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Old Statistical Account
[Transcribed from the original by David Courtney McClure.]
[Vol. XI, pages 142–177.]
(County of Ayr.Presbytery of Irvine.Synod of Glasgow and Ayr.)
By the Rev. Mr Thomas Pollock.
Origin of the Name
The Keledees, or Culdees, are supposed to have been originally Christian Britains; and, about the latter end of the third century, to have fled into this country, to avoid the barbarous and inhuman cruelties, inflicted upon the Christians, during the persecution under Dioclesianthe Roman Emperor.They were said to have been distinguished for their great learning, extraordinary piety, exemplary decency and purity of life and manners; and, as ministers of religion, being unwearied in the faithful discharge of their duty, they were universally held in the highest esteem and veneration.From their retired and solitary way of living, their usual places of residence were called cells; and, after their deaths, were turned either into parish churches, or monasteries.These religious houses were often dedicated to the memory, and  bore the name of the Keledee, who had been born, or educated, or buried in, or near such places.From CellaWinnini, therefore, it is highly probable this parish takes its name.There is a well, at no great distance from the manse, called Winning's Well; and a fair, held annually, on the first day of February, is called Winning's–day Fair.Not many years after the erection of the monastery, Kilwinning, all over this part of the country, was called Saig–town; and, by this name, it is still very well known to the inhabitants.Saig–town is evidently a corruption of Saints–town.From the mortified and contemplative lives of the monks, from the frequency of their devotions, and other religious exercises, and from their reputation for learning and knowledge, they were regarded by the superstitious, ignorant, and credulous laity, as an order of superior beings.Nothing, therefore, could be more natural, than to call the place, where persons of such characters lived, Saig–town, or the Town of the Saints.It ought also to be observed, as it very strongly marks the spirit and manners of those dark ages, that the fairs, in all the towns and villages connected with the monastery, were named after some particular saint, who was afterwards accounted the protector or tutelar saint of the place: Such as, St. Anthony, St. Colm, or Columba, St. Margaret, St. Bride, or Bridget.The days on which these fairs are held, are still called after the saint whose name they bear; as, Colm's–day, Margaret's–day, etc.
Situation and Extent
It is situated in Cunninghame, one of the districts or subdivisions of the county of Ayr, and is separated from the West Coast, or Irish Sea, by part of the parishes of Irvine and Stevenstown.It is supposed to be 9 English miles in length, and, in some parts of it, not much less in breadth.The figure, however, it forms, is very irregular, being in several places intersected by the neighbouring  parishes.There is no map of the parish, nor has any regular measurement ever been made of it.For this reason, the precise number of acres it contains cannot be ascertained.
It rises gradually from the W and S and SW, to the E and NE.In both these directions, it terminates in what may be reckoned high lands, but without any intervening high hill, or mountain.The face of the parish is beautifully diversified, by these easy, natural risings, which slope gently towards the sea.The summits of many of them, and particularly of such as are in the more immediate neighbourhood of the town, were planted by the late Earl of Eglintoune.The greater part of these plantations, being rather more than 40 years old, give a rich and very highly cultivated appearance to this part of the country.
Climate, Diseases, and Longevity
The frequent, and sometimes heavy rains that fall here, are probably owing to the parish being so very near the sea, and to its situation with respect to Kintyre to the Islands of Arran, of Bute, and the other Western Isles.The atmosphere, by these rains, is often rendered thick and cloudy.The denser parts of the clouds, however, being attracted by the high hills on the S and N, the air is, for the most part, drier and purer, than in those parishes which are near or contiguous to these high hills.The rains, therefore, which fall here, though frequent, and at times severe, are not known to produce any malignant epidemical disorders.Diseases of this kind are, almost always, brought into the parish from its intercourse with other places, either nearer or more remote; and they are even less malignant, or not so fatal, as in those parts from which they are brought.From this peculiar wholesomeness and purity of the air, the inhabitants are, in general, very healthy.Many of them  live to a very advanced age.Within these 40 years, several have died considerably above 80.During this period, a man died at 91, and a woman at the very great age of 104.There are now living 2 men of 85, one of 91, and not a few persons, of both sexes, between 70 and 82.
This disease, it must be acknowledged, is a melancholy exception to these facts.It rages here, at times, with the utmost violence, and is often extremely fatal.In the summer and autumn of 1791, upwards of 90 children had the natural small pox, and more than one half of them died.The chin–cough and natural small pox not unfrequently prevail at the same time.When this happens, as was the case at the above period, the ravages committed by this last disease, are truly dreadful.The coincidence of these diseases might, in a great measure, be prevented by inoculation.But though in this, and in every other respect, inoculation is attended with the happiest consequences, it is only practised here in two or three families.From ignorance, and the most superstitious prejudices, the parents, regardless, or insensible of consequences, instead of inoculating their children, crowd into those houses in which the disease is of the most malignant nature, and at a time when it is the most infectious.The very worst kind of this dangerous and loathsome disease is, in this manner, communicated and spread, and thousands of valuable lives are lost to the community.This impious presumption, these illiberal and groundless prejudices, are not peculiar to this parish; in every other country parish in Scotland, the great bulk of the people think and act pretty much in the same way.It is well known, at least to the clergy, that every argument in support of inoculation, however conclusive or self–evident, makes no impression upon their minds.To make a law, obliging all persons, without distinction, to  inoculate their children, would be thought inconsistent with the liberty of British subjects, and even with the common principles of humanity.But as the prosperity, nay the very existence of every country, is inseparably connected with the number of its inhabitants, something certainly ought to be attempted, to render, if possible, inoculation in Scotland more general than it is at present.With a view to this, the following outlines of a scheme are humbly proposed.
1st.That by an act of parliament, all the surgeons in Scotland be appointed, under certain penalties, to keep regular separate lists, both of these children who are inoculated by them, and of those under their care, who take the disease in the natural way; and to state the precise number of such as die of the inoculated, and of the natural small pox.
2dly.In order to fix, with the utmost certainty, the exact number of those children who take the natural small pox, that all parents be appointed, by the same authority, and under the same penalties, to inform their family surgeons, even of such of their children, as have the disease in such a favourable way as not to need the assistance of a surgeon.
3dly.That those lists be signed, and sent to Edinburgh once every year, or oftener, if it shall be judged necessary; and printed under the particular direction of government.
4thly.That when printed, these lists shall be immediately transmitted to the magistrates and clergy of every town, and to the justices of the peace, and the clergy of every country parish, to be by them distributed, and made as universally known as possible among the people.
5thly.That a salary to the surgeons, adequate to their trouble, be established by government; as well as a fund for inoculating the children of the poor.
