The following text document was taken from the original publication above which was published in 1903. I decided to make it available in this form so that people could download the information quickly. On reading this little book I can't help but think that the enterprising spirit of our forefathers and their ability to capitalize on a situation seems to be somewhat amiss these days. The people of Catrine and district would do well to read this book today. After a hundred years of decline we could learn a lot from the spirit of enterprise which this little publication exudes.
I have split the book into two sections for quicker downloading as this 41 Page book is too large to be contained in one web page. This first section, Local History, represents pages 1 to 20 of the original book. It is full of local history and it describes the area in an interesting and enthusiastic light which speaks volumes for the characters of our forefathers.
Section two, Local Info'1903, represents pages 21 to 41 of the original book. This is a Directory of Local Information at that time and it contains a full list of businesses and the occupants and occupations of the entire area in 1903 along with interesting advertisements from local businesses. I have left out only a few sketches which were part of local adverts and a map of the area which is really too small to be of much value.
(33¾ Miles from Glasgow, 11 from Ayr, and
9 from Kilmarnock.)
Few places possess greater interest for admirers of our National Bard than Mauchline. Go where you may, either in the town or the surrounding district, almost every object is associated with his life. While residing in the vicinity, at the farm of Mossgiel, he produced some of his best work, and had the pleasure of knowing that his genius was both acknowledged and appreciated. Independent of the lustre thus shed on Mauchline by Burns, the natural beauty of its environs; the many delightful walks, most of them shaded by double rows of magnificent beech trees; the varied and pleasing colour of the timber patches which greet the eye in every direction, and the all-pervading quiet and calm, make it truly a place to be loved for itself- a very retreat from the crowds and noise of the busy world. Besides, the early history of Mauchline is not unworthy of consideration. Away back to 787 an army of Cruthni invaders was defeated by the men of Galloway and Ayrshire on a moor on the outskirts of the town. And in 1165 (according to George Chalmers), "Walter, the son of Alan, granted to the monks of Melrose the lands of Mauchline, with the right of pasturage in the forest on the upper branches of the Ayr river, extending to the boundaries of Clydesdale. This was confirmed to them by King William at the request of the donor. The monks of Melrose then planted in Mauchline a colony of their own order, and this establishment continued a cell of the Monastery of Melrose till the Reformation. They also obtained ample jurisdiction over their extensive estates of Mauchline, Kylesmure, and Barmure, which were formed into a regality, the courts of which were held at Mauchline.
The village was afterwards created a free burgh of barony by the charter of James IV., in October, 1510 . . . .In 1606, an Act of Parliament was passed dissolving from the Abbey of Melrose the lands and barony before-mentioned, and the parish kirk of Mauchline with its tithes and other property, and erecting the whole into a temporal lordship to Hew, Lord Loudoun; and creating the town of Mauchline into a free burgh of barony, with a weekly market, and two fairs yearly."
This Charter was lost when the Register House in Edinburgh was destroyed by fire; and the weekly market is also a thing of the past. In the beginning of the eighteenth century a movement was made to have these privileges restored, but there is no evidence that any definite action was taken.
Precise as the foregoing statements are, some doubt exists as to the character and constitution of the religious institution established in Mauchline prior to the Reformation. The late Dr. Edgar, a former minister in the parish, in Appendix F to the first series of his "Old Church Life in Scotland," gives the following note which he received from an eminent authority on Monastic institutions:-"I think I cannot" (says the writer) " be in error in saying that the Castle of Mauchline never was a monastic institution in the sense of a place where monks lived. The estate belonged to the Abbey of Melrose, but the Castle was merely a factor's house and estate office. . . .I don't suppose a monk ever came near the place unless it were the Procurator (the member of the community charged with its worldly affairs) in discharge of his official duties, or the Abbot making a visitation of the property, or on some other exceptional occasion."
"What then," asks Dr. Edgar, "are we to say about the establishment which the monks of Melrose had at Mauchline? Was it a religious house or not? and if it was-was it a cell, a monastery, a priory, or what? The rev. doctor then continues -In the Chartulary of Melrose there is one, Richard Biger, mentioned as having been ' Monachus de Mauhelin' In the time of Alexander II. The clause in which the name occurs reads-'Per manum Ricardi de Bigar tunc Monachi de Mauhelin.' To those uninitiated in the mysteries of monastic nomenclature, this expression, Monk of Mauchline, must seem to imply that there was at least one monk, if not more than one, who lived at Mauchline in the time of Alexander the Second; and if monks, there would be monastic life at Mauchline."
Local tradition supports the latter contention. But whatever opinion is accepted, it must be admitted that the Castle is " a particularly precious monument of Scotch mediaeval domestic building," and would be well worthy of a visit from the Scottish Archaeological Society.
The parish, at one time, comprised Muirkirk and Sorn, but these were in turn disjoined and erected into separate parishes. Mauchline parish has an area of about 9000 acres, its length being 6¾ miles, while in breadth it ranges from½ mile to 3½ miles. The parish is bounded on the north by Riccarton and Galston; East by Sorn; South by Auchinleck; South-West by Ochiltree and Stair; and West by Tarbolton and Craigie. Its population in 1801 was 1746 ; in 1861, 2303; in 1891, 2339; and 1901, 2572, of which number the town claimed 1767, and the country district of the parish, 805. Anciently the name was Machlein, Machlene, or Maghline-Gaelic, Magh-linne (plain with the pool). Mauchline stands at an altitude of from 430 to 500 feet above sea level. At Mauchline Hill, however, it rises to 641 feet.
