[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]
CARRICK, the southern district of Ayrshire. It is bounded on the north by Kyle, or Ayr proper; on the east by Dumfries-shire and the stewartry of Kirkcudbright; on the south by Wigton; and on the west by the Atlantic ocean. It comprehends the parishes of Ballantrae, Barr, Colmonell, Dailly, Girvan, Kirkmichael, Kirkoswald, Maybole, and Straiton, Its extent is about 32 miles in length, by 20 in breadth; its superficial area may be estimated in round mumbers at 300,000 acres. Population, in 1831, 25,536. Inhabited houses 3,845. Its surface is hilly; and the name may have originated in the Gaelic carraig, ‘a rock.’ The mountains, especially on the north-west, seem to be a continuation of that great ridge which, extending from the confines of England, through the counties of Selkirk, Peebles, Lanark, and Dumfries, meets the Western ocean between the districts of Carrick and Kyle. In the valleys between the hills, and along the sea-shore, are many stripes of level ground of a fine clay or loamy soil. The chief rivers are the Girvan and the Stinchar; the Doon forms its eastern boundary. There are several lakes, and a great part of the country is still covered with natural wood. – Our old historian, Boece, with his usual fertility of imagination, has discovered, in this district, a large city totally unknown to every other historian. Bellenden thus abridges his account of it: “In Carrick wes sum time ane riche cieté vnder the same name, quhais ruynus wallis schawis the gret magnificence thairof.” Boece calls this city Carettoniuin; but acknowledges his hesitation whether this was the origin of the name Carrick or not. In a manuscript quoted by Dr.Jamieson, we have the following curious statement:- “No monuments of batells to be seen in this countrey, except nerr the villidge of ancient Turneburrey, alonge the coste, betwixt a litell promontorey and the sea. Ther is 3 werey grate heapes of stonnes, callid wulgarley the Kernes of Blackinney, being the name of the village and ground. At the suthermost of thir 3 Cairnes ar ther 13 gret tale [tall] stonnes, standing vpright in a perfyte circkle, aboute some 3 ells ane distaunt from ane other, with a grate heighe stonne in the midle, wich (sic) is werily esteemid be the most learned inhabitants to be the bvriall place of King Caractacus; being most probable, in so far as Hector Boetius sayes, that the king wes interrid in Carricke, quherein he remained during the most pairt of his rainge [reign]; and that from him this countrey wes named Carricke; and that thir stonnes, his monument, are as yet standing nerr the toune of Turnberrey, wich wes questionles the ancient Carrictonium. This same conjecture is so muche the more probable in that, that King Galdus, that succeedit him, (I meane Carractake,) his buriall place is yet knawin, within 3 mylles to the toune of Vigtoune, in Galloway, which is after the same forme, being 19 stonnes in compas, and 3 in the midle, wich then hes beine the most honorable forme of buriall, befor churches and church yairds were designed places of sepulture. Ther is found and obserued this yeir 1632, within a myle to the castle of Turnburrey, some sandey landes, newly discouered, wich formerly had beine ouerblouen. Yet the new discouery reaches, in the ancient ground, dounwards above ane elle and a halffe, as the ther standinge knowes cleirly demonstrate, exposing to the beholders numbers of coffins neatly hewin of five stonnes, with oute couer or bottome, beinge 7. foote longe, and 3. vyde, all laying east and weste, with an equall proportione of distance ane from ane vther.” Carrick fell into the hands of the father of Robert Bruce, by his marriage with Margaret, Countess of Carrick, daughter of Neill, the Earl of Carrick. See article TURNBERRY. King Robert granted the earldom to his brother David. It afterwards reverted to the Crown; and the title is still retained in the royal family, the Prince of Wales, as prince and steward of Scotland, being born Earl of Carrick. John Steward is not only designed ‘Comes de Carryk,’ but the first-born of King Robert II. This can be no other than that prince who, on his accesion, changed his name to Robert, and thence obtained the ludicrous soubriquet of John Fairnyear, i.e. ‘John of the last year,’ or ‘formerly John.’ David, the first-born of this King Robert, is designed ‘Comes de Carric,’ A.D. 1397, when, with some others, nominated for settling disputes about the marches with Richard, “our adversary of England.” This was that unfortunate prince who was afterwards starved to death by his inhuman uncle, who is named, in the same deed, as one of his associates, under the designation of ‘Robertus Comes de Fyf, Frere du Roy.’ The “lands and barony of Turneberrie” are mentioned as part of the hereditary property of the Earl of Cassillis, A.D. 1616. The Duke of Argyle is hereditary keeper of the palace of Carrick, as well as of those of Dunstaffnage and Dunoon. It may be viewed as a vestige of the ancient honours of this palace, although now in ruins, that one of the pursuivants (signiferi) employed in making royal proclamations, and in summoning those accused of treason, bears the name of Carrick. Among the original Melrose charters are several of the old earls of Carrick. Their seals bear a winged griffin, but no armorial charge. There is an interesting one, by ‘Margeria, Comitissa de Karrick,’ and her husband, ‘R. de Brus, Comes de Karrick.’ Both seals are entire, and identical, – only the countess’s is a great deal larger than her lord’s. This Bruce’s father, the competitor, bore the arms of Annandale, a saltier, with a chief, plain. Marjory and her husband bear the saltier and chief; but the latter charged with what might perhaps be considered as the Carrick griffin, though its wings are rather scanty, – and it is very like a lion passant.
3 thoughts on “Carrick, pp.211-212.”