‹‹‹ prev (351)

(353) next ›››

AYR, &c.
centre of the square, enclosed with rails, and the sur-
rounding houses are inhabited by the genteeler families
of the place. In the centre is a fine statue, in bronze,
by Messrs. Noble & Gordon, to the memory of the late
Brigadier-General J. G. S. Neill, c.b. and aide-de-camp
to the Queen, who was killed at Lucknow on the 25th
of September, 18S7, and who was born in one of the
houses in Wellington-square. A large gun, captured
at Sevastopol, is placed on an iron carriage at the up-
per end of the square. In the County-buildings are the
public Offices, in which are kept the records of the
town ; and here are held the borough sessions and the
courts for the county and burgh. The county gaol is a
commodious structure, at the back of the County-
buildings, its front looking upon the bay: is is arranged
opon the most modern approved system of discipline-
about one hundred female convicts are at present kept
here. Considerable additions to the town; especially
to the westward, have been built within the last few
vears. A great many neat villas now give accommoda-
tion to the natives of Glasgow and other inland locali-
ties, who repair to this fine watering place during the
summer mouths.
An extensive trade is carried on in the export of coal
from this place to Ireland. Mines of this article, as well
as fine auarries of stone, abound in the neighbourhood.
The other principal exports consist of iron, coal-tar,
casks, lampblack, and water of Ayr stone. Its imports
comprise hides, tallow, barley, yarn, linen, spars, deals
and hemp. The convenience for shipping is superior
to most of the towns on the coast, as the ha>bour has
been much improved by carrying an extensive stone
pier into the sea, affording a greater depth of water for
vessels entering, and security when in the harbour.
The civil government of Ayr is vested in a provost,
two baillies, a dean of guild, a treasurer, and twelve
councillors. Ayr is connected with the burgh of Irvine,
in this county, and Campbeltown, Inveraray and Oban,
in Argyleshire, in returning a member to parliament —
the present representative is E. H. J. Craufurd, Esq.,
Jun., of Auchenames. The county constituency num-
bers 3,865 ; that of the burghs, 1,039. The lord-liev>
teuant of the couuty is the Earl of Eglinton, and John
Christison, Esq. is sheriff. The present couuty mem-
ber is Lord James Stuart.
An academy, founded by subscription hi 1798, stands
foremost among the public establishments. It is con-
ducted bv a rector and rive masters, with able assistants :
the superintendence of the whole is vested in certain
directors appointed by the Crown, by which the semi-
nary was created a body corporate. The Latin, Greek,
English. French, and Italian languages, writing, arith-
metic, drawing, geography, navigation, mathematics,
&c. are taught in this institution. Ayr library, which
contains several thousand volumes, afford? recreation
to its numerous subscribers. A mechanics' institution,
formed in 1825, is now in a flourishing state; it has a
library attached, containing more than two thousand
volumes. There are other libraries of lesser note, and
public reading-rooms in the town's buildings. Three
newspapers are published in Ayr weekly, namely, the
Observer, on Tuesday; the Advertiser, on Thursday,
and the Express, on Saturday. Races are held here
annually in the autumn ; an excellent pack of harriers
hunt in the county ; and in the town are sit ■ ted curl-
ing and bowling clubs. A small but neat theatre occa-
sionally opens, to gratify the admirers of dramatic
The are two churches of the Establishment in the
town, one in the parish of Newton, one in Wallace-
town, and another at Prestwick. The other places of
worship in Ayr and its vicinity are for the Free Church,
the United Presbyterians, the Episcopalians, Congre-
gationalists, Reformed Presbyterians, Methodists, Mo-
ravians, and Roman Catholics. The charitable institu-
tions are numerous and liberally conducted : the poor
are assisted from funds arising from lands and donations,
and a dispensary gives medicine and surgical aid to the
sick. Besides these, there are a sailors' society, insti-
tuted in 1581 : a merchants' society,established in 1655 ;
a fund, formed in 1821, for decayed members, their
widows and orphans; the Ayr Sabbath School Union
Society, and the Ayr Universal Society.