Glancing back at the early families of Mauchline, we find the Reids and the Campbells the earliest and most influential. According to Paterson, in his History of the Counties of Ayr and Wigton, "The Reids were at one period a numerous Clan in Kyle. Knox speaks of the enemies of the reformation as endeavouring to create dissension in that quarter by setting the Reids against the Craufords," who were the third most influential clan in that district in the Sixteenth Century. The first we have of the surname of Reid occurring in this connection is at an Inquisition held at 'Are' on 10th May, 1399, where "Johannes Reid de Dalrumpill, and Johannes Reid de Barscemying" are mentioned. From the latter it is probable that most of the numerous families of the surname of Reid in the upper parishes of Ayrshire, are descended. Regarding the Ballochmyle branch, the first notice we have of Reid of Ballochmyle is in 1613. Ballochmyln-as it then was- seems to have been the last portion of the lands parted with by the monks, and Reid was probably the first lay proprietor of the lands. John Reid of Ballochmyle, a descendant of the former, had a Crown Charter of the lands of Ballochmyle, dated 15th March, 1634, in which document he is styled "junior of Ballochmyle." His name, together with that of his son, appears frequently in the Records of the Kirk Session of Mauchline, after the Revolution, as zealous elders of the Kirk. This son married on 22nd June, 1677, Sarah, daughter of Farquhar of Gilmilnscroft, by whom he had four sons and two daughters. In October, 1710, John Reid, elder of Ballochmyle, together with Hugh Mitchell of Dalgain, had Sasine of Dildilling, with half of the mill and mill lands of Catrine. Towards the middle of the eighteenth century Ballochmyle estate was acquired by the Whitefords, who kept it only a few years. Sir John Whiteford was the friend of Burns, and it was of his daughter, Maria, that the poet sang the farewell to Ballochmyle on their leaving the property in 1786. At that time it came, by purchase, into the possession of the Alexander family, in whose hands it still remains. Other families of the of the surname of Reid were the Reids of Drumfork, a branch of the Barskimming family, and the Reids of Willoxhill.
The first notice we have of the Campbells of Netherplace is in 1620, when Mungo Campbell, of Cowfauldshaw, had Sasine of the lands of Cowfauldshaw, Netherplace, and others. His family had been of Brownside for a couple of centuries previous. Other families were the Gibbs of Auchmilling; the Mitchells of Braehead; the Wallaces of Brighouse; the Spottiswodes of Fowler ; the Campbells of Killoch; the Campbells of Montgarswood; and the Campbells of Kingencleugh-now belonging to Ballochmyle.
It may be mentioned that Beechgrove was built by a son of Mr Gavin Hamilton, while Viewfield was the residence in this county of the only descendants of Wodrow, the venerable historian of the Church of Scotland.
From all the approaches to Mauchline the town has an attractive appearance. It is nicely situated on the west side of Mauchline Hill, and closed in by mountainous ranges. The most prominent building in the town is the Parish Church, a handsome edifice built of red sandstone. It is Gothic in style with an imposing turreted tower containing the belfry and town's clock. The Church was recently renovated internally, and a very fine stained glass window, in memory of the late Major General Sir Claud Alexander, Bart., of Ballochmyle, has just been put in at a cost of about £400. It was opened for public worship on 2nd August, 1829, and stands on the site of the old church which was built in the twelfth century, and after having been in use for about 650 years was taken down in 1827. Around this House of God and God's Acre, where for centuries succeeding generations have worshipped and have been laid to rest, Mauchline's associations centre. Perhaps it is impossible for anyone to describe the surroundings so eloquently and so interestingly as the late Dr. Edgar has done in the following extract from his "Old Church Life in Scotland," published in 1885, which we have been kindly granted permission to quote:- "That little enclosure is an object of the deepest interest, but it is not because old stern Covenanters are resting there from their warfare, nor because morbid minded monks, weary of the world, were buried there under the shadows of the old sanctuary, where morning, noon, and night, they sang and prayed, and led sad but saintly lives hid with Christ in God. It is because the place has been consecrated by the genius of the national Poet of Scotland. Many a time have the feet of Burns trod that hallowed ground. It was in the old church that he worshipped.
. . . It was in the old church and the present churchyard that those scenes of mingled solemnity and profanation were witnessed, that have been described, perhaps too truly, in his Communion satire. It was the modest mansion adjoining the churchyard and contiguous to the Castle that Gavin Hamilton, the Poet's friend and landlord, lived, and that the Poet spent many of his gayest hours. It was about a stone-cast beyond, in a green meadow on the banks of what was then a bright and purling brook, that tradition says the Poet first caught sight of the village belle who became his bride, and whose charms he has immortalised in imperishable song. It was in the upper room of a small two-storied red sandstone house, facing the eastern gable of Mr Hamiltons mansion, that the Poet and his wife took up their first abode together. It was in one of the houses that still form the north-eastern boundary of the churchyard, and is separated from Burns' own dwelling
`By a narrow street
Where two wheel-barrows tremble when they meet,'
that Nanse Tannock had her comfortable and respectable ale-house. . Opposite the church gate, and forming the two lower corners of the Cowgate, were two houses still more closely associated with the Poet's writings. It was in one of these that the Beggars had their high carousals. The other is what a local poetaster has in a somewhat Hibernian style called-
`The house, though built
Where Burns cam' weary frae the plough,
To hae a crack wi' Johnny Dow
O' nights ateen;
And whyles to taste his mountain dew.