 A series of facts, thus clearly and fully stated and authenticated, will, by degrees, it is hoped, convince even the most ignorant and prejudiced of the propriety and necessity of inoculation; and, at last, make them readily and cheerfully fall in with a practice so wonderfully calculated, under God, to preserve life.
Lakes, Minerals, and Mineral Waters
There is only one lake in the parish, called the Ashen–yard Loch.It abounds in excellent pikes and perches.There are quarries of free–stone in different parts of the parish.Some of these stones are of a very fine quality; and are carried in considerable quantities to Irvine, and to several other places in the neighbourhood.Lime–stone, of the very best kind, and in very great plenty, is to be found in almost every quarter and division of the parish.There is one chalybeate spring close by the town; from the use of which, persons, labouring under nervous complaints, have received considerable benefit.
There are three collieries in the parish, viz. Easter Dowra, belonging to Lord Lisle, which lets at £140 per annum.At this work from 12 to 16 colliers are employed.Laigh Fergus–hill, belonging to the heirs of the late Mr McDowal, which is at present under lease, for a year, at £100.Monk–greenan, the property of Mr Bowman of Ashgrove.From 4 to 6 men are here usually employed.It is let at £10 a year.From the two first of these coal–works, there is still an exportation to Ireland, from the port of Irvine.This trade, however, is now very trifling and inconsiderable, compared to what it was formerly.
State of Property
The valued rent of the parish is £630 Scotch.The real yearly rent is thought to be about £6000  Sterling; and the rent of the houses in the town £475 16s.The Earl of Eglintoune is proprietor of more than a third part of the lands of the parish.There are 8 other considerable proprietors; 4 of whom reside in it; and 60 small proprietors, called feuers, 15 of whom are non–residing.There have been
New houses built, within these 10 years
Houses pulled down, and rebuilt on a much neater and more commodious plan than formerly
Weavers shops new built
The number of farms is
The size of farms is reckoned to be from 15 to upwards of 100 acres
There are 2 rivers in the parish, Garnockand Lugton.The last of these rises in the parish of Neilston in Renfrewshire.It runs through a great part of this parish, and falls into the Garnock, about an English mile below Eglintoune Castle.There is plenty of very fine trouts in it.Garnock, by far the most considerable of these 2 rivers, has its source in the high hills in the parish of Kilbirney, about the distance of 10 English miles from the town of Kilwinning.After running for some miles through this parish, it falls into the Irish Sea at the harbour of Irvine.It is well stored with salmon, and with different kinds of excellent trouts.The salmon fishing, in this river, is at the best in the month of July; and is the exclusive property of Lord Eglintoune, from about one fourth of a mile above the town, to where the river falls into the sea.Like all rivers which have their sources in very elevated situations, it is liable to  sudden inundations.On this river, and also on the Lugton, there are some situations extremely proper for erecting cotton mills.There is a plentiful and constant supply of the very best water for all kinds of machinery; a populous and highly cultivated country, in the near neighbourhood of some good market towns; oatmeal, the ordinary food of the labouring people, is cheaper by 1d, and sometimes by 2d a peck, than in Glasgow and Paisley; and all other kinds of provisions are in the same proportion.
Roads and Bridges
There are 4 turnpike roads in the parish.These were originally made and kept in repair by the statute labour.This was exacted formerly in kind; but, for more than 20 years, it has, by an act of parliament, been converted into money.Every farm, whether in tillage or in grass, pays at the rate of 3d Sterling for every pound Scotch of valued rent; and every householder, who does not occupy land to the amount of £12 Scotch of valued rent, pays 3s Sterling yearly.Such poor families as produce a certificate to the collector, from the minister, of their inability to pay this tax, are exempted from payment.The average annual amount of the money levied for statute labour is £99.This sum being sufficient for making the roads, and keeping them in proper repair, there is no toll levied, nor any toll–bar erected in the parish.Unfortunately, the 4 roads are almost in the very extremities of the W and SW parts of the parish. The other roads, not included in the present act of parliament, are totally neglected, and are next to impassable for more than three fourths of the year.One of them, leading from the town to the very eastern boundary of the parish, and nearly through the very middle of it, is about 6 English miles long.This line of road, the very worst, perhaps, in the whole county, is essentially necessary to every agricultural improvement in the parish; and, if made, would open a communication between this part of the country and Glasgow, several miles nearer than the present line by Irvine and Stewartown.It is, therefore, most earnestly requested, that when a new county road bill, is applied for, this road may be particularly included in it.
Birds, Plants, Woods and Soil
The migratory birds are the cuckoo, the wood–cock, the bulfinch [sic], and the green and gray plover.There is no curious plant to be found here.The greater part of the parish being cultivated, no rare indigenous plants are to be met with, except a few of the Cryptogamiaof Linnæus.There are no natural woods in the parish.Besides the very extensive plantations, the property of Lord Eglintoune, there are several other plantations in different parts of the parish, and some very fine full–grown old trees of ash, plane, beech and elm.The weather on the whole of this west coast is often very variable.There are frequently very quick transitions from heat to cold, from frost to rain.These transitions, attended sometimes with violent SW and W winds, are hurtful to vegetation. Trees, in general, and especially all such trees as are of the resinous kinds, suffer very much from them.About one half of the parish is a stiff, wet, clay soil, and the other a light sand and loam.
The average rent of the farms, per acre, is 18s.The whole of the parish is inclosed with hedge and ditch.Such of the hedges as  are kept clean, and otherwise properly attended to, thrive extremely well, and become, in a few years, a very strong fence.On some farms, trees are planted in the hedges.It is much to be regretted, that this mode of inclosing was not more generally practised.These hedge rows, besides the warmth and shelter which they afford, embellish and enrich, to a very great degree, the whole face of the country.Whatever reluctance and aversion, from ignorance or prejudice, the farmers might, at first, discover to inclosing, they now feel and acknowledge its advantages, and consequently are universally fond of it.Disregarding the former absurd divisions into outfield and infield, or croft, farms are now divided into 3 or 4 inclosures, as nearly equal as possibly can be done.Such farms as are divided into 3 inclosures, or, as they are commonly called, breaks, the tenant, by his lease, is bound, under a certain stipulated penalty, to plow one only of these at a time; to crop 3 years, and pasture 5.The 4th year it is cut for hay.The principal crop is oats.He sows between 6 and 7 bushels an acre: Reaps, at a medium, from 5 to 6 bolls.On a clay soil, or a rich loam, beans are sown, at the rate of between 5 and 6 bushels an acre.The average produce is 7 bolls, 5 bushels to the boll.Four bushels bear produce 5 bolls, 8 bushels to the boll.There is however very little bear now sown, and no wheat nor barley, and but few beans.The almost universal crop in the parish is oats.Some time in the month of August it is limed on the sward; and, about a fortnight or three weeks before plowing, whatever dung the farmers have, is laid out, and spread over the lime.The price of lime at the draw–kill, is from 4½d to 5d a bushel.The ground is sown down the 3rd year with rye–grass and clover, at the rate of 3 bushels rye–grass an acre, and from 6 lb to 10 lb red and white clover.The produce is from 150 to 200 stones, 24 English lbs to the stone.Farms,  divided into 4 inclosures, are managed precisely in the same way; with this only difference, that every inclosure rests 9 years instead of 6.The Scotch plough, of the lightest and best kind, is generally used; and it is drawn by 3, and sometimes by 4 horses, with a man and a boy.The price of the plough is from 25s to 30s.When the season happens to be uncommonly dry, oats and beans begin to be sown about the middle of March; but, in general, very little is sown before the month of April.Bear continues to be sown, from about the beginning to the latter end of May.There is no general harvest till about the first, and sometimes the second week of September.It is mostly over about the latter end of October.By far the greatest part of the hay and harvest work is done by women, at from 1s to 15d a day, without victuals.When hired till the whole of the grain is cut down, which is the more general practice, they have from 25s to 30s, with board.
Failure of the Crop in 1782
Different causes, no doubt, contributed to this failure, in different parts of the country: But in this parish, and in others immediately on the sea coast, the chief cause of its failure was owing to a very severe west wind, about the middle, or towards the latter end of the month of August, which continued with the utmost violence for a considerable time.The corns had their roots loosened, and were otherwise much damaged by this storm.From being in general very green, when it happened, in a few days afterwards they grew white, but never filled.Snow also, in such parts of the parish as were at the greatest distance from the sea, fell earlier, and in greater quantities, that ever had been known at that season of the year.A boll of well ripened oats yields, at an average, from 17 to 20 pecks of meal, and even, sometimes, more: But, in 1782, the boll of oats,  of 16 pecks, yielded only from 10 to 12 pecks of meal.The price of the peck of meal that year, was from 14d to 18d.The parish produces grain almost equal to the consumption of its inhabitants, though more than one third of it be in pasture.
In a wet clay soil, it generally takes 3 acres to feed a milk cow; but, in a light dry soil, 1½, or at most 2 acres, are sufficient.The weight of a milk cow is from 16 to 20 stones; the average produce from £4 to £5.For grass to a horse, 50s; for ditto to a milk cow, from 30s to 40s.There is a great quantity of sweet milk cheese made in the parish, and of the very best quality; for which there is a constant demand in Glasgow and Paisley, and of late in Edinburgh.Every farmer has one, or more, one–horse carts, worth from £5 to £8.
Potatoe [sic] Husbandry, etc
Potatoes are raised by horse–hoeing, and are planted at the distance of 3 feet between the rows, and 6 inches from plant to plant in the rows.The ground is dunged at the rate of from 50 to 70 carts an acre.It gets 5 plowings; the 2 first with 3 horses, and the other 3 with 2 and 1 horse.The planting and raising costs from 8s to 10s.The potatoes are commonly raised with the spade, instead of the plough, owing to the heavy rains, which generally set in at the time they are raised.The produce is from 30 bolls an acre, and upwards; the average price 6d a peck.A potatoe crop is reckoned an excellent fallow for oats or bear.LoedEglintoune has, under his own management, a very extensive farm, the greater part of which is of a light sandy soil.The high broad ridges are now reduced to low ridges, of 8 feet each.One year before it is broken up, it is limed on the sward, at the rate of from 80 to 150 bolls an acre.The  rotation of crops is, the 2 first years oats; the 3rd, a fallow, or a horse–hoed crop of potatoes and turnips.This crop is dunged, at the rate of 60 carts an acre.The 4th year barley, and sometimes oats.It is then laid down with natural grass seeds, and clover and rye–grass, and allowed to rest from 8 to 10 years.The produce is from 6 to 10 bolls an acre.Composts of dung, earth and lime are spread on the field in the ed and 3d years after it has been laid down.Cattle, fed on the farm, clear from 20s to 30s an acre.there are now only 3 malt kilns.
Prices of Provisons
The average price of oatmeal, for these last 20 years, has been 11½d a peck; beef, per pound, 4½d; veal, 4d; lamb, 3d; pork, from 4½d to 5d; sweet milk cheese, from 5½d to 6d; skimm'd milk ditto, from 2½d to 4d; butter, 9½d; eggs, per dozen, from 4d to 6d; a hen, from 1s to 1s 4d; a duck, from 9d to 1s 1d; candles, per pound, 16 ounces, 7½d; hard soap, 8d; soft ditto, 6d; a pair of shoes, 6s.For the present prices of labour, see the table of professions, etc, pages 160 and 161.
Manner of Living, etc
It is to be observed, that, notwithstanding the very great rise of rents, and of servants wages, the farmers live much more comfortably, and make a more decent and respectable appearance, that they did 50 years ago.Their rents are more regularly and punctually paid, and there are fewer bankruptcies, or failures among them.There is, however, a still greater, and more striking difference, in the dress and manner of living of the tradesmen, than of the farmers.A good deal of English broad cloth is worn by the men; and both mistresses and servant–maids, (for in point of dress there is little difference between them), have their silk cloaks and bonnets, their muslin and calico gowns; their ribbons and flounced petticoats, with cotton and thread stockings.Tradesmen do not live nearly so much on oatmeal as they did in 1742.There is scarcely one of their families in which tea, with wheaten bread, is not used for breakfast; and very few that do not drink it in the afternoon.Farmers, tradesmen, and day–labourers, live a good deal on butcher meat, with potatoes.In 1792, upwards of 200 fatted cows were made use of, besides veal, lamb, and pork.
The leases are commonly of 19 or 21 years endurance.These short leases are a very great discouragement to the industry of the farmer, and consequently highly injurious to the interest both of the proprietor and the tenant.With such a short lease he will make no new experiments; he will not even proceed with spirit and animation, in the common beated tract of husbandry practised by his neighbours, or imposed on him by the terms of his lease.Or should he, at the commencement of it, make any uncommon exertions, he very soon becomes dispirited, if not careless and remiss.The thought of the shortness of his lease forces itself unon his mind, almost incessantly; and he is scarcely entered on possession, when he thinks he sees the end of it.He has a young increasing family of children.They are unable to assist him.He is necessarily obliged to hire servants, at very high wages.The education of his children, the board and wages of his servants, and other unavoidable expences, embarrass him to such a degree, that, with all his industry and attention, he can with the utmost difficulty pay his rent.After 12 or 14 years, his prospects begin to brighten.The oldest of his children are now of some use to him, in the cultivation of his farm.He knows, from experience, the different soils that are in his farm, and the different kinds of grain that are best adapted to these soils.In a very few years he will have it in his power to dismiss all his servants, and to work his farm  with the assistance of his children.But, amidst these flattering prospects, his lease is at an end.With his family, he must remove he knows not whither, and leave the fruits of his laborious and painful industry to another; a stranger, perhaps, or even an enemy, who has long envied him.While such is the state of leases, can the country be cultivated with spirit and effect?To accomplish this, the farmer must have something like the idea of property in his possession, or, at least, the highest degree of probability of transmitting it to his children.To render this equally advantageous to the landlord and to the tenant, the form of a lease, proposed in his book on husbandry, by the very ingenious, learned, and patriotic Lord Kames, seems to be more effectual, than any other hitherto offered to the public.
