Innerkip and Ardgowan House, pp.129-130.



The mount is clomb—lo! in the west,
Far Ocean spreads his ample breast;
Green islands chequer o’er the scene;
And snowy sails glide on between;
And fitful sea-birds are descried,
That winnow, with their wings, the tide.


THE village of Innerkip [Inverkip], or as it is popularly called Auldkirk, is situated at the head of the bay of that name, on the eastern shore of the Clyde, where the small river Kip joins the sea. It is about six miles distant from Greenock in traveling across the country, but nearly twelve by the coast road; and about five miles below the Cloch Light House. Innerkip consists chiefly of one street of good clean-looking houses, erected on each side of the high road. The houses are generally two stories in height, roofed with slate; and have a cheerful aspect, from their fronts receiving an often renewed coat of whitened rough-cast plaister. At the south-western extremity of the village, there are some elegant cottages built of free stone only one story high, but finished with taste; and having in front stripes of ground decorated with flowers and evergreens, separated from the highway by a low parapet wall and iron palisade.

The situation of Innerkip is agreeable, and convenient for a watering place; it is pleasantly exposed to the sea breeze, and sheltered from the east winds by the hills and woods which surround it on the land side; the scenery in the neighbourhood, and the commanding and extensive marine views, from various points among the hills, are inferior to none upon the Clyde; and during the summer months Steam Boats pass it repeatedly every day. Notwithstanding these advantages, however, and although it is partially frequented for sea bathing, it is not a little surprising, that this village has never yet become a place of general resort for that purpose.

The Village of Innerkip, was erected into a burgh of barony before the Union; and has three annual fairs, on the third Wednesday of January, the second Wednesday of May, and the first Thursday of November, all O. S. In 1782, it contained only 60 houses: in 1811, its inhabitants amounted to 430; and they are now upwards of 600. The parish Church stands a little behind the village, from the front of which, as well as from the burying ground adjoining, very fine views are commanded. The patronage, has continued since the Reformation in the family of Sir MIchael Shaw Stewart, Bart., who have long been extensive proprietors in this parish. There is also a meeting house in the village connected with the Congregational Independents. There are two schools, the parochial school, and one kept by the Minister of the dissenting congregation.

The name of the village is derived from its situation at the junction of the small river Kip with the sea. Ynver in the British, and Inver in the Gaelic, (here corrupted into Inner) signifying, the fall of one stream into another, or its issuing into the sea. The popular name of Auld Kirk has obviously arisen, from the circumstance of Greenock being disjoined from the parish of Innerkip as already mentioned,1 when John Shaw of Greenock, his tenants, and the other inhabitants of his lands, were exempted from farther attendance, at their “auld parish Kirk.” Innerkip Church was thus the Auld Kirk in consequence of the new one authorised to be built at Greenock.

The mansion house of Ardgowan, the residence of Sir Michael Shaw Stewart, Bart. of Greenock and Blackhall, member of Parliament for the county of Lanark, is situated to the north of the village, amidst extensive and beautifully wooded pleasure grounds. It was erected about the beginning of the present century from a design of Cairncross, by the late Sir John Shaw Stewart, Bart. grand uncle of the present proprietor. It is a handsome square building with wings, containing a saloon thirty feet square, leading to the grand staircase, which is spacious and richly ornamented, four public rooms, and three suites of bed rooms having each two dressing rooms on the first floor; a large sitting room, and a number of bed rooms on the second floor; and the third floor wholly laid out in bed rooms. The billiard room is upon the ground floor, and opens upon the lawn. The whole forms a splendid and commodious family residence. The situation of the house is truly magnificent. Elevated on a beautiful terrace, overhanging the frith, it commands an extensive marine prospect which is ever enlivened, by the numerous vessels passing to and from Glasgow and the other ports on the Clyde. The grounds are extensively adorned with beautiful wood of various ages.

Near the house stands an ancient tower which formed part of the old house, and which most probably was part of the old castle of Innerkip, mentioned by Barbour in his poem of the Bruce. During the struggle of that great prince for the throne, this fortress appears to have been in the possession of the English; and it was to it that Sir Philip de Mowbray escaped, after the discomfiture of his force by the brave Sir James Douglas.

Tharfor furth the wayis tuk he then
To Kylmarnock, and Kilwynnyne,
And till Ardrossane efter syne.
Syne throw the Largis, him allane,
Till Ennerkyp, the way has tane,
Rycht to the castell, that wes then
Stuffyt all with Ingless men;
That him resaiffyt in daynte.2


1  See page 105.
2  Barbour’s Bruce, Book VI. line 94.

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