Wi' bonnie Jean.'
"Immediately to the rear of this house was the one storeyed thatched dwelling, with a garret window looking into Dow's hostelry, where the so-called bonnie Jean, in her happy maidenhood, lived with her respected parents. Such a centre of classic ground as the old kirkyard of Mauchline will scarcely be found in all Scotland, for in addition to the immediate surroundings you look out from the church tower on Mossgiel and Ballochmyle, the Ayr and the Lugar, the banks of Afton and the braes of Doon; and in the churchyard lie many that were known and endeared to the poet. Two of his children are buried there, within the railed enclosure belonging to the Armours. Gavin Hamilton sleeps there, too, in another railed enclosure on the left hand as you enter the church. A few paces behind Mr.Hamilton's burial ground is the grave of Mary Morrison; and close by the side of her grave is the resting place of Holy Willie. Elsewhere in the churchyard lie the remains of Poosie Nancy, Racer Jess, Jamie Humphrey, the bletherin' bodie; Richmond, the clerk; and a host of others that were either the companions of the poet or the subjects of his songs"
Visitors can get admittance to the churchyard on making application to Mrs Jamieson, Castle Street.
A handsome and commodious hall, with lesser hall attached, for the better accommodation of the organisations connection with the Church, was erected, and opened in April, 1895.
Mauchline Castle, immediately to the west of the church, is believed to be the remains of the ancient priory founded by the Monks of Melrose, and at one time connected by monastic buildings, with the old parish church. "The house, though built anew,"is occupied by Mauchline Co-operative Society as a store. Behind the Co-operative buildings in the Cowgate were four one storey houses, with attics, owned by the Armour family. Two of them still remain. In one of these Jean Armour's father lived for a time. When the house, of which the garret window looked into Dow's hostelry, was taken down, the window was preserved and subsequently presented to the Burns Memorial Museum by Mr McMillan, Banker.
In addition to the Parish Church there is the Free Church- now the Abbey United Free- a fine Church, having an entrance from Loudoun Street, and the U.P. Church- now the Walker Memorial United Free- an attractive edifice in the Knowe, which cost £2300. It is built on the site formerly occupied by the old Burgher Church, which was erected in the end of the eighteenth century. There is also a Mission Hall in Mansefield Road, connected with the Ayrshire Christian Association.
A special feature of interest in Mauchline which should form an attraction for admirers of Burns is the National Burns Memorial and Cottage Homes, situated to the North-west of the town, the former of which was opened to the public on Saturday, 7th May, 1898, by Mr J. G. A. Baird of Adamton, M.P. The idea of erecting a monument to the Poet near to the home of his manhood emanated from, and was carried to a successful termination by, the members of Glasgow Mauchline Society. A year or two ago, through public subscriptions and donations, the sum required for the Building Scheme, amounting to some £5000, had been secured, and since then an Endowment Fund has been process of accumulation. The first sod was cut on Saturday, 4th July, 1896, and on the 23rd day of the same month the foundation stone was laid according to the rites of ancient Free Masonry by Mr H. R. Wallace, P.G.M. of Ayrshire. The enthusiasm displayed by the people of Mauchline on the latter occasion bore unmistakable evidence of the deeply-rooted affection they cherish for the memory of their fellow-townsman. Work was generally suspended, flags, bunting, and banners bearing appropriate inscriptions were profusely displayed ; a procession was formed, which extended to fully a mile in length; a banquet took place in a marquee erected within Netherplace grounds; and a concert was given in the Temperance Hall in the evening.
The National Burns Memorial, designed by Mr Wm. Fraser, architect Glasgow, consists of a tower and cottages and is intended not only to do honour to the Ploughman Bard, but confer substantial benefits on a deserving though necessarily limited portion of the community, to whom is give the use of the cottages rent free with, if possible, a small money allowance. The buildings have been erected on a triangular piece of ground midway between Mauchline and the farm of Mossgiel, at the junction of the Tarbolton and Kilmarnock Roads, and in the immediate vicinity of the fields in which Burns crushed the "Wee modest, crimson-tipped flower" and turned up the mouse's nest with his ploughshare.
The tower- a square-built, turreted structure, in the old baronial style of architecture- is 67 feet in height.
The entrance doorway is placed in the southern side of the building, and leads into the hall, at the northern end of which is the circular stairway. The apartment measures 17ft. 4in. in height and 14ft. square. The second and third flats are of similar dimensions, though the space from floor to ceiling is fully 2ft. less, being 15ft. respectively. The whole interior of the building is utilised as a museum for relics of Burns and other articles of interest. From the top of the tower, a height of 51½ ft., a magnificent and far-reaching view of the surrounding country is obtained:
The Cottages simple and tasteful in design, consist of three single and three double apartments, and are situated immediately behind the Tower. They have been tenanted since the November previous to the opening ceremony .