There is a very excellent breed of large, strong, handsome horses.They are brought from Lanarkshire when about a year old.The average price is £12.After being kept for 4 or 5 years, they are sold, from £25 to £40, for thedraught or carriage.
The return made to Dr Webster, in 1755,  of the population of this parish, was 2541 souls.From a late enumeration there are, in the country part of the parish, 1100, and in the town, 1260, [total] 2360, decrease 181.
These are all of the establishment, except 222 AntiburgherSeceders, a few families of Burghers, and an equally small number of the Relief persuasion.There are no Episcopalians nor Roman Catholics.From the most unquestionable tradition, it appears, that, about 50 years ago, the country parish was considerably more populous than it is now.The causes of this decrease in the population seem to be the three following.1st, the union of two or more small farms into one large farm.This has happened in not a few instances.2dly, the barony of Eglintoune, formerly one of the most populous quarters or divisions of the parish, is inclosed and farmed by Lord Eglintoune, and inhabited only by a very few families of his Lordship's servants.3dly, the almost total want of cottagers.Every farm had formerly one or two, or more of these families upon it.The cottages are now, in a great measure, demolished; and this numerous and industrious class of people has been under the necessity of removing to Irvine, and to the other towns in the neighbourhood.From the want of trade and manufactures, very few of them settled in Kilwinning.Owing to the rapid progress of manufactures, however, the population in the town has, for some years past, been on the increase.From the spirit of industry and enterprise universally spread through the country, there is every degree of probability, that these will make a still more successful and extensive progress; and that the population will proportionably increase.
 The following table exhibits a view of the present number of the different artists, their journeymen and apprentices, their rates of wages, etc.
Carters, chiefly employed in bringing coals to the town
1s to 1s 6d
Male farm servants, per annum
£10 to £12
£4 to £6
A List of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, for the last eight years; extracted from the parish register.
One manufacturer employs 9 looms, in weaving lawns, and linen gauzes, for the Irish market.There  is a tannery lately erected, which carries on a good deal of business.This last year, the company bought 400 hides.Within these 3 years, 2 houses have been ereced for spinning cotton, with common and mule jennies; also a cotton mill, on a small scale, for carding the cotton.In these 2 houses there are 12 mule jennies, and 16 common ones.The persons employed, are
Boys & Girls
Who earn from
1s 8d to 2s
10d to 1s
6d to 10d
None of the yarn is manufactured here into cloth.It is sold in Glasgow and Paisley.As long as this is the case, the cotton manufacture can never be carried on to any extent.Though a large capital be no doubt necessary, for bringing cotton goods of all kinds into the market, it is not, howver, so much the want of a capital, as of a market, that prevents the manufacturers in this place, and on the whole of this west coast, from manufacturing their own cotton yarn.The readiest, and, every thing considered, perhaps the most advantageous market for this west country, would be Ireland.But so high are the Irish duties on Scotch muslins, and on every kind of Scotch goods, in which there is so much as a single thread of cotton yarn, as amounts to a total prohibition of carrying these goods to the irish market.This gives the greatest encouragement to smuggling, and has also made several very considerable cotton manufacturers leave Glasgow, and other places in its neighbourhood, and settle in Ireland.At the same time, it is not a little surprising, that Irish linens are brought into Scotland duty free.Does this not discover and undue partiality in favour of that kingdom?It is thought, that no less than £100,000 worth of Scotch muslins, and other Scotch cotton goods, would be annually sold in the Irish market,  were it not for these excessively high duties.An object of such importance to the commercial interest of Scotland, merits the most serious attention of the British parliament.Should the Irish, upon an accurate and fair statement of the matter, refuse to lower the duties on Scotch cotton goods, it is humbly submitted, how far it would not become the wisdom and justice of the British parliament, to lay a proportionable duty on all Irish linens brought into Scotland.
Flax and Mills
From 12 to 14 hogsheads of flax seeds are sown annually.The flax is spun and manufactured for the various family uses of the inhabitants.A very small quantity of it only is made into a coarse kind of cloth, called barn, which is brought to market, and sold for shirts to the lower classes of the people.There is a flax mill, at which 137 stones of flax are dressed annually; besides a waulkor fulling mill; 4 for grinding corn, 1 for whear, and 2 for barley.
A great part of the parish is thirled to the Kilwinning mill, called the Abbey Mill, and to the Mill of Seven Acres, the property of Lord Eglintoune.Some farms pay an excessively high multure, no less than the 12th peck.This servitude is evidently a very great hindrance to improvement.It makes the millers more negligent than otherwise they would be.They know that the corns of such lands as are thirled must be brought to them, in whatever careless, or even fraudulent a manner, they may justly be suspected of having  done their duty.Small proprietors, therefore, ought certainly to purchase their thirlage, at almost any price; and proprietors of mills ought to free their own lands of this burden, and lay an additional rent on their tenants, equal to what is paid by the mill to which they are bound.Thirlage being once abolished, and farmers at liberty to go where they pleased with their corns, mills would be erected in the most convenient parts of parishes, grain of course would be better ground, and at a much lower rate, and a great deal of time and labour would be saved to the farmer.
