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_. HIS is a populous maritime county, on the western coast of the lowlands; stretching upwards of seventy miles along the shore of tha
Frith of Clyde, from Kelly-burn on the north, to Galloway-burn, which enters Loch Ryan, on the south ; its middle part, which is the
broadest, extends about twenty miles across. It is bounded on the north and north-east by the small county of Renfrew, on the east by
the counties of Lanark and Dumfries, on the south-east by the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and on the south by Wigtonshire. In figure
the county resembles an elongated crescent, with its concavity presented to the sea. At the north and soutli ends the land is diminished
almost to a point, being but a few miles in breadth. The superticial extent of the county comprises about 1,050 square miles of land, and
six lakes. It is divided into three principal or g'-and districts — Carrick, Cunningham, and Kyle. The first lies on the southern side of
the Boon ; the second comprehends the whole of the county north of the river Ii'vine, and Kyle division is situate between the rivers
Doou and Irvine.
Early History. — This county was anciently inhabited by the British tribe called the Davinii^ a branch of the Celtic nation, who
sxu'vived the period of the Roman yoke, and weie, in the course of time, over-run by and amalgamated with the Scoto-Irish from Kintyi'e.
In 750 these again were partly conquered by a body of Northumbrians, who settled in Kyle. From 843 to 1097, the inhabitants of Ayrshire
were governed as a Celtic people, on Celtic principles. Upon the accession of Edgar, "in 1097, the jurisprudence of the county became
changed, and an active colonization commenced, which peopled every district with new comers from England. Barons now sprung up,
who built castles and churches, and towns arose, which became inhabited by persons engaged in trade. Ayrshire was the scene of
perpetual tm-moil during the wars of Bruce and Edward. The son of the first Bruce marrying the Countess of Carrick, became Earl
Cairick in her right; and it was their son who, on the expulsion of BaUol, formed pretensions to the throne, which he obtained by his
courage, fortitude, and prudence ; thus Ayrshire possessed the honour of giving birth to the illustrious restorer of the Scottish monarchy.
Some of .the valorous exploits of Wallace, in supporting the national independence, were performedin this county. Scarcely any division
of Scotland remained so long under the torments of the baronial system as Ayrshire. For centuries the chiefs were perpetually engaged
in feuds and rebellious, and so weak or inefficient were the laws that it was seldom redress or punishment followed outrage. The Boyds,
the Dalrymples, the Campbells, the Colvilles, and the houses of Eglinton and Glencairn, had their respective quarrels of long standing,
which occasionally ended in reckless violence or sanguinary slaughter. A great proportion of these disturbances arose from contests
regarding heritable jurisdictions, such as stewardships and bailUewicks of certain districts. Besides the feuds of these pugnatious
barons, the countiy was frequently distracteci by the pride or crimes of the Kennedys. So late as the reign of James VI. this powerful
clan was involved in a feud of more than ordinary importance, which originated in the cruel treatment of AUan Stewart, the commendator
of Crossraguell, in 1570, by the Earl of Cassillis, and his brother, Thomas Kennedy, of Culzean. The vexations which the people of this
county so long suffered by such an ill-organized system seem to have impressed them with a fervid desire for those political liberties
which they believed were to accrue from the institution of the Covenant. The consequence was that, during the heats of the seventeenth
century, few took so active a share in the insurrections which were oj)posed to royal authority. A committee of the privy council sat at
Ayr in 1673, for directing the military execution to its proper objects. In July, 1680, a conflict occm-red, wherein several insurgents were
taken, and the rebellion on tliis occasion quelled. Proceedings of this bai-assing character induced a ready accession to the government
of William III., and the conduct of the people who went armed to Edinburgh, to wait upon the Estates, was very magnanimous. It need
hardly be mentioned the turmoils which had fi'om a very early period kept Ayrshii'e in warlike attitude, and ever ready for tidings of
disaster and spohation, had the natural effect of keeping its agricultural capacities long shut up, and its energies of a useful tendency
long unti'ied.
