Notes on the way
through Ayrshire - 100 years ago
South of Kilmarnock,
and within the district of Kyle. The village of Riccarton
stands on the north verge of the parish, a bridge over the Irvine
connecting it with the burgh of Kilmarnock, of which it forms a part. It
contains an Established Church, occupying an elevated site and having a
prominent steeple, defining the south end of Kilmarnock; a public
school, and a post office. Population, 1889. It is a place of ancient
origin, having an affinity with Riccarton Castle - an old tower
which stood where the farm steading of Yardside is, and was for
generations the property and residence of the paternal ancestors of the
national hero, William Wallace.
It was made a burgh of barony in 1638. When Wallace’s
grandfather died, the property descended to Adam,
his eldest son; and Malcolm,
his second son, father of the hero, got "Elrisle, Auchinboth,
and oyir syndry place." But some of these places may have come to
him through his wife, the mother of the hero, who was a daughter of Sir
Ranald Crawford, hereditary
Sheriff, and probably the largest landowner in the shire. The patriot
hero was Malcolm’s
second son, and was born in 1276, but at which of the places we have
been unable to find out. It is generally believed, however, to have been
at Elderslie, Paisley. Riccarton, or Richardtoun, Castle is
supposed to have been built at a very early date by one of the Wallaces
whose name had been Riccard
Regarding the difference of spelling and pronunciation, it would be in
accordance with philologic science to say that Riccard
represents the original Scotch pronunciation, and the substitusion of
the ch for the cc or k sound is a Norman-French
innovation. A familiar example is the word church, which is a
Norman-French rendering of the Scotch word kirk. Henry
the Minstrel describes a perilous
had here with five English soldiers. The heroic youth, having slain an
Englishman at Dundee, made his escape with his mother home to Ayrshire,
and was staying with his uncle Adam
at Riccarton. Early one morning he went out fishing in the
Irvine, taking his valet or servant boy with him.
Aperill the thre-and-twenty day, Till Erewyn Wattir fyche to tak he went."
Before ten o’clock,
Lord Percy (English Governor of
Ayr Castle, which had fallen into his hands) rode by with a company of
English soldiers, five of whom, seeing Wallace, fell behind, demanding his
fish for their master. Wallace
replied in a conciliatory manner, saying it would be uncharitable to take
them all, and told his boy to give the soldiers a part of them. But one of
the soldiers dismounting with drawn sword to take the trouts by force, the
warlike spirit of the young giant rose in a moment. Unfortunately he had
come out without his sword, which he took care never to do again. He had
only the butt of his fishing rod or a stick for handling his net. Henry
" Wallas with it
fast on the cheik him tukl Wyth
so gud will, quhill of his feit he schuk.
The suerd flew fra
him a fur breid on the land. Wallas was glad, and hynt it sane in hand ;
And with the suerd
awkwart he him gave Wndyr the hat, his crage in sondre drawe.
Be that the layff
lychtyt about Wallas ; He had no help, only bot Goddis grace.
On athir side full
fast on him thai dange ; Gret perell was giff thai had lastyt lang.
Apon the hede in gret
ire he strak ane ; The sherand suard glaid to the
Ane othir on the arme
he hitt so hardely, Quhilk hand and suerd bathe on the feld ean ly.
The tother twa fled
to thar hors agayne ; He steckit him was last upon the playne.
Thre slew he thar,
twa fled with all thair mycht Aftir thar lord, bot he was out of sycht
Takand the mure, or
he and thai couth lwyne. Till him thai raid onon, or thai wad blyne,
And cryit ; Lord,
abide ; your men ar martyrit doun Rycht
cruelly, her in this fals regioun."
"Are the enemy
numerous?" inquired the alarmed General, " We saw only one, my
lord," was the demure reply, which set his lordship in a fit of
vocalist, was born in Riccarton, 1802. He commenced his first professional
tour in Scotland in 1836; sang also in England, France, and America. Sir
James Shaw was born at Mosshead,
Riccarton, August 26, 1764, and educated at the Grammar School, Kilmarnock.
When about 15 years of age he went to America, where he was employed in a
commercial house. Afterwards proceeding to London, he was made a partner
of the firm there; became Lord Mayor of London, 1805; was M.P. for
London from 1806 to 1818; created a Baronet in 1809. Sir
James endeared himself to Scotland
by the active part which he took in raising money in London for the
widow and children of Burns, and by
his extraordinary kindness in helping Scotch folk resident in London, as
well as the singularity of being the first Scotchman who had become chief
magistrate of that great city. Died in 1843. His statue in Kilmarnock is
by the artist Fillans- so much admired for his busts of
the poets Burns, Scott, Hogg,
Motherwell, and Cunningham -
and was unvailed August 4, 1848.
The town of HURLFORD
stands on the left bank of the Irvine, less than two miles east of
Riccarton. It has a railway station; Established, Free, and Roman Catholic
Churches; a large endowed public school; a post office, with telegraph,
money order, and savings bank departments; and shops.
The village of CROOKEDHOLM,
a suburb of Hurlford, is in Kilmarnock parish. It has a spinning
mill and a public school. Population, 657.
acquired its present size through its Portland Iron-works,
extensive coal works, and celebrated brick and tile works.
Population in 1871, 3488; in 1881, 4385.
The chief seats in the
parish are - Shawhill House; Milrig, in a detached portion
of the parish, south of Galston; Dollars House; Belfield,
adjoining Riccarton, lately gifted to the town of Kilmarnock, and joined
to it by a new footbridge over the Irvine; Treesbank House;
and Caprington Castle, in a grand ornamental park, one mile and a
half west of Riccarton.
Coal, ironstone, and
limestone are got, and the district is enlivened with the voices of
locomotive and pit engines.
The surface of the
parish is more level than otherwise but rises on the south verge, between
the farmhouse of Muggerslandburn and that of Howcommon, to
the considerable height of 446 feet above sea level. arable, and the
farming good and beautiful. It is wholly Its length, east and west, is
fully seven miles; and its breadth along the Cessnock, not counting
the loops, is about three miles. Area, 7550 acres. Population, 7112.