The mosses in the parish are, the Moss Mulloch, the Auchenmodeand Auchentyber Mosses.This last moss is supposed to contain more than 200 acres.In some parts of it, it is very deep, no less than from 12 to 16 feet.It produces very good peats.When the summer is dry, these make excellent firing, and are used as such by the neighbouring farmers.But the usual and common fuel of the inhabitants is coals.In no parish, perhaps, in Scotland
, is there coal in greater plenty, or of a better quality, than in this parish.Very lately, however, the price of coals has been raised excessively high.A load of coals, 8 loads to the ton, which, 50 years ago, cost from 3d to 4d at the coal pit, is now 8d; and the probability, at present, is, that it will be advanced to a still higher price.This scarcity and dearness of coals is owing entirely to their not being wrought.Not to mention the inhumanity of such a conduct to the destitute poor, proprietors of coals certainly mistake their own interest, in suffering them to remain unwrought.An additional rise on coal, is to them, when properly considered, a very trifling object, compared with the rise of the rents of their lands; and this can be effected only by the improvements in agriculture, and the increase of trade and manufactures.But it is a fact universally  acknowledged, that few, if any, real improvements in agriculture can be made, and that trade and manufactures cannot be extended to any great and permanent degree, without cheap fuel. Influenced, then, by a sense of their own interest, let proprietors immediately work their own coals, and, at the same time, lower the price of them. This will induce farmers, manufacturers and tradesmen, to leave those places in which firing is scarce and dear, and settle in this parish.
There are at present on the poor's roll 36 persons, who receive from 2s to 5s per month.Besides these, 2 young men, fatuous, are maintained at the rate of 8s 8d a month, each.The annual amount of these pensions is £55.Distribution is also made, occasionally, to other poor sick persons, not on the pension list; and even to those pensioners, whose circumstances require additional supply, to the average sum, yearly, of £28.The following is a state of the funds.
The weekly collections, at a medium, amount to
£30 0 0
Mortcloths at funerals
6 9 0
Proclamations for marriages
1 19 0
Rents of seats in the church
3 9 0
Private charities, some years, have amounted to:
As these, however, are so liable to be withheld, they cannot be considered as making any part of a permanent fund for the support of the poor.
10 0 0
The interest of £148 at 5 per cent.
7 8 0
2 farms, the property of the poor bring at present a yearly rent of
30 2 0
£89 4 0
 There are 3 charitable societies belonging to the parish.When any of their members, from sickness or age, are unable to work, they are regularly, and even liberally supported by these societies.At present, there are only 3 beggars in the parish; but the inhabitants are greatly oppressed with beggars from other parishes, and even with several from Ireland.The number of poor has, of late years, very much increased, and is still on the increase.From the very advanced wages of the manufacturing and labouring people of every description, and from the idleness, the dissipation and profligacy of manners, the usual, and, indeed, the almost inseparable consequences of very high wages, it is next to an absolute certainty, that the poor, in a few years, will increase in a proportion hitherto unknown in Scotland.The common and ordinary funds, particularly in populous manufacturing parishes, will be unable to support them.In these parishes the poor's funds, from many very obvious causes, are, for some years past, greatly diminished.One very general and principal cause of this decrease is, that men ofrank and fortune are very irregular, and even criminally negligent, in their attendance upon divine service on the Sabbath.This conduct, however fashionable, is not only disrespectful to religion,  disgraceful to the alws of their country, and pernicious in the highest degree to the morals of the people at large, but must eventually bring, upon themselves, assessments, or poor's rates.Of all the taxes imposed on the people of England, this is one of the most oppressive, and ruinous to the prosperity and improvement of their country.In England, the poor's rates are rapidly increasing to the enormous sum of three millions Sterling yearly!An evil of such magnitude ought most anxiously to be guarded against, and, if possible, to be prevented by every class of men in Scotland, and, in particular, by the landed interest.To render this tax unnecessary, or, at all events, to lessen it, should it be found impossible to be altogether prevented, every man of property, once a year, or oftener of necessary, ought regularly to send the amount of his weekly charity to his own parish church; and to every other parish, a sum proportioned to the property he holds in that parish.
There is at present but one clergyman, the minister of the Established Church.An Antiburgher minister, ordained in 1762, died about 3 months ago.The stipend was augmented in 1786.The living is now worth £140, besides a glebe of between 4 and 5 acres, and a very excellent manse, built in 1773.The church is a very beautiful structure, built partly in the ancient Gothic taste, to correspond to the vererable ruins of the monastery.But though it be almost 20 years since it was built, it has never been seated.This has been owing to an unhappy difference of opinion among the heritors about the division of the area of the church, and which is still unsettled.The Earl of Eglintouneis patron of the parish.
The salary of the parish schoolmaster is £9 9s.This, with the school fees and other emoluments, makes the office of schoolmaster worth about £25 a year.There is a school–house, but no house for the schoolmaster.English, writing, arithmetic, and book–keeping, with the Latin, Greek, and French languages, are taught in the parish school.There are also 2 other schools in the town, and 2 in the country part of the parish, intended chiefly for teaching English and writing.The education of youth is indisputably of the very utmost importance to the religious and civil interests of society.No class of men, therefore, can be of more (if indeed of equal) consequence and utility, than parish schoolmasters.But, to the disgrace of an enlightened and liberal age, these men have been most amazingly neglected.The salaries, when originally fixed in Scotland, bore a reasonable proportion to the value of money, and to the price of labour and provisions.Even then, however, it was only by the greatest attention, and the most rigid economy, that they were enabled to live with any kind of decency, and secure that degree of respect so absolutely necessary to their usefulness.For many years after that period, parish schools were filled with men highly respectable for their exemplary lives, and for their superior parts and learning.Hence that taste for literature, that general knowledge, for which the Scotch were so deservedly celebrated, whilst the great mass of the people of the other nations of Europe were sunk in the most savage ignorance.Since that time, the mode of living is entirely changed.Every article of dress, provisions and household furniture is risen to a degree almost incredible, and a shilling, in real value, is worth little more than a penny was then.For these reasons, the salaries of the judges in Scotland, and the livings of the greater part of the clergy, have been considerably increased; but no addition whatever has been make to the  salaries of parish schoolmasters.A common tradesman, or day labourer, if sober and industrious, will earn a great deal more than the generality of schoolmasters can possibly do.Is it to be imagined, that a man having any thing like a liberal education, and, in other respects, of an unblemished character, will engage in an office, the duties of which are so extremely laborious, for the miserably narrow, scanty pittance at present annexed to it?Should trade and commerce make the same rapid and extensive progress, which of late they have done, parish schools, it is to be feared, will be filled with persons wretchedly ignorant, or of grossly indecent and immoral lives.The consequences of this, to the rising generation, are too painful to be dwelt upon.Some evils, in order to be redressed, need only to be mentioned.A sense of duty, and genuine patriotism, it is hoped, will strongly and effectually impel parents, and the friends of humanity and virtue, to unite in applying to the legislature, to make a far more decent and comfortable provision for parish schoolmasters, than is done at present.
This monastery was founded in the year 1140, by Hugh de Moreville, a very opulent and powerful baron, Lord of Cunninghame, and Lord High Constable of Scotland.It was dedicated to St. Winning.The monks were brought from Kelso.In 1560.Alexander Earl of Glencairn,  one of the most distinguished and active promoters of the Reformation, in consequence of an order from the States of Scotland, in a great measure demolished this venerable and magnificent monastery.The only entire ruins of the abbey, now remaining, are a steeple and gable.These were lately repaired, at a very considerable expence, by the present Earl of Eglintoune.
