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East Ayrshire One Place Study

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Location: Ayrshire, Scotland, United Kingdommap
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East Ayrshire One Place Study

This profile is part of the East Ayrshire One Place Study.
{{OnePlaceStudy|place=East Ayrshire Scotland|category=East Ayrshire One Place Study}}


East Ayrshire, Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Air an Ear) [1][2][3][4][5]


Continent: Europe
Sovereign State: United Kingdom
Country: Scotland
County: Ayrshire
GPS Coordinates: 55.5, -4.3
Elevation: 165.0 m or 541.3 feet
Area: 487 Square Miles


The 487 square miles of East Ayrshire consists mostly of rolling flat ground with some major elevation changes to over 2,000 feet above sea level at Black Craig (2298 feet), and Black Lorg (2231 feet).

The East Ayrshire is home to some unusual and special geology. The rocks are some of the oldest in Scotland and are evidence of a great sea which existed around 500 million years ago. Rare gemstones and fossils can be found. Look out for pillow lava formations, formed when there were still active volcanoes in the area.


June 2019: 121,840 Residents.


There have been many area boundaries set for Ayrshire through the centuries but the latest was formulated in 1996 whereby the geographical areas of Ayrshire County were established as South, North, and East areas. Each area was to be administered by a council established in each of the three. This OPS will focus on East Ayrshire, with two other OPS for South Ayrshire and North Ayrshire under separate OPS profiles.

East Ayrshire is governed by a single council as is both North and South Ayrshire's. In 2017 East Ayrshire had 9 Wards with a total of 32 members representing Annick, Kilmarnock North, Kilmarnock West & Crosshouse, Kilmarnock East & Hurlford, Kilmarnock South, Irvine Valley, Ballochmyle, Cumnock & New Cumnock, and Doon Valley. From these Wards, multiple parties co-exist to represent all residents and businesses within the East Ayrshire Council, those being Scottish National Party (SNP), Labour, Conservatives, Independents, and The Rubbish Party. Council Headquarters are located in Coucil HQ, London Road, Kilmarnock.


Remains such as the Dragon stone in Darvel and cup and ring markings near the Ballochmyle viaduct in Mauchline are evidence of early occupation of East Ayrshire, but the first permanent settlements probably date from the expansion of Christianity after St Ninian established his church at Whithorn near the Solway Coast in 397.

William Wallace had many connections with the local area. These include his family's castle at Riccarton (Kilmarnock) and his ambush of an English convoy at Loudoun Hill in 1297. Legends also associate him with local sites such as Lockhart's Tower, Galston, which was largely rebuilt later in the middle ages and is now referred to as Barr Castle, from where he is said to have made a daring escape. He gathered men at Mauchline Muir before the ambush at Loudoun Hill. Robert I (the Bruce) was also active in the area, and in 1307 won a battle against Edward I's forces at Loudoun Hill.


There are seven towns in East Ayrshire, those being (Old) Cumnock, Dalmellington, Darvel, Kilmarnock, Mauchline, New Cumnock, and Stewarton.

1. (Old) Cumnock, Scottish Gaelic: Cumnag

Population: Approximately 9,000 Plus


A Victorian style small Burgh town which lies in the confluence of Lugar Water and Glaisnock Water. This was a central point of coal mining in the 1700 and 1800's. It was granted a royal charter in 1509 and is mostly an agricultural area currently. In the 1800's is was famous for the making of snuff boxes which employed around one hundred workers. In the 1960's it was a great employment source for the shoe industry which produced about one million pair every year.

Cumnock Landmarks:

Airds Moss c.Unknown

Actually located between Cumnock and Muirkirk, this large area of moor was the site of the Battle of Airds Moss in 1680 between the Covenanters under the leadership of Rev. Richard Cameron and the soliders of King Charles II under the command of David Bruice of Earshall. Nine Covenanters were killed including Cameron and his brother Michael, with twenty eight government troops killed as well.

Baird Institute c.1891

Located on Lugar Street this venue has a wonderful collection of history of the Cumnock and Doon Valley.

Crichton Church c.1899

Built with a striking reddish-orange stone.

Cumnock Old Kirk c.1866

Designed by Brown and Wardrop. Organ installed 1966. Mosaic of Jesus walking on the Water by James Harrigan. The bell in vestibule was cast in 1697 by Quinus de Vasscher of Rotterdam.

Dumfries House c.1759

Sitting just West of Cumnock this Palladian style mansion was designed by the Adam Brothers Architects for the 5th Earl of Dumfries, William Dalrymple-Crichton, (1699 –1768). It has one hundred rooms and mostly furnished by Thomas Chippendale and carpets by the Axminster Carpet Co. One standout feature is the Murano Chandelier from the Murano Glass Co of Italy. Two wings were added in the late 19th century by Robert Weir Schultz.

