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. IV, pages 280–284]

(County of Ayr)

By the Rev. Mr Michael Tod

Situation, Surface, Soil &c

The parish of Dreghorn, or rather the united parishes of Dreghorn and Percietown [sic], are situated in the presbytery of Irvine, and Synod of Glasgow and Ayr.  These parishes were united in the year 1668.  Each of them had a glebe; but the minister possesses only the glebe of Dreghorn.  These parishes may be 9 English miles in length, and at the broadest part of them 3 in breadth, though, in some parts they are not one.  They are bounded on the W, NW and N by the water of Annock [sic], which separates them from the parishes of Irvine and Stewarton; and the water of Irvine separates them from Dundonald on the S.  They are bounded by Kilmares [sic] on the SE and on the NE by Fenwick.  The ground is a gradual ascent from the west end of the parish to the east.  The soil in that part of it, which lies nearest to the sea, is either sandy or gravelish.  Above the village is a fine loam, and the rest of it clay.  The whole of the parish is arable, except a few acres of marshy ground, which are used as meadow lands.  [281] It is also mostly inclosed, and there are a variety of clumps of planting upon the eminences of such lands, as are the property of the Earl of Eglinton.  There is also a number of verges of planting upon the estates of the other heritors, all which have a very fine effect in beautifying the country.


The usual crops are oats, bear, and rye–grass.  Besides these, there are some small quantities of wheat raised, and two farmers in the parish have several times sown a few acres of turnip.  There is very little black victual sown.  The method of culture which has been generally followed here for upwards of 30 years is the following.  Every farm is now divided into three parts, each of these is ploughed for 3 years in its turn, while the other 2 remain in grass.  Grass–seeds are sown with the third year's crop, and the tenant is allowed to cut his hay field for one season, and sometimes for two.  Mr Snodgrass of Cuninghamhead has, for upwards of 12 years, differed from this mode of culture.  He allows his tenants only to plough one–fourth of their farms for 3 years.  By this method each fourth remains 9 years in grass, in place of 6, before it is ploughed up.  This he considers as being attended with two advantages to the tenant.  It lessens the number of his horses upon the farm, while the fourth that is ploughed up, on account of its long rest, yields nearly as much grain as the third used to.  The pasture grounds are likewise very much improved for the same reason.  A further advantage supposed to arise from this is, that when once the lands are put in proper order, the tenant has it not in his power to spoil them if he was disposed to do so.  This plan is considered so far preferable to the other, that in all the late leases of the Earl of Eglinton's estate in this parish it is adopted, where the farm is of a certain extent, as it is also [282] by some other gentlemen in the country.  Mr Snodgrass has made the following alteration upon his own plan.  In any of the leases he has lately given to his tenants, he restricts them to plough one–fourth for 2 year only, while the other three–fourths remain in grass for 6.  This he looks upon as an improvement upon his former plan, as 3 successive crops of oats are considered to impoverish a field very much, even though it is in the highest order when at first broken up.  There is a considerable quantity of very fine cheese made in the parish.  Some of the farmers keep from 12 to 20 milk cows.  The average rent of lands in the parish will be from a guinea to 22s the acre.  There are a few fields in it rented so high as 42s and 43s.


At the time of Dr Webster's report, the numbers were 887.  The number of souls at present is about 830.  Of these there are about 400 males, and 430 females.  There are 6 persons above 80, 18 above 70, 85 above 50, 313 above 20, 202 above 10 and 206 below 10 years of age.

Marriages, Births, and Deaths for the last 10 years.














































In the list of deaths there are several persons who live in other parishes, but have their burying–place in this.  The [283] inhabitants nave decreased considerably within the last 30 years.  This is owing to two or three small farms being thrown into one.  Another cause of their decrease is, that no additional houses have been built in the village; since I came to the parish there are several houses fallen down and have not been rebuilt.

Stipend, School, Poor, &c

The stipend paid is 91 bolls 4½pecks of meal, 2 bolls bear, and £16 13s 4d in money.  The church was rebuilt in 1780; the manse in 1789; the Earl of Eglinton is patron.  The schoolmaster has 100 merks of salary.  He has a school–house for teaching his scholars, but none for himself to dwell in.  The late schoolmaster was an old man, and for many years had very few scholars; but there was a private teacher, who often had 40 or 50 scholars.  Though we are pestered with strolling beggars, yet none of the poor in the parish are allowed to go about.  They are supported not by an assessment, but from the collections, and the interest of the stock, which has been occasionally saved from the collections, and other small casualties.

Miscellaneous Observations

In the west end of the parish there is a colliery, yielding, according to the information I received from one of the proprietors, above 11,000 tons yearly.  The greatest part of these coals is exported to Ireland from the port of Irvine.

There is only one village in the parish where the church is built.  There are no manufactures carried on; the houses being very bad are low rented, which induces old or poor people to occupy them.  The village is properly situated for manufactures, as the fields around it abound with springs of soft water.  The Annock also runs very near it on the [284] north side, and the water of Irvine at a very small distance upon the south.  There are a few weavers in the village, and also in other parts of the parish, but these are employed in weaving such kinds of cloth as are used by the country people.  The inhabitants both in the village and parish are in general sober, attentive, and industrious.  There are at present 3 ale–houses in the village, and one in another part of the parish; but the business they have is very inconsiderable, the principal part of it arising from travellers.  There are 20 heritors in the parish, but the property of two thirds of them is not extensive.





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