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Innerkip, Renfrewshire

Historical Description

INNERKIP, a parish, in the Lower ward of the county of Renfrew; including the village of Gourock, and containing 3420 inhabitants, of whom 431 are in the village of Innerkip, 6 miles (S. W. by W.) from Greenock. This parish, the name of which, originally Inverkip, is derived from its situation at the mouth of the river Kip, formerly included the parish of Greenock, which was separated from it by charter, obtained by Sir John Shaw of Wester Greenock in 1589, and ratified by parliament in 1594. The parish is about seven miles in length and six in breadth, and is bounded on the north and west by the Firth of Clyde, on the east by the parish of Greenock, and on the south by the parish of Largs in the county of Ayr. Its coast is indented with several bays, the principal of which are Gourock on the north, and Lunderston, Innerkip, and Wemyss, on the west. The surface has a gradual ascent from the shore towards the south-east, and is beautifully diversified with level plains and gentle undulations, and intersected by small rivulets, flowing in some parts through verdant meadows, and in others disappearing in thickly-wooded glens. The principal rivers are the Kip and the Daff, which latter forms a confluence with the Kip near its influx into the bay of Innerkip. Along the shore the soil is light and sandy, in the higher grounds of heavier quality, but much intermixed with gravel. The whole number of acres has not been ascertained: more than half the parish is moorland, of which a considerable part is undivided common; there is a large extent of natural meadow and pasture, and but a small proportion is arable. The farmers rely more upon the produce of the dairy, for which they find profitable markets, than on the cultivation of the soil. Considerable improvement has, notwithstanding, been made in the system of agriculture; furrow-draining has been adopted with success, and some small portions of waste land have been reclaimed. The rocks are principally of the old red sandstone formation, and towards Wemyss bay are intersected with trap: in the upper part of the parish, sandstone of fine quality has been extensively quarried for building. The annual value of real property in Innerkip is £14,205.

The scenery throughout is pleasingly diversified; and the higher grounds embrace extensive and interesting prospects. Ardgowan House, the seat of Sir Michael Robert Shaw Stewart, is an elegant mansion, beautifully situated on the shore near Innerkip bay, embosomed in thriving plantations, and commanding a fine view over the Firth of Clyde. Kelly, the seat of the family of Wallace, is also a handsome mansion, on the shore of Wemyss bay, and embellished with plantations. There are several other good houses belonging to different proprietors. The village is pleasantly situated on the banks of the river Kip, near its influx into the Clyde; it is chiefly inhabited by fishermen, and is much frequented during the season for sea-bathing. There are some well-furnished houses for the accommodation of visiters; and a post-office, subordinate to that of Greenock, has been established here. Facility of communication is afforded by an excellent turnpike-road from Greenock. Ecclesiastically the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Greenock, synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The minister's stipend is £278. 14. 6., with a manse, and a glebe of four acres; patron, Sir Michael Robert Shaw Stewart. Innerkip parish church is a neat modern structure, containing sufficient accommodation for the population. A church has been erected in the district of Gourock, of which an account will be found under the head of Gourock. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £30. 15., but no house, and the fees average £26 per annum. On the lands of Ardgowan are some remains of the ancient mansion-house, consisting of a venerable tower; and over the Dunrod rivulet is a very antique bridge. Nearly opposite to the Cloch lighthouse, the Comet steam-boat was run down by the Ayr steam-packet, about five and twenty years ago, in the night, when upwards of fifty persons found a watery grave.

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