The estate was later owned by the 6th Marquess of Bute but in1993, ownership of the house and estate passed to his racing driver son John Crichton-Stuart (aka Johnny Dumfries) the 7th Marques of Bute (1958-2021)The oldest remaining building on the estate is the doo’cot (dovecot) built in 1671 while even some of the trees date from around 1700.The oldest remaining building on the estate is the doo’cot (dovecot) built in 1671 while even some of the trees date from around 1700., then to the national Trust in 2004. Years later HRH Prince Charles secured donors to restore the house to its former glory. After a twenty million British Pound restoration the house is now open to the public. One program that HRH set forth was to provide job opportunities to unemployed young people, giving them the learning skills to succeed in life.

The walled garden (c.1760) contains trees that date back to 1700, and the arched bridge designed by John Adam remains intact after all these years.

Mercat Cross c.1703

The Mercat Cross (Market Cross) is where the hub of activities was located as it centered around the town square.

2. Dalmellington, Scottish Gaelic: Dail M'Fhaolain

Population: Approximately 1,500 Plus

Situated on the banks of the 'Much Water' this quaint town dates back to the Neolithic Period. The Normans built a castle (c.1200) on the 'Dalmellington Motte' and the town grew around it. Dalmellington became a Burgh of Barony in the 14th century for Sir Duncan Wallace (1340-1376), and was the center of Covenanter activity in the 17th century. Mining was big in the 19th century.

Dalmellington Landmarks

Dalmellington Parish Church (aka) The Kirk-O-The Covenant c.1846

Located at 27 Knowehead

Built in the Saxon style with a lofty square clock tower, the church has bright red doors said to symbolize the blood of Presbyterian martyrs who died for their beliefs. The architect was Patrick Wilson of Edinburgh and the builder McCandlish of New Galloway.

The Standing Stones of Dalmellington c.1999

A memorial erected to honor the seven mining villages of the Doon Valley.

3. Darvel, Scottish Gaelic: Darbhail

Population: Approximately 4,000 Plus

Located at the East end of the Irvine Valley this small town is referred to as "The Lang Toon" due to its lengthy Main Street. Hastings Square is the main meeting point and has several memorials there honoring Sir Alexander Fleming and a war memorial as well. It became a Burgh in 1873.

During the Wars of Scottish Independence, William Wallace defeated the English at Loudoun Hill in 1296. Robert the Bruce also fought the English here in 1307.

The land on which it is built was part of the estates of the Campbell Earls of Loudoun, and it was John Campbell, the 4th Earl of Loudoun, who established Darvel in 1752 to help people displaced from the land and to provide the estate with an income.

Darvel became the center of lace making in 1876 which was introduced by Alexander Morton (1844-1927), and mills began to spring up in Darvel and nearby Newmilns. Other countries took copied this industry and started making lace as well which eventually led to a decline in Darvel's lace making days. Lace is still made in Darvel on a smaller scale and lace curtains still hang in many windows.

Darvel Landmarks

Dragon Stone c.1752

Located in Hastings Square it is said that newly married must walk around the monolithic stone three times which will bring them good luck in their marriage.

Loudoun Hill c.Unknown

Sitting at an elevation of 1.037 feet above sea level this volcanic plug located near the River Irvine is where Sir William Wallace defeated the English in 1296. Robert the Bruce also defeated the English under the command of Aymer de Valence here in 1307. A third battle took place here between the Covenanters and the English under the command of General John Graham in 1679 where the government army outnumbered their enemy but the smaller force won.

Spirit of Scotland c. Unknown

A steel sculpture located below Loudoun Hill celebrates Sir William Wallace's victory over the English here in 1297.

4. Kilmarnock, Scottish Gaelic: Cill Mheàrnaig

Population: Approximately 50,000

Kilmarnock grew around the first church built (Laigh Kirk). The town became a Burgh in 1591.

The past centuries have seen Kilmarnock as a business center for whiskey, carpets, lace, locomotives, and shoes. The town encompasses twelve churches with the oldest one being Laigh Kirk.

Kilmarnock is the government seat for the East Ayrshire Council.

Kilmarnock Landmarks:

Dean Castle c.1350 (aka Kilmarnock Castle)

Located on Dean Road just off Landsborough Road

Located in Dean Castle Country Park this castle was the seat of the Boyd family for over 400 years. The name 'Dean" means wooded valley and is situated just next to Kilmarnock Water. The site also features a visitor center as well. It was featured in the TV series 'Outlander' as Beaufort Castle. There are deer, goats , and even llamas on the premises.

The Dick Institute c.1901

Located on Elmbank Avenue between London Road and Elembank Drive, Kilmarnock

Museum, Art Gallery, and Library founded by james Dick.