Soil, Surface, &c. — The most fertile part of the shii-e is the great vale of Cunningham, which is comparatively level; Kyle
possesses much valuable land towards the coast, but its interior lies high, and is a rough mountainous territory; Carrick is a hihy wild
rogion throughout, and is only of value or interest in its northern angle, betwixt the rivers Doou and Girvau. In a general sense, the
whole district of Ayrshire is shut out, on its eastern boundary, from the adjacent counties, by high ridgy land; and, with little variation,
the surface inclines either to the sea or to the rivers which flow in that direction. The sea coast is mostly sandy, and indented
with several excellent harbours. Abundance of seaweed is thrown on the shore, from which great quantities of kelp are annually
made ; and the coasts are admirably adapted for white fishing. In the rocks are several remai'kable caves, worthy the inspection of
the curious. The principal eminences are, Knock-Dolton, 930; Kuock-lsounau, i,540; Carleton, 1,554; Kuock-Dow, 1,554; Cairntable,
1,660; and Knock-DoUian, 2,000 feet above the level of the sea. There are many elegant seats belonging to the nobility and gentry
of the kingdom; among the principal owners are the Earl of Glasgow, the Earl of Eglinton, the Marquis of Ailsa, Lord Lieutenant
of the county, the Duke of Portland, the Marquis of Bute, and the noble family of Hastings. To the south of Irvine stands the
ancient castle of Dundonald, once a royal residence, and afterwards the family seat of the Cochranes, Earls of Dundonald. The
ancient castle of Rowallan is a few miles distant from KUmamock, and stands almost on the boundary line which separates the
parishes of Kilmarnock, Fenwick, and Kilmaurs. Dean Castle, the former residence of the Kilmarnock family, is still an interesting
Produce, Manufactures, Minerals, &c.— It was not until aboiit the middle of the eigliteenth century that the inhabitants of Ayr-
shire began to discover and avail themselves of its capabilities as an agricultural district. The settlement, at this period, of Margaret,
Countess of Loudoun, in Lorn Castle, may be deemed the epoch of efficient improvement; by her great assiduity, precept and example,
agriculture was promoted and encouraged; and in a short time the nobility and gentry of Ayrshu-e began in earnest to improve their
estates upon systematic principles, under the skilful directions of intelligent stewards. Farmers were invited by them from more
southern shires to instruct the tenantry in the management of land according to the most approved methods of the experienced agri-
• culturist. Observing the pecuharities of the climate, and ascertaining the nature of the soil, the judicious culture of the various species
of grasses became a primary object, and the general adoption of dairy farms was the natural consequence ; this system has been per-
severed in, and the dairies in this district are superior, perhaps, to any others in Scotland: the value of their profluce in milk and butter
is very considerable, and "Dunlop" cheese is unrivalled throughout the country, finding a ready market wheresoever offered, and Ajt-
Bhire may now be reckoned as the Chcsliire of Scotland. Latterly, under the auspices of the County Agricultural Association, and
many individual proprietors, of whom the late Mr. Campbell, of Craigie, was one of the foremost, the Cheddar method has been very
generally introduced, and with very great success ; so that Cheddar cheese is one of the staple productions of the county. The breed of
cattle has likewise been much improved ; the Ayrshire short-horns being much prized both for the purposes of the dairy and the butcher.
