Barr, Ayrshire

Historical Description

BARR, a parish, in the district of Carrick, county of Ayr, 8 miles (E. S. E.) from Girvan; containing 959 inhabitants, of whom about 230 are in the village, it is supposed to have derived its name from the almost inaccessible site of the ancient village, surrounded on all sides by rugged hills of precipitous elevation, and only to be approached by a narrow and wild glen, frequently impassable from the swelling of a small stream which intersects it, and which in winter attains the violence of a torrent. This parish, which formed a natural barrier between the counties of Ayr and Galloway, was included in the parishes of Girvan and Dailly till the year 1653, when it was erected into a parish of itself. It comprises nearly 70,000 acres, of which only 1200 are arable, and not above 1000 more capable of being rendered profitable. The surface is mostly an extensive level, with various ridges of different elevation, two of which rise from the banks of the river Stinchar to the height of nearly 1200 feet; while a third, in a direction nearly parallel to these, on the south-east, is about 1400 feet above the sea. Another range, forming part of that chain of mountainous heights stretching from Ayrshire into Galloway, has an elevation of nearly 2700 feet. The chief rivers are, the Stinchar, which has its source in this parish, and taking a south-western course, falls into the sea at Ballantrae; and the Minnoch, which, rising in the highest ridge of hills, flows southward through the lands, and falls into the river Cree, a stream that separates this parish from the county of Galloway. In its course of nearly fifteen miles through the parish, the Stinchar forms a beautiful cascade of about thirty feet; and most of the smaller burns with which the parish abounds, in their several courses fall from heights, with various degrees of beauty. There are numerous lakes of different extent, varying in depth from six to fifteen feet, all of which afford trout of a dark colour, and also yellow trout. The scenery is dreary, from the want of wood, of which there is scarcely any in the parish.

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