Laigh Kirk c.17th Century (Original)

Located at John Dickie Street and Bank Street, Kilmarnock

Three churches have occupied the original site, the first in the 17th century, the second in the 18th century (1750), and the third in early 19th century (1802). The one from 1750 was the site of a (people) stampede in late 1801 where twenty nine people were killed trying to escape when the building suffered some structural issues. The later version had upgrades in 1831 and 1996.

5. Mauchline, Scottish Gaelic: Maghlinn

Population: Approximately 4,000 Plus

Created as a Burgh in 1510 by James IV, the Cistercian Monks were granted a land charter in 1165 where they built an abbey known as Hunters Tower or, more recently, as Mauchline Castle. Mauchline lies about 1.5 miles from the River Ayr.

This was a stronghold of the Covenanters and several battles ensued during the 'Wars of the Three Kingdoms'.

The town has at some point been a center for quarrying sandstone, clock making, box-work, and the production of curling stones. The Kay Company remains as the only stone maker in the world which uses granite from the Ailsa Craig. The company started in 1851.

Mauchline Landmarks

Robert Burns House Museum c. Unknown

Located at #2 Castle Street, Mauchline

Robert and his wife Jean Armour lived here located on a cobbled stone back street from 1786-1788 before moving to Dumfries.

Robert Burns National Monument c.1898

Located at Kilmarnock Road (A76) and Tarbolton Rd.

This venue was designed by William Fraser.

Mauchline Castle c. 1400's

Located on Loudoun Street between Cowgate St and Earl Grey Street.

An altered 15th century keep, to which has been added a 17th century L-plan wing, as well as other extensions and alterations of 1690, 1800 and 1820. The arms of Abbot (of Melrose) Hunter (died 1471) adorn the building.

The castle was built by Melrose Abbey to manage its Ayrshire estates. It passed to the Campbells of Loudoun after the Reformation and was used as the factor's house. Robert Burns paid his rent here, and was married in one of the extensions to the keep. The castle is in good condition.

Poosie Nansies Tavern c.1700

Located at 21 Loudoun Street this historic venue was originally called the Mauchline Tavern and owned by George Gibson and his wife Agnes (aka Possie Nansie). It was a hangout for Robert Burns on his many travels through Mauchline.

6. New Cumnock, Scottish Garlic: Comunn Ach

Population: Approximately 3,500

Old Cumnock was split in two in 1650 with the second half being called New Cumnock at approximately 48,000 acres. Like a lot of Ayrshire it has rolling hillsides with its highest peak 'Black Craig' reaching 2,298 feet above sea level. The area also includes deep forest with a variety of trees such as spruce, larch, pine, as well as some hardwoods as well.

The names of William Wallace, Robert the Bruce , and Robert Burns are well associated with this town and surrounding area. Coal mining started around the late 17th century employing around 1,200 men and boys and continuing to 1950 when disaster struck the the Knockshinnoch Castle Collier where a cave-in trapped 129 miners, thirteen of who died. The other 116 were rescued days later. Mining eventually faded out a decade later.

New Cumnock Landmarks

Afton Water

Flowing down the Afton Glen and into the Glen Afton reservoir. Afton Water was noted in Robert Burns poem 'Sweet Afton'..

The origins of New Cumnock date back to a settlement built near the confluence of the Afton Water and the River Nith, with at its focus the fascinatingly named Black Bog Castle (or Cumnock Castle) built here in the 1200s by the Earls of Dunbar and March. It became a Burgh of barony in 1509.

New Cumnock Parish Kirk c.1833 (Current Kirk)

Located at 15 Castle Road, New Cumnock

Square church and clock tower of the Gothic style designed by noted architect James Ingram. It was built on land donated by the Marquess of Bute.

7. Stewarton, Scottish Gaelic: Baile nan Stiùbhartach

Population: Approximately 8,000

Stewarton has existed since at least the 12th century with remnants of a Bronze Age being found.

Today it serves as a bedroom community providing workers easy acess to Glasgow and Kilmarnock.

Stewarton is known as the Bonnet Toun and as early as the 1400s it was engaged in the production of this traditional Scottish headwear. The association with bonnet making was resurrected in 1932 when the long defunct Stewarton Bonnet Guild, first established in 1590, was re-established. By 1850 the textile industry in Stewarton employed some 2500 people.

Stewarton Landmarks

John Knox Church of Scotland c.1841

Located at 10 High Street, Stewarton

Lainshaw House (Castle) c.1800

Tudor--Gothic Style

Villages and Hamlets

There are thirty-six villages and hamlets in East Ayrshire, those being Afton Bridgend, Auchinleck, Catrine, Chapeltoun, Corsehill, Craigmalloch, Cronberry, Dalryrmple, Drongan, Dunlop, Fenwick, Galston, Gatehead, Glenbuck, Greenholm, Haugh, Hurlford, Kilmarnock, Kilmmaurs, Knockentiber, Lugar, Lugton, Moscow, Muirkirk, Netherthird, Newmilns, Ochiltree, Patna, Polnessan, Priestland, Rankinston, Riccarton, Sorn, Stair, Trabboch, and Waterside.