There is a very appropriate site in front of the Tower for a statue of " Bonnie Jean."
The Cross extends from the Jolly Beggars' Howf eastward to the top of the street, then northward to High Street-a somewhat round the corner arrangement. But in the good old times High Street, Castle Street, Loudoun Street, and the Cowgate, were the only thoroughfares, neither Earl Grey Street nor the New Road being opened up.
The large building forming the eastern side of the Cross was formerly known as "The Place," and was built in 1756 by one of the Earls of Eglington, as a residence for two of the female scions of the noble house of Montgomery. A notable feature in connection with this building is the archway entrance from High Street to the courtyard. High Street leads to the Townhead, the Loan Green, and Sorn Road. The Green is the only public recreation ground the town can boast of. From time immemorial the Fairs have been held here.
The Monument on the Green was erected by parochial subscription in 1885, "In memory of Peter GiIlies, John Bryce, Thomas Young, William Fiddison, and John Bruning, buried here on the spot where they were hanged on 6th May, 1685, for adherence to the covenanted work of reformation." This obelisk is the third memorial stone erected on this site in memory of the five martyrs buried beneath. The original stone with inscription intact is now inserted a few yards off in the wall facing the side of this monument. The second stone, bearing date 1830, was a copy of the original.
Mauchline Public School, adjacent to the Loan Green, was opened in 1889. It occupies the site of the old Educational Institution, erected in 1847, at the expense of the late Mr James Stewart. The Stewart Trust Fund, besides providing six bursaries of £5 each, tenable for two years, supplies the majority of the Scholars with their class books gratis. From this fund the School Board also receives the sum of £40 annually.
Mauchline Water Supply formerly was obtained from an artesian well at the upper end of the Green. Of recent years, however, a new Water Scheme for the town was undertaken and carried out by the County authorities. This supply, which is from a similar source, is an abundant one for present requirements, and is stored in two capacious reservoirs, the larger of which is situated on the south side of Mauchline hill, and from it the water is conveyed direct to consumers. The new supply was inaugurated in the latter part of 1901, previous to which the supply pipes were re-laid throughout the district.
The Temperance Hall, an attractive structure in New Road, accommodates 500 people. This building includes the Lesser Hall, where the Public Library is located. The Library contains over 2000 volumes.
The industries of Mauchline comprise the extensive Fancy Wood Work Factories of Messrs W. & A. Smith, the oldest and the original works of this kind in the town, which have outlived several contemporary rivals in the trade, and which, after a period of felt depression, are now giving signs of reviving activity, a state of things full of hopeful promise for the town. Other industries are the Ballochmyle Quarries, leased by Mr Bain; the Barskimming Quarries, leased by Messrs Baird & Stevenson, Glasgow; Mr Andrew Pollock's Agricultural Implement Works; Messrs T. & A. Kay's Curling Stone Factory at Burnside; the Curling Stone Factory at the Haugh; and the Ballochmyle Creamery, also at the Haugh; besides the other businesses usually carried on in country towns.
Visitors who patronise the hiring establishments will find their arrangements both extensive and satisfactory.
There are six licensed establishments in the town- The Loudoun Arms Hotel, the Black Bull Hotel, the Market Inn, Poosie Nansie's; and in the High Street, the Thistle Inn and the Ballochmyle Inn.
As a "health resort" Mauchline has few equals. Feuing ground is plentiful and inviting, building material abundant, and any who are in search of a site possessing desirable surroundings should not fail to give the town a visit.
WALKS AND DRIVES.
THE foot of High Street is the most central point in town, as well as the most suitable starting place. Proceeding northward by the New Road, on the left is the Post Office, on which a public clock might be placed, and nearly opposite is the Temperance Hall and Public Library. A good view can also be got of the Castle. At the end of New Road, on the right hand, is the extensive but unpretentious Fancy Wood Work Factory of Messrs W.& A. Smith. A little further along on the left an entrance leads to Netherplace, the residence of Mr James Baird Thorneycroft. At the junction of the Kilmarnock and Tarbolton Roads stands the imposing structure of the National Burns Memorial Tower, with the Cottage Homes adjacent. Crosshands is on the Kilmarnock Road, and about three miles from Mauchline. At Crosshands there is a school under the management of Mauchline School Board. To reach Mossgiel follow the Tarbolton Road, which branches of to the left, about half a mile from Mauchline. On the way a few large boulders and a scraggy hawthorn attract notice. Burns designated the one the "drucken steps," and the other the "lousie thorn."
In the farmhouse are a facsimile of the song and letter sent by Burns to the "Lass of Ballochmyle," and a book in which visitors may inscribe their names. Little now remains of the Mossgiel of the poet's time. The plain, low house of one room and kitchen has given place to a modern two-storey dwelling. What could be utilised of the old building was incorporated in the new; but a portion of the southern and eastern gables is all that remains intact of the original house. The hedge in front of the dwelling is said to have been planted by Burns and his brother Gilbert. While the poet lived here he wrote "The Cottar's Saturday Night," "Jolly Beggars," "Holly Willies Prayer," and many of his best known songs.
