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 117–121.]

But the Rev. Mr Alexander Moody.


Riccartoun is evidently a corruption of Richardtoun.  It is generally supposed to have been so called from a Sir Richard Wallace who lived in the vicinity of the village, and who is said to have been uncle to the celebrated patriot, Sir William Wallace.  Of his house no vestige now remains: the place, however, where it stood, is well known.

Extent, Soil, and Rivers

The parish is 6 miles long, and on an average 2 miles broad.  The village of Riccartoun is within an English mile of the market place of Kilmarnock; and divided from the suburbs of the town by Irvine water.  The soil of the parish, is, in general, a deep clay.  The lands are all arable and well inclosed, excepting a moss which may contain about 250 acres.

Irvine water, which runs through the parish, has its source in the parish of Lowdon.  There is also another small river, called [118] the water of Cessnock, which runs through part of the parish, and, in one place, forms the boundary betwixt it and Galston.  Irvine–water produces excellent trouts.  Sometimes salmon are catched in in.

There is nothing peculiar in the climate of this parish.  It is subject, along with the other parishes on the west coast of Scotland, to frequent falls of rain.  The weater is thus, at times, very variable; the inhabitants, nevertheless, enjoy a good state of health: nor are there any diseases peculiar to the parish.  Although there be not many instances of people arriving at a very great age, yet not a few reach their 60th and 70th year.


When the returns were made to Dr Webster, the number of inhabitants in the parish amounted to 745: they are now increased to 1000.  The increase has taken place in the village.  There has been no register of burials kept in the parish for many years past: the annual average of births for 5 years preceding 1792, was 38; and of marriages, 12. [1]


The valued rent is £4000 Scotch.  The real rent will amount to hpwards of £4000 sterling per annum.  Farms let from 15s to 30s per acre, and contain from 60 to 150 acres each.  There are 8 large proprietors of lands in the parish, with a few smaller ones.  Of the greater proprietors, 3 either constantly or occasionally, reside in the parish.


Ecclesiastical State, Poor, and School

There are very few Seceders, and no Roman Catholics in the parish.  Before the year 1648, there was only one minister for the parishes of Riccartoun and Craigie.  A disjunction of the parishes was then made, and a minister settled in each.  The church of Riccartoun was almost wholly rebuilt in the year 1772, and is in tolerably good repair.  The manse was lately rebuilt.  The patron of the parish is Sir William Cunningham of Caprington, Bart.  The stipend is 5 chalders of victual, meal and bear, £340 Scotch in money, with a glebe containing 8 acres of arable land.

The poor in this parish are, at present, but slenderly supported.  Almost the only fund for maintaining them arises from the voluntary contributions of the people at church.  A considerable sum of money which belonged to them was, some years ago, lost by the failure of a mercantile company.  The number of poor is fortunately not great.  There are only at present upon the roll 15 persons, none of whom are permitted to beg.  About £24 may be yearly collected.

The school here is very well attended.  The people are, in general, desirous to give their children all the education which their circumstances will permit.  The encouragement however, is not great, the salary being only 100 merks.  The wages are for teaching English 1s 6d, for writing, 2s, and for arithmetic, 2s 6d per quarter.


The principal crops raised in the parish are oats and bear: the farmers find from experience that the soil is much more favourable for producing oats.  Till within these few years little or no wheat was sown in the parish; a considerable number of acres are now, however, sown yearly with wheat, which, when the ground is well prepared, succeeds very well.  The useful practice of summer–fallowing is much more [120] common than it was some years ago.  Pease and beans are also sown, and sometimes prove a very profitable crop.

Miscellaneous Observations

At the village there is a mount of considerable bulk, the greater part of which appears to be artificial.  On this, as on many others of the same kind, our ancestors met for distributing justice.  The people are in general sober and industrious.  The tradesmen in the parish are, with a few exceptions, either shoemakers or weavers.  This district enjoys many natural advantages.  Limestone is found in great quantities.  The parish is also well supplied with coal at a reasonable price.  The coal belonging to Sir William Cunningham of Caprington, is justly esteemed the best in Ayrshire.  Great quantities of blind–coal have of late been raised in the parish; carried by land to Irvine, and thence exported to Ireland.  It was proposed, some years ago, to dig a canal from Riccartoun bridge to join the sea at the Troon; and it is to be wished that this scheme could be revived and carried into execution, as the benefits which would arise from it, particularly to the proprietors of coal, would be very great.


[1]           Men servants wages are from £6 to £9 per annum.  Women servants wages from £3 to £4.  Day labourers receive 14d in summer, and 1s in winter, without their mear.  Taylors now receive 9d a day, with their victuals, which is more than double what they got about 20 years ago.  Carpenters and masons have usually 20d a day.





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