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Stewarton, pp.691-692.

[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]

   STEWARTON, a parish in Cunningham, Ayrshire; bounded on the north by Renfrewshire; on the east by Fenwick; on the south by Kilmaurs and Dreghorn; and on the west by Irvine and Dunlop. Its greatest length from north-east to south-west is nearly 11 miles; its greatest breadth is 4 miles; and its superficial extent is about 10,145 acres. The surface has a flat appearance, yet gradually declines from the boundary with Renfrewshire toward the south-west or the sea, and swollen or tumulated into numerous small hills. Though its eminences are in no instance considerable, they almost all command rich views of the county and of the gorgeous scenery of the Clyde. The northern division is naturally moorish, and is still bare and of a churlish soil. The central and southern divisions are in high cultivation. The roads from Glasgow to Irvine and from Paisley to Kilmarnock, pass respectively south-westward and southward through the parish. Population, in 1801, 2,657; in 1831, 4,503. Houses 541. Assessed property, in 1815, £15,067. – Stewarton is in the presbytery of Irvine, and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. Stipend £280 19s. 2d.; glebe £9. Unappropriated teinds £291 11s. 2d. The parish-church was built in 1696, and altered and greatly enlarged in 1825. Sittings about 1,400. There are three dissenting places of worship, all situated in the town. The United Secession chapel was built in 1775. Sittings 592. Stipend £100, with a house and £9 for sacramental expenses. The Original Burgher place of worship was built in 1828, and cost £436 14s. Sittings 505. Stipend £60. – The Congregational place of worship is the Town-house, the private property of Mr. Cuninghame, the patron of the parish, by whom the congregation assembling in it was formed in 1827. Sittings 396. No stipend. The population of the parish, as stated by the parochial minister in 1836, was then 4,712, and consisted of 3,708 churchmen, 867 dissenters, and 137 nondescripts. Parish-schoolmaster’s salary £34 4s. 4½d., with fees, and £5, as well as the receipts for the office of session-clerk, other emoluments. – The parish was anciently a vicarage under the monks of Kilwinning. On the lands of Lainshaw, at a place now called Chapel, and formerly called Chapelton, anciently stood a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. 

   STEWARTON, a small but thriving manufacturing town in the cognominal parish, Ayrshire. It stands on the right bank of the Annock, 2 miles south-south-east of Dunlop, 3 west-north-west of Fenwick, 5 north by west of Kilmarnock, 9 north-east of Irvine, and 18 south-west of Glasgow. The stream which washes it makes, just when abreast of the town, a beautiful semicircular sweep of such scope as to measure half-a-mile along the chord; and it is spanned by three bridges, respectively at the ends and in the middle of the sweep. One street extends along the chord of the semicircle, and is prolonged upon the margin of the stream; and this street extends from north-east to south-west, and carries along the Glasgow and Irvine turnpike. Another street opens from the bridge at the middle of the semicircular sweep, cuts the former street at right angles, and carries along the road between Kilmarnock and Paisley. Some minor thoroughfares belong to the body of the town, and considerable clusters of buildings form suburbs. Stewarton may vie with any town of its size in the west of Scotland for regularity, beauty, and general attractions. But though a place of considerable antiquity, it was for centuries a mere obscure village; and, not till about 60 or 70 years ago did it decidedly assume the healthful, growing, and energetic appearance by which it has since been distinguished. Its prosperity has nearly all been connected with the woollen manufacture. The making of tartan and other woollen bonnets has very long been carried on; the making of regimental caps and bonnets, in particular, has been a staple manufacture. Upwards of 400 persons, residing principally in the localities called Townhead, Darlington, and Kirkford, construct the fabrics in their own houses, and are aided by public mills whose chief departments are simply the carding and the spinning of the wool. A great impulse was given, and much increase to trade and population was occasioned, about 20 years ago, and have since been perpetuated by the introduction of carpet manufactures and worsted mills. Other employments are the Ayrshire needle-work; – silk, muslin, linen, and damask weaving, – clock-work for foreign markets, – and the making of spindles for cotton and woollen mills. The town has a branch-office of the Glasgow Union bank; a savings’ bank; a ladies’ boarding-school; 7 private schools, besides the parish-school; 2 insurance offices; a gas company; and a parish library. Annual fairs are held on the last Friday of April, old style; on the last Tuesday of May, old style; on the last Thursday of June; on the first Friday after the 12th of November; and on the Thursday, or 6th day after the last of these dates. Coaches run daily in transit between Kilmarnock and Paisley; two caravans go daily, and two carriers twice a-week, to Kilmarnock; two carriers twice a-week to Glasgow; and one carrier twice a-week to Paisley. – Stewarton has never been erected into a burgh, and is not the seat of any merchant-guild or trades’ corporations. The ground on which it is built holds feu of William Cuninghame, Esq. of Lainshaw; and that on which the suburbs stand holds, for the most part, of Sir James Montgomery Cuninghame of Corsehill, Bart. As superior, Mr. Cuninghame has right to levy a custom on meal and other articles, and to exact certain rates on stands or booths at fairs; but the right is so gently wielded, or intrinsically so inconsiderable, as to have been let for £5 a-year. There are no local taxes or assessments. The only magistracy are the justices-of-peace of the county, and Mr. Cuninghame’s baron-bailie. A justice-of-peace court is held on the first Thursday of every month; and superintends not only the town itself, but the three parishes of Stewarton, Dunlop, and Fenwick. A lock-up-house, and a justice-of-peace court-house in the town, are the private property of Mr. Cuninghame, and are maintained wholly at his expense. Population, in 1833, 2,969; of whom 735 resided in the suburbs, and 2,234 in the town.

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