On the public roadway in former days the good people of Mauchline were wont to hold their annual race meeting, the course being from the junction of the Kilmarnock and Tarbolton Roads to the foot of the incline at Skeoch Hill. A tunnel burrows the southern side of this hill. It proved quite a formidable engineering feat, and was one of the greatest obstacles the Glasgow &. South-Western Railway Coy. had to overcome in carrying their line into Dumfriesshire, an inflow of water having for a time threatened to make the undertaking a failure.
Tarbolton is about three miles distant from this point. The town and neighbourhood abound with reminiscences of Burns. Besides, there are many objects of interest to the antiquary- among others, the alleged burial -place of "Au1d King Coil " in Coilsfield Park, Fail Castle, and traces of a reputed Roman Camp at Parkmoor. Peden, the famous Covenanter and preacher, was schoolmaster for a time at Tarbolton. Lochlea and Willie's Mill are passed on the way. On the outskirts of the village is Hood's Hill, where from time immemorial on the night before the June Fair a huge fire has been kindled, and the inhabitants gather together-the young to dance and play, the old to gossip of a bygone day.
Is about three miles from Mauchline, on the Ayr Road. Loudoun Street is the starting point. The entrance at the gateway adjoining the Loudoun Arms Hotel was at one time the northern outlet from the town, and now forms an approach to Netherplace House. Near Failford lodge gate Mauchline Burn crosses the road, and ultimately joins the Ayr at Burnfoot. Failford House (also known as "Big Smeeston "), the property of Mrs Cooper, but in the occupancy of Mr Coulson, is beautifully situated on slightly rising ground, and surrounded by well-wooded policies. At the village of Failford, amid scenery of the most romantic nature, the water of Fail loses itself in the Ayr.
An hospital was established at Failford in 1849, under the settlement of the late Mr Alexander Cooper. The said settlement provides:-"No persons shall be admitted as inmates of the house excepting such as have been five years resident in the parishes of Tarbolton or Mauchline, who are upwards of 40 years of age, and who, either from misfortune or infirmity, are unable to support themselves, and who have not been in the habit at any time of public begging." There are eight inmates in the house, four from each of the parishes named. Failford is distant nearly three miles from Tarbolton, and eight miles from Ayr.
A little further on is the Castle of Montgomerie, or Coilsfield, where Burns was wont to visit Highland Mary. The present mansion house is not the one in which she served, having been built in the beginning of last century, but the "banks and braes and streams around" are just as fair as in the days of old.
BARSKIMMING ROAD and MAUCHLINE MOOR.
THE street branching off in front of the Loudoun Arms Hotel forms part of Barskimming Road. Mauchline Cemetery is short distance along this road and beyond the Railway bridge. Nearly opposite the Cemetery gate, on the Barskimming estate, were the quarries leased by Messrs Baird and Stevenson, Glasgow, where operations were commenced in 1891. Now the workings are situated considerably to the south of their first location, and are very extensive. A line of rails is laid connecting the works with the Glasgow & South-Western Railway. The rock, like that in the Ballochmyle Quarries (leased by Mr Marcus Bain) is red sandstone of excellent quality, and the strata is of unusual thickness. Ballochmyle Quarries are close to the Haugh Road, and can be reached by the first turning to the left after passing the cemetery. The turning to the right leads to Gowkthorn, and joins the Ayr Road. Haugh village is about a mile westward from the last-named quarries. Going from Mauchline, Ballochmyle Quarries are reached by the opening to the left on the Station Road.
It was probably in the vicinity of the Cemetery (a portion of the Moor of bygone times) that the skirmish took place in 1648, between Middleton's troops and the yeomen. Accounts of the encounter are contradictory. But there can be no doubt the Reformers sustained defeat, as 65 of their number were taken to Ayr and tried by court-martial- their leaders being sentenced to be hanged or shot, a sentence which happily was not carried out.
On this moor, too, but near the site of the Railway Station, the famous preacher and martyr, George Wishart, addressed a great crowd of people in 1544. Being refused the use of the Church, some of his friends proposed to force an entrance, but he dissuaded them, saying:-" It is the word of peace I preach unto you : the blood of no man shall be shed for it this day. Christ is as mighty in the fields as in the Church."
Continuing the journey from the Cemetery, Barskimming lodge gate is about half a mile away. Barskimming estate belonged at one time to Sir Thomas Millar, Lord President of the Court of Session, who built the noted Barskimming Bridge towards the end of the eighteenth century. Meantime the mansion house is occupied by the family of the late Sheriff Anderson. On the estate are also the Swinging Bridge of Stairaird, and below Barskimming Mill the turnpike road is carried over the river Ayr by a bridge of considerable antiquity and interest. The Ayr floors through the policies, at some points between precipitous banks of great height, crowned with dense masses of foliage, which impart much beauty to the scene. A number of caves have been cut out in the rocks on the banks of the river. They have a height of nearly seven feet. The "Coach Caves" are large enough to admit an ordinary vehicle. Barskimming mill, a little higher up the river than the bridge, was the scene of a destructive fire in October 1882. Near the mill Lugar water joins the Ayr. The Haugh, a short distance from this point on the banks of the Ayr, can be reached by a footpath through the field at the bend in the road after passing the milestone. Here a woollen mill, a margarine factory, and a curling-stone factory are carried on. The village has a quaint, picturesque appearance, and is nicely situated in a sheltered hollow. In this neighbourhood the banks of the Ayr are well wooded and of exquisite beauty. The river can be crossed either by the suspension bridge or the ford. A new bridge was erected a year ago, the cost being defrayed partly by public subscription and partly by the County authorities.