Ghost Villages

These small villages sprang up to house workers in row houses (raws) who could not find housing in the more established villages and hamlets near where the work was, mostly in the mines around Ayrshire. Living conditions were poor and often cramped with more than one family to a room, and outdoor toilets. They served their purpose when mining was a big industry but were mostly abandon when the mines closed. The following are some of these in East Ayrshire.

Benquhat, Beoch, Birnieknowe, Burnfoothill, Burnston, Craigmark, Darnconner, Dunaskin, Kerse, Lethanhill, Pennyvennie, The Common Row, and Tonque Row.

Landmarks - Other of East Ayrshire

The Boswell Arms Tavern c.1700's

Located at #2 Coal Road, Auchinleck

Loch Doon

Loch Doon is 5.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide and is surrounded by hills up to the 1700 foot range. A castle was originally in the middle of the loch but in the 1930's a new hydro electric plant made the water level rise and the castle was moved onto shore.

Auchinleck House c.1758-1760

Home of the Boswell family seat. Designed by Alexander Boswell, and built between as a classic Scottish Mansion.

Bello(w) Mill Cottage

Located on the A70 between Auchinleck and Muikirk

Birthplace of inventor William Murdoch (1754-1839)

The mill ruins associated with this lies back of the cottage down by the Water Lugar.

The cottage is a private residence, please do not disturb.

Sorn Castle c.1409 with later modifications.

At the heart of an 8000 acre privately owned estate, Sorn Castle is located by the River Ayr just outside the village of Sorn in East Ayrshire, Scotland. The castle comprises a medieval tower house, which was extended over the years, and remodelled in the Scots Baronial style by David Bryce in the 1860s.

Note: Private Residence, Available for Weddings, Parties, Fund raisers, etc.

Notable People of East Ayrshire.

Alexander Boswell (1706-1782) 8th Laird of Auchinleck, Judge of Supreme Court [6][7]

Born: Auchinleck, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Edinburgh, Scotland

Resting Place: Unknown

Bio Summary: Lawyer and Judge of the Supreme Court.

Parents: James Boswell 7th Laird of Auchinleck (1672–1749) and Elizabeth Bruce (1671-1734)

Siblings: Veronica Boswell (1704-1742), David Boswell (1706-1709), James Boswell (1710-1757), Dr John Boswell (1710-1780)

Spouse Number 1: Euphemia Erskine (1718-1766) Married 1738

Children: Sir James Boswell (1740-1795), John Boswell (1743-1798), Thomas) David Boswell (1748–1826)

Spouse Number 2: Elizabeth Boswell (his first cousin) (1740-1799) Married 1769

Children: None

For more information see WikiTree Profile Boswell-585

Sir James Boswell (1740-1795) 9th Laird of Auchinleck, Author, Lawyer [8][9]

Born: Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland

Died: London, England

Resting Place: Auchinleck Old Churchyard, Auchinleck, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Bio Summary: Famous for his biography of his travel companion Englishman Samuel Johnson.

Parents: Alexander Boswell (8th Laird of Auchinleck) (1706-1782) and Euphemia Erskine (1718-1766)

Spouse: Margaret (Peggy) Montgomerie (1738-1789) Married 1769

Children: Charles Boswell (1762-1764), Elizabeth Boswell (1767-XXXX), Euphemia Boswell (1774-1837), Elizabeth Boswell (1780-1814), Veronica Boswell (1773-1795), James Boswell (1778-1822)

For more information see WikiTree Profile Boswell-586

George Douglas Brown (1869-1902) Writer [10][11]

Born: Ochiltree, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: London, England

Resting Place: Holmston Cemetery, Ayr, Scotland

Illegitimate son of a farmer who had an affair with his dairy maid.

Famous for his book 'The House with the Green Shutters'. Pen names included George Douglas, and Kennedy King. Educated at Glasgow, Balliol, and Oxford Universities.

Parents: George Douglas Brown (1813-1896) and Sarah Gemmell (Gammell) (1833-1895) (Irish)

Siblings: No Record

Spouse: No Record

Children: No Record

Robert Burns (1759-1796) Scotland National Poet [12][13]

Born: Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Dumfries, Scotland

Resting Place: St Michael's churchyard, Dumfries, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Bio Summary: Robert spent most of his years in East Ayrshire.