It is the remark of a historian, that from about the beginning to the middle of the 12th century, the worship  of God, in Scotland, was, in a great measure, laid aside, or could with the greatest difficulty be performed, on account of the noise of the hammers and trowels, which were employed in erecting monasteries and other religious houses.It was during this period that a number of masons came from the Continent to build this monastery, and with them an architect or master mason, to superintend and carry on the work.This architect resided at Kilwinning; and being a gude and true mason, intimately acquainted with all the parts of masonry known on the Continent, was chosen master of the meetings of the brethren all over Scotland.He gave rules for the conduct of the brethren at these meetings, and decided finally in appeals from all the other meetings or lodges in Scotland.From this time, down to the 15th century, very little of masonry can be known, with any degree of certainty; only it is said, that at Kilwinning the head meeting of the brethren was held.King James I of Scotland, eminently distinguished for his knowledge and taste in polite literature, and in the fine arts, not long after his return from England, patronized the mother lodge of Kilwinning; and presided as grand master, till he settled an annual salary, to be paid by every master mason of Scotland, to a grand master, chosen by his brethren, and approved by the crown.This grand master was to be nobly born, or a clergyman of high rank and character.He had his deputies in the different counties and towns of Scotland.Every new brother paid him a fee at entrance.As  grand master, he was empowered to regulate and determine every matter in dispute, between the founders and builders of churches and monasteries, and which it would have been improper to have decided by a court of lae. King James II conferred the office of grand master on William Sinclair, Earl of Orkney and Baron of Roslin.By another deed of the same king, this office was made hereditary in this very ancient and illustrious family.Earl William, and his successors, barons of Roslin, held their head courts, or, in the style of masonry, assembled their Grand Lodges, at Kilwinning, as being the mother lodge, or the place where regular and stated lodges had first been held in scotland.The sobriety and decency of the brethren in all their meetings, the very peculiar and distinguishing union and harmoney, in which they lived together, and their humanity and liberality to the sick and indigent, made the mother lodge highly respected in the 16th century.An uncommon spirit for masonry then discovered itself.Laws, founded on the original acts and constitution of the mother lodge, were renewed, and are still invariably adhered to.This is evident from her records still extant.
It is well known, that in former times, the bow and arrow were used in war throughout the whole of Europe.By one or more of the old acts of the Scotch parliament, the  young men in every parish were strictly commanded to practise archery, for an hour or two, every Sunday after divine service.After the invention of fire arms, archery was laid aside, as no longer useful and necessary in war.Though for this reason it was disused in most other places in Scotland, it has been practised here, as an elegant and manly amusement, almost without any interruption, to the present day. At the same time, the laws and usages of the Company, (the term used for the Society), are known, and that too very imperfectly, only be tradition, prior to the year 1488.This date is acknowledged and rendered authentic, by a minute in the records, dated September 1688.This minute is signed by a number of gentlemen of the most respectable characters.From this time, archery has been practised annually, at a certain stated time of the year, generally in the month of June.What has contrubuted, perhaps more than any thing, to its continuance, has been the monastery.This supposition is rendered highly probable, from the species of archery in use here from time immemorial.It is of two kinds.The one is a perpendicular mark, called a popingoe.The popingoe is a bird known in heraldry.It is, on this occasion, cut out in wood, fixed in the end of a pole, and placed 120 feet high, on the steeple of the monastery.The archer, who shoots down this mark, is honoured with the title of Captain of the Popingoe.He is master of the ceremonies of the succeeding year, sends cards of invitation to the ladies, gives them a ball and supper, and transmits his honours to posterity by a medal, with suitable devices, appended to a silver arrow.The prize, from 1488 to 1688, was a sash, or, as it was called, a benn.This was a piece of taffeta or Persian, of different colours, chiefly red, green white and blue, and not less in value than £20 Scotch.This honourable badge was worn by the captain, which he kept,  and produced another of equal value the following year.At the revival of archery in 1688, there was substituted a piece of plate, which continued to be given by every captain till 1723.The prize was then converted into the present silver arrow.The other kind of shooting, is for prizes at butts, point–blank distance, (about 26 yards).The prize at butts, is some useful or ornamental piece of plate, given annually to the society by the senior archer.
EglintouneCastle, the seat of the family of Eglintoune for upwards of 400 years, is in the parish.Of the men of this family, eminently remarkable for their patriotism, their loyalty, their high sense of honour, and distinguished abilities in peace and war, the two following only shall be mentioned.At the battle of Otterburn, Sir John Montgomerie, married to the heiress of Eglintoune, and niece to King Robert II, had the command of part of the Scotch army under the brave Earl of Douglas; and his personal valour and military conduct contributed not a little to the celebrated victory obtained over the English.The renowned Henry Percy, well known by the name of Hotspur, and general of the English army, Sir John Montgomerie took prisoner with his own hands, and with his ransom built the castle of Punnoon, in Renfrewshire.All the valuable improvements in gardening, planting, and agriculture, which, within these 50 years, have been made in the parish, and indeed in the greater part of the county of Ayr, are owing in a great measure to the uncommonly spirited exertions, to the very refined and correct taste, of Alexander, the late Earl of Eglintoune.By minute and accutate inquiry and observation, he made himself acquaitned with the state of English acriculture, with the truly noble and generous design of benefiting his native country.Deeply regretting the idleness,  the laziness and the poverty of the farmers, and the very ignorant and absurd manner in which they cultivated their lands, his Lordship, at a great expence, engaged and brought to his estates in the parish, and other parts of the county, men of real knowledge and experience in agriculture, who had been regularly bred to it, and who had long successfully practised it.By the conversation and example of these practical improvers, the people, roused from their former torpid state, ventured to deviate from the mode of management handed down by their forefathers; and, convinced at last, of the infinitely superior advantages of this new system of husbandry, by degrees adopted it.His Lordship also instituted an agricultural society, consisting of the most active, intelligent, and respectable, farmers.In this society he presided for several years.By communicating such observations as were the effects of his own experience, and such as he had collected in conversing with men of knowledge, his Lordship excited and diffused a keen and enterprising spirit of industry and experiment; the very happy effects of which, in the management and wealth of the country, had little more than appeared, when he died by the hands of an unprincipled and merciless assassin.His Lordship's farm of Eglintoune, with the plantations, contains about 2000 acres Scotch measure.The whole is planned and executed, with such an exquisitely fine taste, as to render the ancient seat of the family, one of the noblest and most beautiful of any in Scotland.To the patriotic exertions of this truly great man, his country chiefly owes the act of parliament, which abolished what was called the optional clause of the Scotch banks.By the above clause, the banks had it in their power, to refuse payment of their notes, for no less than six months after it had been demanded.This certainly was a very great national grievance, and had it continued, Scotland could never have made the improvements, which it  has done, in agriculture, in commerce, and in manufactures.Sincere and steady in his friendships, humane and generous, the patron of unfortunate merit, of the most polished and agreeable manners, and possessed of all the more amiable and respectable virtues, the death of the late Earl of Eglintoune will be long and painfully regretted by every good man, by every friend of humanity, and of his country.