Belonging to the family of the late Major General Sir Claud Alexander, Bart, but presently leased and occupied by Mr H. Allan, ship owner, and Miss Allan, lies south-east from Mauchline. Proceeding along Earl Grey Street, Mansefield Road is passed on the left, Beechgrove on the right, and almost contiguous to the Cowgate; while on the opposite side of the road the Parish Church Manse occupies a conspicuous site. It was built in 1792, and had a glebe of nine acres, now partly feued. Near by is the Bowling Green, which can be entered from the Cumnock Road, and also from the Welton Road at the back of the Manse. At Viewfield the road opens out in two directions, and here the avenue leading from the Railway Station terminates. The direct road to Catrine branches off to the left, while that to the right leads to Cumnock. The principal entrance to Ballochmyle is fully a mile distant from the town on the Catrine Road. A thoroughfare strikes off here to the right, and merges into the Cumnock Road. Ballochmyle policies extend to over 300 acres. are well timbered and tastefully laid out. The mansion-house has been added to and remodelled several times; the latest enlargement being carried out by the late proprietor during the years 1889-90. The scenery surrounding the house is of the most fascinating nature, more especially the Braes of Ballochmyle, which are thus described by Chambers in his "Illustrations of the Land of Burns:" "Bending in a concave form a miniature of steep bank and precipice, clothed with the most luxuriant natural wood, while a fine river (the Ayr) sweeps round beneath them, they form a scene of bewildering beauty, exactly such as a poet would love to dream in during a July eve." By his songs of "The Bonnie Lass o' Ballochmyle" and "Catrine Woods," Burns has also added additional attraction to the locality. Entrance to the grounds can only be obtained by special permission.
KINGENCLEUGH CASTLE AND BALLOCHMYLE VIADUCT
Are both reached by Cumnock Road. Grassmillees Cottages are about three-quarters of a mile distant from Mauchline, and nearly opposite to them is the avenue leading to Kingencleugh House. The castle, to which no direct entrance exists, is finely situated in a field in front of the modern structure. Kingencleugh was the residence successively of Hew and Robert Campbell, both ardent reformers in their time; and by these gentlemen George Wishart and John Knox were entertained here. Knox also preached at this castle when he visited Mauchline in 1556. And when on his death bed it was to Robert Campbell the great preacher said: "I rely on you becoming to them (his wife and children) as a husband and a father in my room." Kingencleugh now forms part of the Ballochmyle estate. The castle is a ruin and roofless, but the remaining walls are a good state of repair. It overlooks Lily Glen -beauteous, wild, and rugged-through which a petulant rivulet forces its way to the river Ayr.
Pathhead is only a short distance from Grassmillees Cottages along the Cumnock Road. Here a tiny suspension bridge spans the roadway. By this footbridge, or by a gateway near by on the Cumnock Road, access can be got to the "Big Brig." When erected, this viaduct was the largest in Europe, and has deservedly continued to attract the admiration of thousands who have come from all parts of the world to see it. It is situated amidst the most romantic scenery. The river, overhung with "wild woods thickening green," winds tranquilly along, and mirrors those rich draperies which impart to it so high a charm. At Table Rock the banks rise about 90 feet from the surface of the stream, and are perpendicular and rocky. The bridge consists of seven arches of a semicircular form. The principal arch, which spans the river, is 180 feet 1 inch wide, and from the bed of the river to the top of the parapet 196 feet deep. The piers are 38 feet from front to back, and are founded on the solid rock. The three arches on each side of the centre one have each a span of 50 feet. With the exception of the stone forming the outside ring of the great arch, which was brought from Dundee, the material used in the construction of the bridge was quarried from the rock adjoining the viaduct on the Ballochmyle and Auchinleck estates. The centering on which the great arch was constructed consisted of 1200 logs of Baltic timber, each log being 14 inches in diameter. Several of the gates on the Ballochmyle estate were made from the scaffolding used while the bridge was being erected.
The foundation-stone of the viaduct was laid, according to the ancient usages of Masonry, on 5th September, 1846, by Mr George Fullarton of Fullarton, M.W.G.M. and P.G.M.; the keystone was driven on Thursday, 8th April, 1847, by Mr William Alexander; and the bridge was opened for traffic in 1848.
It may be noted that the inscription on the
bridge has never been completed. It concludes: "The last
stone of this structure was laid on the
day of ."
Although upwards of 400 hands were employed in constructing the bridge, no accident of a serious nature occurred. But one workman had a miraculous escape, having fallen through the scaffolding to the bed of the river, some 180 feet. He sustained no injury, and is said to have scrambled unaided from his awkward position.
The scenery between the bridge at Pathhead and Howford Bridge has lost much of its beauty by the removal of the timber from that portion of the Ballochmyle estate, but the young wood which has been planted is fast filling up the blank. A little beyond Howford Bridge is the entrance to Catrine House. In the district the house is frequently spoken of as "The Goat," probably from the fact that an inn bearing this name occupied a site near the river. The entrance in the good old coaching days was the highway to Carlisle. The road opposite the south lodge gate leads to Auchinleck House. Professor Dugald Stewart resided at Catrine House.