Parents: William Burnes (1721-1784) and Agnes Brown (1732-1820)

Siblings: Gilbert Burns (1760-1827), AgnesBurns (1762-1834), Annabella Burns (1764-1832), William Burns (1767-1790), John Burns (1769-1785), Isabella Burns (1771-1858).

William had numerous affairs through the years, those being with Elizabeth Paton (1760-1799), Janet Clow (1766-1792), Ann Park (1780-1817), Helen Hyslop (1766-1852), none of which produced any additional children.

Spouse: Jean Armour (1765-1834) Married 1788

Children: Jean Burns (1786-1787), Robert Burns Jr. (1786-1857), Unamed Burns (1788-1788), Francis Wallace Burns (1789-1803), William Nicol Burns (1791-1872), Elizabeth Riddell Burns (1792-1795), Col. James Glencairn Burns (1794-1865), Maxwell Burns 1796-1799).

For more information see WikiTree Profile Burns-2738

James Dick (1823-1902) Industrialist and philanthropist [14][15]

Born: Kilmarnock, east Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Unknown

Resting Place: Unknown

Bio Summary: Discovered that 'Gutta Percha' (a polymer of isoprene which forms a rubber-like elastomer) from the Gutta Percha tree could be used as a shoe soles material. He went on to make his fortune in this field with his brother Robert and employee hundreds of men, women, and boys. His name is now associated with The Dick Institute in Kilmarnock which features art work in a museum setting.

Parents: John Dick (XXXX-XXXX) and Barbara Simpson (XXXX-XXXX)

Siblings: Mary Dick (1815-XXXX), William Dick (1817-XXXX), and Robert Dick (1820-1891).

Spouse: Christina (Kate) MacDonald (XXXX-XXXX) Married 1886

Children: None

Sir Alexander Fleming FRS FRSE FRCS (1881-1955) Bacteriologist and Physician [16][17]

Born: Lochfield Farm, Darvel, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: London, England

Resting Place: St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England

Bio Summary: Educated at Kilmarnock Acaddemy. Discovered Penicillin; Knighted in 1944, Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1945

Parents: Hugh Fleming (1816-1888), and Grace Sterling Morton (1848-1927)

Siblings: Jane Fleming (1862-1889), Hugh Fleming (1884-XXXX), Thomas Fleming (1868-1922), Mary Smith Fleming (1872-XXXX), Grace Steel Fleming (1877-XXXX), John Fleming (1879-XXXX), Robert James Fleming (1883-XXXX).

Spouse Number 1: Sarah Marion McElroy (abt. 1874-1949) (Irish) Married 1915

Children: Robert Fleming (1924-2015)

Spouse Number 2: Dr. Amalia Koutsouri-Vourekas (1912-1986) (Greek) Married 1953

Children: None

For more information see WikiTree Profile Fleming-3220

James Fairlie Gemmill FRS FRSE FZS (1867-1926), Physician, Botanist [18][19]

Born: Hillhead Farm near Mauchline. Scotland

Died: Firth of Tay in Scotland between Dundee and the suburb of Wormit in Fife (Suicide by drowning).

Resting Place: Western Cemetery, Dundee, Scotland

Bio Summary: Author of Natural History. Educated at Glasgow university and was a doctor in the Royal Army Medical Corp. during World War I at the rank of Major.

Parents: Cuthbert Gemmill (1819-1888) and Jean Parker Leiper (1827-1882)

Siblings: jeanie Gemmill (1847-XXXX), Janet Nairn Gemmell (1849–1915), Thomas Gemmill (1852-1880), Mary Ann Gemmill (1854-XXXX), John Leiper Gemmill (1857-1934), Cuthbert Gemmill (1854-XXXX), Agnes Euphemia Leiper Gemmill (1864-XXXX)

Spouse: None

Children: None

James Keir Hardie (1856-1915) The father of Scottish Socialism, Member of Parliament [20][21]

Born: Newhouse, Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Resting Place: Cumnock Cemetery Cumnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Bio Summary: James Keir was the illegitimate son of a miner who took off after the birth, and Mary Keir, a farm servant. Mary married David Hardie (1824-1902) a ship's carpenter in 1859 and James was raised as James Keir Hardie. Mr and Mrs Hardie had five more children together.

Because of his fathers lack of work in shipbuilding the family was poor and lived in poverty. Because of this James began work at the age of eight as a baker's delivery boy and by the age of 10 he was working underground as a miner. His father took an interest in radical cause while his mother was more into the religious side of life.

The poverty and stress of life in the mines caused Keir Hardie to agitate for better conditions. He began to attend Union meetings and effectively organised local strikes against wage cuts. In 1879 he was invited to become Secretary of the Ayrshire Miners' Association. He moved to Cumnock and organised a major strike for improved wages in 1881. After this strike collapsed Keir Hardie was terminated from his post.

