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Craigie and Barnweill, Ayrshire

Historical Description

CRAIGIE and BARNWEILL, a parish, in the district of KYLE, county of AYR, 4 miles (S.) from Kilmarnock; containing 779 inhabitants. Craigie was disjoined from the parish of Riccarton in 1647, and in 1673 it received an increase of boundary by the annexation of the suppressed parish of Bamweill, the larger part of the stipend of which, however, was transferred to the minister of the newly-erected parish of Stair. The parish is about seven miles long, and one and a half broad. Its scenery is pleasingly varied; the hills near the church rise about 500 feet above the level of the sea, and are covered with verdure to the summit, excepting where a craggy rock occasionally protrudes. The views presented from the heights are extensive and beautiful, and the lands are ornamented with several lochs, some of which, however, are partly in adjoining parishes; Loch Brown covers nearly 100 acres, and is about half in this parish, the remaining part being in those of Mauchline and Tarbolton. The parish comprises 6300 acres of land, almost entirely under cultivation. The principal kind of grain raised, and nearly the only kind, is oats; the pastures are extensive; several tracts are under rye-grass and meadow-grass, and the remainder of the green crops consist of beans, potatoes, and a few turnips. In this parish the farms average ahout ninety acres; and besides a tolerable proportion of sheep, of a mixed breed, between 700 and 800 milch-cows are kept, and upwards of 400 young cows and calves: the milk is chiefly used for cheese, and the stock sold at Kilmarnock. A corn-mill is turned by the waters of one of the lochs. Various improvements have taken place in agriculture, but what has been most beneficial is furrow-draining, which has been carried to a great extent; the farm-houses are substantial and well fitted-up, and about half of them are slated. The plantations cover 170 acres. Three limestone-quarries, and a tile-work lately erected, are in operation; and coal of several kinds was formerly wrought. The annual value of real property in the parish is £8058.

There are three mansions, Cairnhill, Barnweill, and Underwood; the first consists of an ancient tower, still strong, and in very good repair, with a modern portion attached. Barnweill is a neat residence, built towards the latter part of the last century; and Underwood, a commodious house, was erected about the same time. Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Ayr, synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the patronage of James Campbell, Esq., of Craigie, the minister's stipend is £247, with a manse, and a glebe of five acres, valued at £10 per annum. The church, formerly called the Kirk in the Forest, is a neat plain edifice, built in 1776, and will accommodate 600 persons. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches, and in the classics, practical mathematics, and book-keeping; the master has a salary of £34, with a house, and £18 fees. The ruins of the church of Barnweill are still standing, and also those of Craigie Castle, a very ancient building, at one time inhabited by the Wallaces of Craigie, a collateral branch of the family of Sir William Wallace, the Scottish patriot. There are several artificial mounds called "law hills," on which culprits are supposed to have been formerly tried.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis