon, before–mentioned.  A beautiful moat, surrounded with a deep dry fosse, stands immediately above the village of Damelingtoun; and large cairns of stones are to be found in many places.


[1]           An experiment was tried to improve this large tract of useless ground, by covering it thick with water gravel, which had a wonderful and immediate effect; but the expence was so great, that it was found necessary to relinquish the scheme.





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