Names of Places
Not a few of these, it is said, are originally Gaelic; such as, Auchenmade, Auchentyber, Auchenwinsie, Auchensarvie, etc.Other names are evidently English.Of these, some are descriptive of their particular situations, as Wood, Wood–side, Wood–end.Tradition says, that in these places, there was in former times a very extensive wood; but there is not the least vestige of it now remaining.Other names describe their ancient proprietors; as Smith's–town, fergus–hill–hall, etc.
Wet and Cold Summers
It is in the recollection of many still living, that the summers, in this part of the country at least, are now much more wet and cold than they were 50 years ago.By men of undoubted veracity it is asserted, as an absolute certain fact, that, at that period, the farmers, in plowing for bear, about the middle of the month of May, were under the necessity of beginning to plow so very early as at 3 o'clock in the morning, and to leave off at 8.The heat, at that hour, became so very intense, that it was impossible for them to continue their work any longer:Nor could they begin again till between 4 and in the afternoon. For a number of years past, quite the reverse has been the case.The month of May, in particular, has been very cold and wet, and unfavourable to vegetation; and, in some years, we have had very little of what may be reckoned summer weather.The harvest of course, then, was much earlier than it has since been.In several places in the neighbourhood, it is said, the harvest was finished about the latter end of August.The facts themselves are here barely stated:The physical causes of so very remarkable a change are left to be accounted for by others.
Character of the People
The people are, in general, very decent, sober, honest and industrious.Owing to the silk and muslin manufactures, several strangers, of late, have settled in the town.What effects these, in time, may have, on the morals of the people, cannot as yet be said.Though the only civil officer in the place be a constable, there are fewer riots committed, than in most other places equally populous and extensive.It is now upwards of 22 years since the present incumbent was ordained, during which time no inhabitant of the parish has been banished, or suffered a capital punishment.
These 2 houses are in the parish.In the town, the houses are all inhabited.
On the 19th of September 1790, there was a very remarkable inundation.The river rose 4 feet higher, than ever it was known to have done at any former period. This flood did great damage to the growing corns, and carried into the sea great quantities of such as were cut down.The town lies on both sides of the river; and the lower parts of it were laid almost quite under water.As this inundation happened in the night, many of the inhabitants were in the greates danger, and had just time to escape with their lives.
By way of contrast to the present improved state of the parish, it may not be improper to insert the rent, mode of cultivation, prices of provisions, etc, etc, that took place about 50 years ago.In the year 1742, the average rent of an acre was 3s.The parish was then wholly uninclosed, excepting an inclosure or two about Eglintoune Castle.The farmers plowed with 4, and sometimes with 6 horses, and 3 men.The business of the third man, it was pretended, would keep the plough steady, and prevent its starting aside, or going out of the straight line.The ridges were excessively broad, and raised very high in the middle.Nearly two thirds of every ridge were left, in a great measure, without any of the soil, and even the very little that remained being, during the winter, almost covered with water, was soured, and consequently in a state that produced very little, either of grass or grain.Every farm was considered as divided into outfield and infield, or, as this last was called, the croft.The infield, or the croft, was in proportion to the size of the farm, from 6 to 16 acres.It was kept constantly in tillage.The course of crops was, 1st, bear; 2nd, pease and beans; 3d, oats; then dunged for bear.The outfield was never manured.It was divided into two parts, cropt with oats 2 years, and pastured 2.This was the general practice.There were some who cropt it 2 years, and pastured 3. Produce from 1½ to 2 county bolls.This produce did little more, (if so much), than to defray the expences of seed and labour.There was no sown grass; consequently no hay, except in some few farms, a little coarse meadow hay.From this slovenly and absurd mode of management, the pasture was extremely scanty, and of a very poor quality.There were no carts.The produce of the farm was brought to market in sacks on horseback.The dung was carried to the croft in small creels on horseback, or in sledges.Though the soil was wet, and entirely without any shelter, every farm kept a certain number of sheep.The number varied according to the extent of the farm.They were constantly housed at night.The wool they produced was coarse, and in very small quantities.There were very few milk cows.From their ignorance of a dairy, the profits the farmers made of the few cows they kept, were extremely inconsiderable.Skimm'd milk cheese was the only kind they knew how to make.The little sweet milk cheese which was then used, was imported from Ireland.Lime was very little known, and still less used as a manure.There were no potatoes planted, except perhaps a very few in a garden, or in the corner of a field.
From the very imperfect state of agriculture in 1742, and for several years afterwards, the price of oatmeal was variable and uncertain.It was sometimes as high as 18d a peck, and again so very low as 5d a peck.The prices of butter, and other provisions, per lb (24 English ounces to the lb), were butter, 3d; beef, from 1¼d to 1¾d; veal, 2d; lamb, 1½d; mutton, 1½; skimm'd milk cheese, 1¼d; candles, 16 ounce to the lb, 4d; hard soap, 4d; soft ditto, 3d; eggs, a dozen, 1d; a hen, from 3d to 4d; a duck, 4d; a pair of shoes, from 2s to 2s 6d; a load of coals, (8 loads to the ton), 6d; bear, per boll, (8 Winchester bushels per boll), from 9s to 10s; malt ditto, from 10s to 13s 4d.The wages of a male farm servant were from 35s to 40s per annum; of a female ditto, from 26s to 30s.Domestic female servants had the same wages.There were no domestic male servants, except such as were in livery.The wages of a day labourer were 3½d or 4d with his maintenance; and 8d without it.