As agriculture thus successfully progressed, excellent roads were formed, and these have recently been followed up by railways for the
transmission of goods and persons; a line has been formed as far as Girvan. which it is expected will be carried on to Stranraer. From
the fostered spirit of industry, and the enhanced value of land, resulted in a corresponding exertion for the establishment of manufac-
tures ; the abundance of fuel, the plenty and cheapness of the uecessaries of life, materials for building, and means of transit to the large
towns in the adjacent shires, presented facilities for this purpose which were obvious and encouraging. The manufactui-e of stockings,
carpets, cloths, and bonnets extended generally, but Kilmarnock became the most noted. At tlie capital of the county have been estab-
lished dyeworks, woollen manufactories, iron foundries, extensive and numerous steam-engine manufactories and chemical works; at
Catrine, well-known and extensive cotton works; at Cumnock is an extensive pottery; at Irvine, a large brick ami drain tile manufac-
tory, likewise a chain, cable, and anchor worlis, and Muirkirk is noted for its ponderous iron works. During the thirty years between
1841 and 1871, the population of this county has increased upwards of 36,000. This large addition to the population is in a great measure
owing to the prosperous manufactujing state of the county. Ayrshire possesses inexhaustible coalfields, freestone quan-ies, and iron-
stone mines, with sr-vcral rich ores, particularly those of lead and copper; Marble, gypsum, and marl have been found, and black lead
has been discovered ; .ire-proof stoue and whetstone are obtained, and petrefactions exist in various parts of the county. In the hills of
Carrick are agates, p'ii.hyries, and other valuable fossils; and traces of antimony have not escaped the searching eye of the mineralogist
Rivers, Lakes, K.rriiNGs and R.ulways.— Iu the ridge of the hills which intersect the district of Carrick, almost all the rivers in the
south originate. Tlic Tweeed, the Esk, the Nith, the Annan, the Urr, and others flow to the east and south; while the Strinchar, the
Girvan, the Doon, thij Ayr, and the Lugar, traverse the county, and pom- their fruitful streams into the Irish Channel. Besides these, the
Ii-vine, and some smaller rivers, water the northern parts of Ayrshire. All these abound with salmon, trout, and other fresh water lish.
In the midst of t;o m.iuy minerals, a number of springs impregnated by their quahties are to be expected; and indeed almost every
parish has its mmer;U water, though none have attained the dignity of spas. There are various inland lakes, particularly iu Carrick—
the most extensive being Loch Doon, from whence the Doon river flows. Ayrshire participates extensively in the conveniences aflbrded
to commerce and general transit by railways, and there are several important hnes and br;inches now iu operation, and others progress-
ing. The Glasgow and South-Western gives communication between the Korth and Greenock, Glasgow and Paisley, and as it passes
through the c-unty, with all parts south— Kilmaruock, Ecith, Kilwinning, Dahw, lulbirnie, Stevenston, Saltcoats, Ardrossan, Irvine, Ayi',
Maybole, Girvan, and Dalmelling-ton, are all stations either on the main line, or are communicated with by means of branches. There
are also other br^ches, viz.:— h-om Kilmarnock to Kilwinning, from Ayr to Kilmarnock, via Troon, from Kilmarnock to Newmilnes,
and from Ayr to Mauchline. together with others of minor importanc
Ecclesiastical and Civil Divisions, Population,&c.— The whole of Ayrshii*e was formerly comprehended in the bishopric of Glasgow
?°.?;/-t!?t^^ «^^l?^f^^^^^^-^^^V^°o*!i^°"'^i°LY^^^^^ divisions before mentioned. The county now comprises forty-six parishet,-,
^^ «,.r,^ .^ „,.,^^ .„ + „ o, „j „* * J, ^1 rpj^g Contributory burghs (or those which, in conjunction with others,
.yi' and Irvine ; thi*ee members also represent the shire at large. The
lam Finnic, Esq. and the Honourable R. Montgomerie, and for the
prises an area of 722,229 statute acres and by the government returns
171, 200,809.
1-1 359
lorming two presbyteries in the Synod of Ayr and Glasgow. The Contributory burghs (or those which, in conjunction with others
are represented in the Senate) belonging to this county are Ayi- and Irvine; thi-ee members also represent the shire at large. The
present county members are, for tlie Northern division, William Finnic, Esq. and the Honourable K. Montgomerie, and for the
?° ,™'^ diyisioE, Colonel Alexander. The whole county comprises an area of 723,239 statute acres and by the government returns
for 1861 contained a population of 198,971, and by those for 1871, 200,809.

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