The village of Catrine is about a mile and a half from Howford Bridge, and fully two and a half miles easterly from Mauchline. Going by Howford Bridge, with the exception of Catrine House, no object of special interest attracts notice on the way until Catrine Public School is reached. The site it occupies was at one time the garden-ground attached to the residence of Professor Dugald Stewart. In this house Burns first "dinner'd wi' a lord" (Lord Daer). The building, now a farmhouse, is situated behind Stewart Place.
As yet, Catrine does not enjoy the advantage of direct railway communication, but the "missing link" supplied by well appointed conveyances, which run to and from Mauchline Railway Station in connection with all the passenger trains. A branch railway, however, which leaves the main line a little to the south of Mauchline Station, and proceeds direct to the east end of Catrine, has been under construction for the past few years, and it is fully expected will be opened for traffic during the present year.
The older portion of the village was built in 1787, when the late Mr Claud Alexander of Ballochmyle, in partnership with Mr David Dale of Glasgow, established their extensive spinning factory.
A " Plan of Catrine about 1787, " (kindly sent us) shows the hamlet at that date consisted of eleven buildings, including the smithy and corn mill. On said plan the smithy is located where the brewery has been erected, and the corn mill is placed near the lade at the entrance to Cornmill Street. In accompanying footnote the houses and occupants names are given in the following order:- Smiddie, John Hendrie's house, James Campbell's house, Adam Clark's house, William McGaan's house, Corn Mill, Kate Beck's house, James Urquhart's house, Robert Jamie's house, Jane Nicol's house, Andrew Cowan's house.
In the beginning of last century the factory was purchased by Messrs James Finley & Co., of Glasgow. The business is still carried on by that firm, the principal proprietor being Sir John Muir, Bart., ex-Lord Provost of Glasgow. By them the works were greatly enlarged, and in 1823 they added extensive bleaching works. The motive-power for the works is supplied by two large iron wheels, erected in 1828, with steam engines of 500 h.p. as auxiliary. Formerly wooden wheels, made from oak grown on Drumlanrig estate, supplied the motive power. When constructed, the iron wheels were the largest in Britain, and at the present time they have few equals anywhere. The following, according to an almanac published by the Catrine Co-operative Society, are their dimensions:- "The diameter of each of the iron wheels is 50 feet, equal to 157 feet in circumference, and 12 feet broad, o r 11 feet within the buckets. There are 120 buckets on each wheel. Each bucket contains 11 cubic feet of water. The wheels make three revolutions per minute, and pass 360 buckets per minute, equal to 3,960 cubic feet of water for one wheel or 7,920 for the two, equal to 210 tons of water per minute. They are 500 nominal horsepower." These wheels are well worth visiting, and can be seen at any time during working hours on making application to the wheel-keeper.
In 1802 two artificial lochs, covering between them 120 acres, were constructed above Muirkirk, near the village of Glenbuck, to supply the Cotton Works at Catrine of Messrs Finlay & Co. The Water of Ayr (smooth water), rises out of these and flows through the village of Muirkirk, a small stream, and then among holms and haughs through an open moor, till joined by a little stream which rises near Priesthill, and by "the haunted Garpel," it becomes a large body of water.
Catrine has an attractive appearance, the general effect of the place being considerably heightened by the natural background provided in the verdure clad and partly wooded ridge, which, rising to some altitude and running parallel with the village throughout its length, lends picturesqueness to the seen. In the lee of this the village nestles closely. Its principal thoroughfares are Mill Street (some ninety feet wide), The Square, and St.Germain Street, which boasts some imposing buildings, notably the Royal Bank and the new three -storey Co-operative buildings. In the middle of the first named is an open "lade" through which the overflow water from the mill-wheel has its outlet. Visitors may look upon it as a pit dug for the unwary, but it has been the cause of few mishaps. The gigantic works of the Catrine Company are at the end of the street. Their peculiar style of architecture gives them an imposing appearance. Catrine Brewery is the only other business of more than ordinary importance carried on here. In the neighbourhood are the Gilmilnscroft and other collieries. The population of Catrine in 1881 was 2638; in 1891, 2458; and in 1901, 2340.
In the village there are four places of worship:- the Parish; the Free (now St. Cuthbert's U.F.); the U. P. (now Catrine West U. F.); and the E.U. (now the Congregational E.U.) Churches. There is a fine Board School and a Public Hall-the Wilson Hall.
A few years ago, through the munificence of Mr A. M. Brown of Gryffe Castle (an esteemed partner of Messrs James Finlay & Co., who has ever evinced a thoughtful and benevolent interest in all that concerns their welfare.) the villagers were presented with a handsome and commodious Institute, which bears the donor's name. The building, which has a Clock-tower with public clock, contains the Public Library and Reading Room, with a smaller Reading Room for Ladies, two Billiard Rooms, other Recreation Room, and a Gymnasium. The Institute is conveniently situated on the south bank of the river Ayr, and is open to visitors at a merely nominal charge.
Continuing the journey from Catrine, Sorn is two miles distant, but four east ward from Mauchline. The village occupies a secluded spot on the banks of the river Ayr. The Parish Church is one of the few built in Episcopal times, being erected in 1658. In 1692 Sorn was disjoined from the parish of Mauchline, of which it originally formed part. At the bi-centenary celebrations in 1892 the parishioners presented to the church four silver communion cups and two patens. In the sacred building are three stained glass windows-two of them presented by Mrs Somervell in memory of her late husband, Mr Graham Somervell, who died in 1881, and her son, Lieutenant Louis Somervell, who was killed at Tel-el-Kebir in the following year; and the other by the officers of the 78th Seaforth Highlanders in memory of Lieutenant Trevor Farquhar of Gilminlnscroft, who died of fever in the Black Mountain Expedition of 1888.
Sorn Parish includes the villages of Catrine, Glenlogan, Gilmilnscroft, and Montgarswood Bridgend.
The population of the parish in 1881 was 4,255; in 1891, 3,919; and in 1901, 3,832.
The principal attractions in the neighbourhood of Sorn are Sorn Castle; Cleugh Glen, and the caves in which the famous covenanting minister, Alexander Peden, spent many of the later days of his life. Peden was born in Sorn in 1626, and came home to his brother's to die, his death occurring in 1686.
Sorn Castle occupies a picturesque site on a rock overhanging the river Ayr, surrounded by scenery of the most attractive description. The Castle is of high but unknown antiquity. In 1406 it became, with the manor of Sorn and other lands in Kyle, the property of Andrew Hamilton, third son of Sir David Hamilton, ancestor of the Duke of Hamilton. During the persecutions under Charles II. the Castle was taken possession of as a fortalice of the Royal forces and seat of a garrison for overawing the Covenanters. The Castle and pertinents came by marriage to the Earls of Winton; then by purchase to the Earls of Loudoun; and, towards the close of the eighteenth century were bought by the Somervell family.
After passing the grounds enclosing Sorn Castle, the scenery skirting the main road is commonplace enough, Montgarswood Bridgend, with its background of dark firs and skirted by a rivulet, being the most pleasing feature on the way. Here a few "ruined cottages" bear evidence of a decaying population. Blacksidend Hill, the highest and bleakest ground in the district, has an altitude of 1,540 feet above sea level.
Rachael Brae, one mile from Mauchline, bears a questionable reputation, Uncanny lichts are said to have been seen there o' nichts, and the rhyme-
"A Wilson bred, and a Wilson born,
Will get the siller 'neath Rachel Thorn,"
indicates that treasure lies buried on the brae.
From the top of the incline-"the hilltap"- a magnificent view can be had. Immediately in front is the southern portion of Ayrshire, having the extensive heights of Galloway for a background; westward, the waters of the Firth of Clyde shimmer in the light, guarded by the Kintyre coast; near by are the rugged peaks of Arran, with the Paps of Jura looming up behind; while northward lofty Ben Lomond crowns the less pretentious hills of Renfrewshire.
The path to the right joins the road to Auchmillan, and connects with Kilmarnock Road. Auchmillan is a clachan of the tiniest dimensions. Both coal and limestone were obtained from the abandoned quarry adjacent to the bridge.
FORMERLY there was a Coaching Tour twice a week from Mauchline Station in connection with the morning trains from Glasgow and Carlisle. Although discontinued during the past few years, the Tour makes a most enjoyable drive through interesting country. The route is through the finest scenery in the south-west of Scotland, and embraces Mauchline, Tarbolton, Catrine, and Ochiltree. Leaving Mauchline Station about half-past ten the tourist reaches Mauchline by the high road, and has the opportunity of visiting scenes well known to the student of Burns,-The Churchyard (the scene of "The Holy Fair "); the Jolly Beggars' Howf (Poosie Nancy's Hostelry, where the scene of "The Jolly Beggars" was laid); Johnny Dow's, the Cowgate, and Nance Tannock's, being all within crying distance. Leaving Mauchline by Loudoun Street, the road runs through a noble avenue of trees past Smithston to Failford on the banks of the Ayr, and near the confluence of the Water of Fail with the classic stream. Skirting the policies of Montgomerie Castle, Tarbolton is reached, where time is allowed to view the Burns' relics, and visit the house where Burns was made a Mason. Leaving Tarbolton, Willie's Mill and Lochlea are seen to the right and left. Turning Skeoch Hill, from which a very extensive view is to be had, Mossgiel comes in sight-a halt being made at the road-end to enable votaries to pay their vows at the shrine of him who immortalised the "mouse" and "daisy." Starting again, the route runs through Mauchline. After Ballochmyle Viaduct has been brought within view a turn to the left is made, and by a nice winding road which skirts the policies of Ballochmyle ( belonging to the family of the late Major-General Sir Claud Alexander, Bart.), Catrine is reached, where preparations have been made for the tourists to satisfy the inner man.
An hour having been spent here, during which the visitor should not fail to see the famous twin water-wheels, the journey is resumed, and, by the road skirting the policies of Auchinleck House, Ochiltree (with its Castle where Knox and Claverhouse got their wives) is reached. The road now runs for two miles parallel to the Lugar, and soon Barskimming Auld Brig is reached, from which a very fine prospect is obtained. Ascending the hill Mauchline is gained in time to catch the five o'clock train for Glasgow.
Local information 1903