In 1742, the men wore strong coarse cloth; the greater part, of not the whole, of which was spun in their own families, and woven and dressed in the parish.Knit woollen stockings were then only beginning to be used by a few of the men.Plaiding hose were still the general wear.There were no hats; bonnets were universally in use.The wives of some of the more wealthy and substantial farmers, and tradesmen, had silk plaids; but by far the greater part of the married women, red or striped worsted ones.Young women wore woollen cloaks, with hoods of the same kind of cloth.This cloth was of home manufacture.They had no buckles in their shoes; these were tied with a piece of red or blue tape.The women in general, and particularly the younger part of them, seldom put on shoes and stockings, excepting to the church, or to a fair or market.Their head–dress was extremely plain and simple.They lived chiefly on oatmeal and milk, or butter and skimmed milk cheese.Butcher meat  was seldom used by the farmers, except in seed–time and harvest; and very little of it, at any time, by tradesmen and day labourers.About the beginning of November, a few small Highland cows were brought from the islands of Arran Bute, and sold at from 13s 4d to 20s.One of these was divided among three or more families.Such farmers as were reckoned in very opulent circumstances, sometimes killed a cow in November, which had given milk till the beginning of August.There were only 4 tea kettles in the parish in 1742.There was not one in it before 1709.
As this book is not in the hands of a great many, and as it is read, perhaps, but by few, his Lordship's form of a lease is here copied.“In order to excite the industry of the tenant, at the the end of the lease, he shall be entitled to a renewal of it, upon paying the proprietor a fifth part more of rent, unless the proprietor give him ten years purchase of that fifth part.For example, the rent is £100; the tenant offers £120.He shall therefore continue in the possession another 19 years, at the advanced rent, unless the landlord pay him £200.Should the tenant offer a still higher additional rent, the proprietor cannot turn him out, unless he pay him ten years purchase of that offer.”
Women, and girls from 7 years old, are employed in tambouring muslins.The other flower muslins with the needle.The gauzes and muslins are sent here, for that purpose, by the manufacturers of Glasgow and Paisley.
[Seamstresses share the preceding footnote with tambourers.]
There are none in the country parish.Those in the town are by far too many for the number of inhabitants, and are but too often nurseries of idleness and vice.Whisky is what they chiefly drink.From its cheapness, the dissipated and profligate indulge themselves in it to excess, to the hurt, and frequently the ruin of their families.Were government to raise the duties on whisky, and lower them on ale, this, in all probability, would increase the revenue, and tend most effectually to promote the industry, the health, and the morals of the people.
During the last war there were in the navy 13, and in the army 5, from this parish.
[Soldiers share the preceding footnote with seamen.]
Fifty years ago there were no barley mills.Instead of these, almost every family had a pretty large stone, called a morter stone. This stone was hollowed by a mason to what was reckoned a proper depth.Into it was put as much bear or barley as could be easily wrought.A little water was thrown upon it, to make it part with the husks.It was then beat with a large wooden mill, or mallet, till it was fit to be used for making broth.
One of these farms, called the Woodgreen, is supposed to contain upwards  of 80 acres, all arable, of an excellent improveable soil, and lying within a quarter of a mile of the town.Were it out of lease, it would bring, at least, a yearly rent of £80 to the poor.In 1743, the immediate predecessor of the present incumbent let it for the very long period of 76 years, at the extremely low rent of £12.The tenant also pays 2 bolls and 6 pecks of meal yearly to the parish minister, and the half of the cess and schoolmaster's salary.This very extraordinary length of a lease was thought, by many, to be beyond the powers of the minister and session to grant.By the advice of a lawyer, of the very first character for professional knowledge and abilities, the present incumbent, with the concurrence of the session and principal heritors, commenced a process of reduction before the Court of Session.The Court, however, gave a definitive sentence against the poor, and in favour of the tenant.
They were called Tyronenses, from Tyron, in the diocese chartres [sic].There, Rotrous, Earl of Percheand Mortagne, gave a settlement to St. Bernard, their first abbot.They followed the rule of St. Benedict, or Bennet, but reformed and enlarged by St. Bernard.King Robert I gave to this monastery the lands of Hallandjunta burgum de Irvine; as also vigintisolidoe, quoeannuatha de terra sum de Kilmerncokberedibus de Balioleredderesolchant.Johannes de Meneteeth Dominus de Arran et de Knapdale, grants to the monks of this abbey jus  patrenatus et advocationisecclesiarum Sancta Maria, et Sancta Brigeda, insule de Arran, cum suiscapellis et terris.The charter is given at Kilwinning, the 12th of October 1357.In the reign of Robert III, Sir William Cunninghame of Kilmares, “for the health of his own soul, and for the souls of his ancestors, gave, in pure alms, to the monks of this abbey, the lands of Grange.”In 1538, died James Bethune, Archbishop of Glasgow, and Commendator of Kilwinning.He was succeeded, as Abbot of Kilwinning, by Gavin Hamilton, the last Popish abbot of this place.Abbot Hamilton was a firm and zealous friend of the Queen Regent, and of her beautiful but unfortunate daughter, Queen Mary; and was employed by them in several very important negotiations.He was killed in the Canongate of Edinburgh, June 28th, 1571.In the year 1552, he made Hugh, Earl of Eglintoune, justiciary, chamberlain, and bailie of Kilwinning, and gave him a considerable salary for discharging these offices.This grant was confirmed by the Queen (See public records, 21st book, chart. 75).
The above Earl of Glencairnobtained a grant of the abbey, and made his son Alexander commendator of it.To him succeeded William Melville, of the family of Raith.On his resignation, January 5th 1603, Hugh Earl of Eglintoune got a new grant of the abbey, with all the lands, and titles, and patronage of the churches at that time belonging to it, erected into a temporal lordship.At the Reformation, the revenue of the monastery, exclusive of the property lands, amounted to £840 3s 4d Scotch, 8 bolls of wheat, 14 chalders 1 boll and 15 pecks of bear, 67 chalders of oatmeal, 13 stirks, 140 capons, 100 hens, 268 cheeses, and 9 fathom of a peat stack.According to the traditionary account of the entire revenue of the monastery, it is asserted, that its present  annual amount would be at least £20,000 Sterling!This supposition seems to be pretty well founded, from the following number of churches, which are known to have held of it: Kilwinning, Irvine, Kilmarnock, Loudon, or New Mills, Ardrossan, Kilbirney, Kilbride, Beith, Dunlop, Dreghorn, Dalry, Stevenstown, and Stewartown, (all these churches are in Cunninghame); Kilmaronock and Dumbarton, in Dumbartonshire; South and North Knapdale, in the shire of Argyll; and Kilmory and Kilbride, in the island of Arran.
Their records contain a succession of grand masters, charters of erection to other lodges, as daughters of the mother lodge, etc.The Earls of Eglintoune have successively patronized this lodge.Some years ago, the present Earl made a donation to the fraternity of a piece of ground, for building a new and very elegant lodge; and, with many other gentlemen, anxious to preserve the rights of the very ancient and venerable mother lodge, liberally contributed to its erection.There is a common seal, expressive of the antiquity of the mother lodge, and of the emblems of the ancient art of masonry, and by which charters, and all other public deeds of the society, are ratified.