He then began employment as a journalist with the Cumnock News in 1882. During this time he became actively involved with the Cumnock community, founding a Good Templar Lodge promoting the temperance movement. He was also involved with local societies and churches. In 1886 he was offered the post of Secretary to the newly formed Ayrshire Miners' Union.

1888 the Scottish Labour Party was formed and Keir Hardie was elected as chairman and leader. He also stood as Labour candidate later that year at the Mid-Lanark by-election. However he did not become an MP until 1892 when he was elected to the West Ham constituency of London. Although he lost the seat a few years later, he remained as leader of the new Labour Party.

In 1900 he was elected as MP for the Merthyr-Tydfil constituency in South Wales, a seat he retained for the rest of his life. Although an active MP in London, Keir Hardie continued to live in Cumnock which he regarded as his home. He lived in Lochnorris in the town, a large house which he had built for his family in 1891, which still stands today.

In 1915 shortly after the start of the First World War, Keir Hardie returned to Cumnock for the last time, suffering from a prolonged illness. He died in a Glasgow nursing home later that year.

Birth Parents: William Aitken (XXXX-XXXX) (Miner) and Mary Keir (1830-1902) (Domestic Servant), Not Married

Adaopted by David Hardie (1824-1902) (Carpenter) with Mary Keir (Birth Mother) Married 1909

Half Siblings: David Hardie II (1871-1939) MP, George Hardie (1873-1937) MP, Agnes Hardie (1874-1951) MP

Spouse: Lilias (Lily) Balfour Wilson (1862-1924 ) Married 1880

Children: Duncan Wilson Hardie (1887-1920), Sarah Millar Hardie (1884-1887), Nan Hardie Hughes (1885-1947).

Son-In-Law: Emrys Hughes (1894-1969) MP.

For more information see WikiTree Profile Keir-130

Alexander Morton (1844-1923) Weaver [22]

Born: Mount Holy, Ranoldcoup Road, Darvel, Scotland

Died: Bruckless, County Donegal, Ireland

Resting Place: Darvel Old Cemetery, Darvel, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Bio Summary: Bought his first loom at age 15 and took over his brother in laws business which started him on his path of life as a weaver. He started Alexander Morton and Company

He bought other businesses and became very successful in the trade, supplying many fine homes throughout Great Britain.

Parents: Gavin (Guy) Morton (1799-1861) and Agnes Lawson (1813-1863)

Siblings: Jean Morton Bowie (1836-), Robert Morton (1838-1863)

Spouse: Jeanie Wiseman (1845-1924)

Children: William Morton (1882-1938), Mary Morton (1882-), Maggie (1881-1940)

For more information see WikiTree Profile Morton-12439

William Murdoch (1754-1839) Inventor of Lighting by Coal Gas [23][24][25][26]

Born: Bello Mill, Lugar, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Handsworth, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England

Resting Place: St Mary's Church in Handsworth, Staffordshire, England

Bio Summary: With his father John's help William learned various trades at an early age. He traveled to England secured a job with Boulton and Watt. He invented many things during his lifetime which benefited many industries during the Industrial Revolution.

Murdoch acted as a field mechanic for Watt and Boulton in Birmingham England. While Watt and Boulton were eventually caught up in slave trading either directly or indirectly by supplying engines to West Indies plantations that employed slaves, Murdoch was never implicated in this practice.

Parents: John Murdoch (1725-1806) and Anna Bruce (1715-1800)

Siblings: Jean Murdoch (1748-XXXX), Andrew Murdoch (1749-XXXX), Robert (1757-1806), Mungo Murdoch (1759-XXXX), Euphemias (1762-XXXX), James (1766-XXXX)

Spouse: Anne Paynter (1768-1790)

Children: William Murdoch (1786-1787), Anne Murdoch (1786-1788), William Murdock (1788-1831, John Murdock (1790-1862). FYI: Spelling of two surviving sons ended with a 'K' in lieu of an 'H'. This is because father William changed the spelling of his last name when in England.

For more information see Wiki-Tree Profile Murdoch-884

Alexander Peden (aka 'Prophet Peden') (1624-1686) Covenanter Leader [27][28]

Born: Auchincloich farm near Sorn, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Death: Auchencloich, Ayrshire, Scotland

Resting Place: Forty days after his death, in a final attack on his memory, government troops dug up his body and buried it two miles away in a plain grave out of disrespect.

Bio Summary: Educated in Glasgow he preached the word in many different area's of Ayrshire. He wore a mask of leather and fabric along with a beard and wig to hide his identity and avoid arrest for illegal preaching' against the religious changes imposed by Charles II. He was imprisoned on Bass Rock for his role as a covenanter.

His gravesite is unknown but numerous memorials are made in his honour.

