the way through Ayrshire - 100 years ago
Kilmarnock. The town of NEWMILNS, the capital of the parish, is
seven and a half miles east of Kilmarnock, and stands on the north bank
of the Irvine, with a wing called Greenholm on the south
bank, which is in the parish of Galston. It is not a new but an
old town, having been made a burgh of barony in the reign of James
It has a terminal railway
station, lace and muslin manufactories, a grain mill, lots of shops; a
pas" office, with telegraph, money order, and savings bank
departments; Royal and Clydesdale Banks; Established, Free, and United
Presbyterian Churches; two public schools, and a working menís
institute. Population in 1871, 3028; in 1881, 2860.
Its chief antiquity is
an old tower, notable in the history of the
Covenanters. The Established
Church here will always be held venerable, in memory of the Rev.
Dr. Laurie, minister of Loudoun,
the first Christian minister who exerted himself in behalf of the
poverty stricken and persecuted young poet Burns.
contains several martyrsí monuments, one of them in memory of Captain
of Hardhill, one of the toughest
of the Covenant heroes. He was a descendant of Murdoch,
one of the Lollards of Kyle.
In early youth he was engaged in military service on the Continent;
returned to Scotland in 1650, at the age of 23; accepted the
Covenant with King Charles II.
at Scone, and fought many battles for his persecuted Christian brethren.
He was amongst the Presbyterians
of Ayrshire who suffered defeat at
Pentland Hills, 40 of them being killed and 130 taken prisoners. Nisbet
was left lying on the field for dead, November, 1666. But the
hero had more persecution to endure, and more battles to fight for his
countryís freedom to worship God. Being of the same genuine
Loudoun stuff as those who fought and conquered with Wallace and with
Bruce at Loudoun Hill, he rallied, and found his way home; was present,
with the rank of Captain, at Drumclog, where Claverhouse
was defeated, June, 1679, and at Bothwell Bridge, where
the Presbyterians were completely overwhelmed with numbers, and defeated
with great slaughter, June 22, 1679. "Honest old John
Nisbet "-as Sir William
Hamilton, the Commander at Drumclog,
styled him-was captured by the enemy, at Fenwick, in 1685,
conveyed to Edinburgh, and executed. He met his death with great
fortitude, Here is another martyrís tombstone in a kail yard. Newmilns
has cultivated environs, delightfully figured with woods and rippling
burns, on both sides of the river.