The Scottish bard, Robert Burns, whose 100th anni-
versary was so universally celebrated throughout the
civilized world on the 25th of January, 1859, was born
about two miles south of Ayr, in a small cottage, now
converted into a public-house ; about a quarter of a mile
from the house a very elegant monument has been erec-
ted to his memory ; it is placed on the banks of the river
Doon, amidst pbj.crs and scenery which had often in-
spired his muse. The locality of Tarn o' S banter lies
in the immediate neighbourhood of the cottage. An
elegant and commodious new parish church has been
elected close to the monument, of which the Rev. John
Liochead has recently been ordained pastor. The Che-
valier Ramsay, author of Cyrus' Travels, &c. was a
native of the town.
There are two weekly market* — Tuesday, for grain,
cattle, and dairv produce, and Friday, for the sale of
dairy produce, poultry, and general business. Fairs
are held on the 1 hu-rsday and Friday before the second
Wednesday in January : on the first Tuesday in April,
for black cattle, &c. ; the last Friday in April; the
Thursday aird Friday before the second Monday in July,
aud on the second Thursday and Friday in October.
Newton parish is divided from that of Ayr by the
river, over which there is a handsome bridge of modern
erection. Weaving is carried o-n here, for the Glasgow
manufacturers, to a consideiabl'e extent : here are also
two iron foundries, and the shipbuilding yard of
Messrs. A. & O. Fullarton. The coals from the Avr
colliery are shipped on this side hat hour ; the colliery
is in the parish of St. Quivox, and, from the employ-
ment it (uiuishes to the industrious class, is uf materiai
importance to the neighbourhood.
Saint Quivox, a populous parish in the district of
Kyle, lies on the banks of the Ayr river, and is bounded
on the east by Torbolion, and on the west by Newton
of Ayr and Monkton. The parish is nearly all arable,
is finely enclosed, and beautified by plantations.
Wallacetown consists of a number of streets ad-
joining w> Newton, and is in the parish of St. Quivox.
A church of the Establishment was erected in Wallace-
town in 1834, and opened on the 8th of March, 1836;
it is a very handsome edifice, of the Gothic order; the
site is well chosen, being in a populous neighbourhood,
on the north-east hank of the river Ayr : it was built
by subscription, at an expense of nearly £1,500. and has
sittings for upwards ot eight hundred pei sons. Nearly
adjoining this church is a Roman Catholic chapel,
erected in 1826-7, at a cost of about £2,000. ; it is a
chaste structure, in the Gothic style, fronted with free-
stone. In Wallacetown are also chapels belonging to
the United Presbyterians, Reformed Presbyterians, and
Congi egationalists.
Monkton, a parish in the district of Kyle, lies on
the sea coast, betwixt Symington and Dundon'ald on
the north, and Newton and Saint Quivox on the south.
The parish formerly extended southward to the river
Ayr, and comprehended the present parish of Newton,
which was erected into a separate parochial district iu
the last century; i' now includes the ancient and abro-
gated parish of Pre-twtck. The village of Monkton is
situated on the high road to Glasgow, and distant four
miles from Ayr. There is a station of the Glasgow
and South- Western Railway about a quarter of a mile
fiom the village.
The small town (or rather village) of Prestwick,
or Preslevick, is one mile and a half from Ayr. It was
at one period a place of some consequence, having
been created a burgh of barony at an early date ; and
its charter, which was tenewed by James VI. in 1600,
granted to it a weekly market and an annual fair. The
former ha- fallen into disuse, from the proximity of its
more thriving neighbour, Ayr. The market cross,
which is of considerable antiquity, still exists; and it
has its gaol and council house. In the latter the bailies
and freemen meet quarterly, to regulate the affairs of
the burgh ; and the Prince of Wales is recognised as
the superior of the town. There has been erected here
a handsome church, for the accommodation of the
combined inhabitants of Monkton and Piestwick. A
few years a golf club was formed here, and it has now
about one hundred members, comprising some of the
beat players in Scotland and England.

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence