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Dailly, Ayrshire

Historical Description

DAILLY, a parish, in the district of CARRICK, county of AYR, 6 miles (S. by W.) from Maybole; containing 2272 inhabitants, of whom 591 are in the village. The parish is about seven miles in length, from east to west, and varies from four to six miles in breadth. Its surface is chiefly one extended valley, bounded on both sides by hills of moderate elevation, and enlivened by natural woods and thriving plantations; and the prospect from the hills, including the winding course of the Girvan for nearly seven miles, in a direction parallel with the boundary of the parish, and meandering through large and beautiful domains, is extremely picturesque. The well-known Rock of Ailsa, which lies out between ten and fourteen miles from the Girvan shore, and is the abode of vast flocks of solan geese, forms part of the parish of Dailly: it is described under its own head. The soil near the river is light, but very productive. On the south side of the valley it is incumbent on a bed of gravel, and is peculiarly favourable for pasture; on the north side it is intermixed with clay. The whole number of acres is estimated at 17,000, whereof about 9000 are arable, 2500 in woods and plantations, and the remainder pasture and moorland, of which not more than about 300 appear capable of being brought into cultivation. The crops are wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, and turnips; the system of agriculture is greatly improved, and much of the moorland has been reclaimed. Great attention is paid to live stock: the cattle are of the Ayrshire breed, with a few of the Galloway, and some crosses between the Ayrshire and Teeswater breeds; the sheep are of three varieties, the black-faced, the Cheviot, and a cross between these two breeds. Embanking has been practised with success: to prevent the inundation to which the lands were subject from the river Girvan, and to shorten its course, a new channel about 210 yards in length was some time since formed, and on both sides of it a double embankment was raised. The woods consist of oak, ash, plane, elm, and birch, and the plantations are principally Scotch, larch, and spruce firs; they are well managed, and in a very thriving state. The annual value of real property in the parish is £10,695.

The substrata are chiefly coal, limestone, and freestone. The coal occurs in a large tract of elliptic form, about six miles in length, and 600 yards in breadth, forming part of the great coalfield extending from Edinburgh into the county of Ayr. It is of excellent quality; the quantity annually raised averages about 20,000 tons, and a great portion of it is shipped at Girvan for the coast of Ireland. The limestone, which is also of good quality, is extensively quarried at Craighead, on the Bargany estate, and at Blairhill, on the lands of Kilkerran; the quantity of lime annually produced is 100,000 bolls, each boll containing two Winchester bushels. The freestone is found in numerous places, but the most valuable occurs on the bases of the hills south of the coal basin, on the estate of Kilkerran, and the whitest and most compact lies near the centre of that tract. The materials for building the mansions of Kilkerran and Dalquharran, in this parish, and of Blairquhan, in the parish of Straiton, were raised from the freestone-quarries here. Kilkerran and Darquharran are handsome houses, pleasantly situated in demesnes richly embellished with plantations; and further down the river, in grounds laid out with exquisite taste, stand the mansion-house of Bargany and the castle of Killochen. The village has been greatly enlarged and improved within the last few years; the new parts of it are regularly built, and the houses of neat appearance. It has a post-office under that of Maybole.

For ECCLESIASTICAL purposes the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Ayr and synod of Glasgow and Ayr: patron, the Crown. The stipend of the incumbent is £348; the manse, built in 1801, is a comfortable residence, and the glebe comprises seven acres of land, valued at £15. 10. per annum. Dailly church, which is in the village, is a substantial edifice erected in 1766, and adapted for 600 persons. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school, which is also a grammar school, is well conducted; the master has a salary of £30, with a house and garden, and the fees average £25. A parochial library has been established, and is supported by subscription; it has nearly 200 volumes, chiefly on religious subjects. At Machry-Kill was formerly a small church or chapel dedicated to St. Macarius, from which circumstance that place took its name; and at the extremity of a wild and romantic dell near Kilkerran, abounding with picturesque features, was a chapel dedicated to the Virgin, from which the place still retains the appellation of the Lady Glen. At the western extremity of the ridge of hills that intersects the parish, are the remains of an ancient encampment of oval form, about 100 yards in length, and sixty-five in breadth at the centre. It is surrounded by a double intrenchment, of which the inner rampart is the more entire. It commands a most extensive view, and is supposed to have been connected with the history of Robert Bruce.

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