Parents: Father Andrew Hugh Pethein (1590-1648), Mother Elizabeth Johnstone (XXXX-XXXX)

Siblings: Andrew Hugh Peden (1624-1710), Mungo Peden (1628-1628), James Peden (1630-1723), William Peden (1632-1666).

Spouse: No Record

Children: No Record

For more information see WikiTree Profile Peden-25

Sir James Shaw (1764-1843), Politcian, MP [29][30]

Born: Riccarton, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Unknown

Resting Place: Unknown

Bio Summary: He went to the U.S. as a teenager, then to London, England and became the first Scot to be named Lord Mayor of London in 1805. He became a member of Parliament in 1806.

Parents: John Shaw (1724-1770) and Helen Sellars (1729-1796), Married 1751

Siblings: Robert T. Shaw (1750-XXXX), Helen Shaw (1752-XXXX), Margaret Shaw (1753-1762), Janet Shaw (1755-XXXX), John Shaw (1758-1767), David Shaw (1760-XXXX), Margaret Shaw (1762-1844), John Shaw (1767-XXXX).

Spouse: Not Married

Children: None

For more information see WikiTree Profile Shaw-2022

Alexander Smith (1829-1867) Poet [31][32]

Born: Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Edinburgh, Scotland

Resting Place: Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh, Scotland

Bio Summary: Alexander became a lace designer like his father but spent his time also writing poetry and books such as Life Drama (1851), City Poems (1857), Dreamthrop (1863), and A summer in Skye (1865).

Parents: John Smith (1803-1884) and Christina Murray (1804-1881)

Siblings: Unknown

Spouse: Flora Nicholson Macdonald (1829-1873) Married in 1857

Children: Flora Macdonald (1858–1867), Jessie Catherine (Murray) (1860–1941) went to Australia where she married James Morris MacDonald, Charles Kenneth Macleod MacDonald(1862–1890) died in Calcutta, India, Marcella MacLellan MacDonald (1864–1865) (7 months), Isabella Mary Macdonald (1866–1939).

Rev. Dr. Robert Stirling (1790-1878), Minister, and Engineer [33][34][35]

Born: Cloag Farm near Methven, Perthshire, Scotland

Died: Galston, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Resting Place: Galston Cemetery, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Bio Summary: Preached in Galston and Kilmarnock for many years but was also an engineer who invented the 'Stirling Engine' which was a heated-air engine producing forty horsepower. The air engine is like a steam engine but runs very quietly and because of that this type of engine is used in submarines today of the Swedish, Singapore, and Japanese Navy's.

Parents: Patrick Peter Stirling (1754-1820), and Agnes XXXX (1756-1827)

Siblings: James Stirling (1800-1876)

Spouse: Jean Rankin (1800-1892) Married 1819

Children: Patrick Stirling (1820-1895), Jane Stirling (1821-1915), William Stirling (1822-XXXX), Robert Stirling (1824-1873), David Stirling (1828-1882), James Stirling (1835-1917), Agnes Stirling (1838-1917)

See Wiki-Tree Profile (Stirling-908)

John Colum Crichton-Stuart (aka Johnny Dumfries; aka John Bute), The 7th Marquess of Bute (1958-2021) [36]

Born: Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Scotland

Died: Ladbroke Grove, London, England

Resting Place: Kensal Green Cemetery, North Kensington, England

Bio Summary: Race Car driver who won the 24-hour Le Mans in 1988. He retired from racing 1991.

He inherited many properties through Scotland and at one time was Laird of Dumfries House before he sold it to Prince Charles.

Parents: John Crichton-Stuart (1933-1993) and Beatrice Nicola Grace Weld-Forester (1933-)

Siblings: Lord Anthony Crichton-Stuart (1961-XXXX)

Spouse (First): Carolyn Waddell (1984-1993) Married 1984

Children: Lady Caroline Crichton-Stuart (1984-), Lady Cathleen Crichton-Stuart (1986-) and John Bryson Crichton-Stuart (1989-) The 8th Marquess of Bute

Spouse (Second): Serena Solitaire Wendell (XXXX-XXXX) Married in 1999

Children: Lady Lola Affrica Crichton-Stuart (1999-)

James Tannock (1784-1863) Portrait Painter [37]

Born: Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: London, England

Resting Place: Unknown

Bio Summary: One of well known brothers who were portrait painters and displayed works at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Parents: Unknown

Siblings: William Tannock (1794-1879) Portrait Painter

Spouse: Unknown

Children: Unknown

James Taylor (1753-1825) Cumnock, The Father of Steam Navigation [38]

Born: Leadhills, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Died: Cumnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Resting Place: Unknown

Bio Summary: Moved to Cumnock to manage a pottery factory. He developed a paddleboat with a steam engine.

Parents: John Taylor (XXXX-XXXX)

Siblings: John (XXXX-XXXX)

Spouse: Unknown

Children: 4 daughters, 2 sons

John (Johnnie) Walker (1805-1857) Grocer, Whiskey Blender [39][40]

Born: Todriggs Farm, Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland,

Resting Place: St Andrew’s Glencairn Church, Kilmarnock, East Scotland

Bio Summary: Upon the death of his father, John's family invested their life savings in an Italian grocery store which also sold spirits. At the age of 15 he was managing the business. He began selling 'made to order' blended whiskey to the public. After his death, son Alexander and Grandson Alexander II took over the business and created new blends under the name Johnnie Walker.

Parents: Alexander Walker (XXXX-XXXX) and Elizabeth Gemmel (1778-XXXX)

Spouse: Elizabeth Purvis (1807-1890) Married 1833

Children: Alexander Walker (1837-XXXX), Margaret Walker (1836-1867), Robert Walker (1840-XXXX), Elizabeth Walker (1842-XXXX), John Walker Jr (1845-1875)

For more information see WikiTree Profile Walker-8856

Sir William Wallace (1270-1305) Ellerslie near Kilmarnock, Freedom Fighter [41][42]

Leader of the first fight for Scottish independence. Hid out in many parts of East Ayrshire. Burned down the 'Barns of Ayr'.

Parents: Malcolm Wallace (1249-1305) and Lady Margaret Crawford (1251-1291)

Siblings: Malcolm II (1268-1305), John Wallace (1277-1309)

Spouse: Marion Braidfute (1278-1297)

Children: No Record

For more information see also WikiTree Profile Wallace-182

Memorials and Monuments

The Covenanters were particularly active in this part of Scotland, promoting the National Covenant, a backlash against the enforcement of particular forms of religious observance by James II and then Charles II. As the King attempted to enforce his requirements, "deceit, treachery, arrogance, atrocities, courage, faith, devotion, loyalty and derring-do were all there".

Many Covenanters died for their beliefs. There are many sites and monuments in East Ayrshire, particularly at Fenwick Kirk Yard, the Laigh Kirk in Kilmarnock, Galston Kirk Yard, Loudoun Old Parish Kirk near Galston, Newmilns Keep and Kirkyard, Threepwood near Galston, Lochgoyne farm on the moors above Fenwick, Priesthill farm near Muirkirk, Mauchline, Sorn, Cumnock and Airdsmoss near Cumnock.

Mauchline was the site of the Battle of Mauchline Muir in 1648 between Covenanters and Royalists. A Covenanters Memorial in Loan Green commemorates five martyrs hanged there in 1685. 'Covenanter stones' commemorating many deaths and summary executions, can be found throughout the area.


Johnnie Walker Whiskey Distillery

After 192 years of operation the well known distillery on Balmoral Road in Killmarnock ended in 2009. Production moved to Shieldhall, at Braehead on the west side of Glasgow, and to Leven in Fife. The former site is now home to Ayrshire College.

See John Walker in 'Notable People' Heading above.

Coal Mining and Iron Mining

Mining in Ayrshire was a big industry employing hundreds of men and boys. The Cumnock and Doon Valley was a particular busy area in East Ayrshire. Three types of mines were worked, those being 'Drift', 'Bell-Pit', and 'Open Cast ' Each one very different in there approach. There were at least 40 mines alone operating in the valley during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Records show that it is likely that mining was was operational near Sorn in 1497, and the Monks were certainly using coal in 1528. In the late 1800's deep mines were working at Mauchline, Muirkirk, Cumnock, and Stair. Nine mines were owned by the Dalmellington iron Company, thirteen by the Eglinton Iron Company, and fourteen by independent owners. In the Parish of Cumnock alone there were eighteen mines operating employing 410 miners. In the mid 1900's major mines were opened including 'Highhouse' at Auchinleck, 'Barony' at Ochiltree, 'Knockshinnock' and 'Seaforth' at New Cumnock, 'Pennyvenie' at Dalmellington, and 'Kames' at Muirkirk. Killoch was opened in 1953.

Iron Making

Developed at Dunaskin in the Doon Valley and important industry also grew in many parts of East Ayrshire, such as the making of railway rolling stock in Kilmarnock which was exported across the world. The world's oldest railway viaduct was built at Laigh Milton, Gatehead near Kilmarnock.


By the 18th century textile production dominated industrial expansion. Muslin, cotton, blankets, carpets and woollen goods were produced in Kilmarnock, while Stewarton was famous for its bonnets. The Irvine Valley was renowned for its specialised lace industry.

By the 18th century textile production dominated industrial expansion. Muslin, cotton, blankets, carpets and woollen goods were produced in Kilmarnock, while Stewarton was famous for its bonnets. The Irvine Valley was renowned for its specialised lace industry.


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St. Andrews Cross
St. Andrews Cross

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