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Fullarton, Ayrshire

Historical Description

FULLARTON, lately a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Dundonald, district of Kyle, county of Ayr, 6½ miles (W.) from Kilmarnock, and 11 (N.) from Ayr; containing 3103 inhabitants. This place, which is situated on the south-western bank of the river Irvine, derives its name from its ancient proprietors, the Fullartons, by one of whom a convent was founded in 1240, on the site of the present town, and amply endowed for friars of the Carmelite order. The establishment continued to flourish till the Reformation, when it was suppressed; and while laying out the lands in allotments for the erection of the town, vestiges of the ancient building, consisting of the foundations of its walls, were discovered near the mansion-house of the founder. The town forms a populous suburb to the burgh of Irvine, on the opposite bank of the river. It is well built, and consists chiefly of two streets, one in a line extending at right angles from the main street of Irvine, with which it is connected by a handsome bridge; the other running up at a right angle from the bridge, or parallel with the river, and pointing towards Ayr: several smaller streets diverge in various directions. Its situation on the harbour of the Irvine gives to the place a very interesting appearance, which is much heightened by the beauty of the surrounding scenery, and the numerous pleasing villas in the immediate vicinity.

A public library in connexion with Irvine is supported by subscription. The inhabitants are chiefly seafaring people, or employed in hand-loom weaving for the manufacturers of Ayr and Glasgow, and in the various handicraft trades connected with the wants of the neighbourhood. Great facility of intercourse is afforded by the Glasgow and Ayr railway, which has its Irvine station here. In 1707, William Fullarton, Esq., the superior, obtained for the inhabitants a charter erecting the town into a burgh of barony, with the privilege of two annual fairs; but from the proximity of Irvine, the charter does not appear to have been carried into effect. Fullarton was separated from the parish, under an act of the General Assembly, in 1838, and, with a part of the estate of Shewalton, was formed for ecclesiastical purposes into a distinct parish, since abolished, but now about to be divided from Dundonald for both civil and ecclesiastical purposes. The church, erected in 1838, on a site presented by the Lord Justice General, is a handsome substantial structure containing 900 sittings. The minister, who is chosen by a committee of subscribers, has a stipend of £88. 6. 8., derived from seat-rents and collections, and guaranteed by bond. A school in connexion with the Established Church is supported by the General Assembly, who allow the master a salary of £15, in addition to the fees: the school-house, capable of containing 300 children, was erected at an expense of £500, obtained from the trustees of Dr. Bell's bequest for educational purposes.

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