NEWMILNS, a large village, and burgh-of-barony, in the parish of Loudoun, Ayrshire. It stands on the right bank of the river Irvine, 2¼ miles east of Galston, 1½ west of Darvel, 7 from Kilmarnock, 18 from Ayr, and 24 from Glasgow. The weaving of muslins is the principal occupation of the inhabitants. In 1828, the number of handlooms in Newmilns and Garvel was 800; and in 1838, it was 1,130, – of which 700 were plain, and 430 were harness. “A great number of the cotton handloom weavers,” says the parliamentary Abstract of Education Returns in 1834, “weave harnesses, a kind of work in which each weaver requires ‘a draw-boy’ or girl to assist him. This kind of fabric was introduced here about two or three years ago, and the children who are employed are generally from 7 to 10 or 11 years of age.” The village has a United Secession meeting-house, an excellent market, and annual fairs in February, May, August, and October. Newmilns was erected into a burgh-of-barony by royal charter, dated 9th January, 1490. “There are,” says the Report on Municipal Corporations, “140 burgesses. Each burgess, at his admission, pays certain dues, which are said to be trifling, but the particular amount has not been specified. The average amount per annum is stated at about 40s., which is applied in keeping the streets in repair. It is not said whether the burgesses enjoy any exclusive privilege or monopoly of trade. As to the burgh’s situation in respect of property, revenue, debts, and expenditure, no other information has been obtained beyond a general statement that ‘the whole income of the burgh consists in the customs, public green, and feu-duties, which in all do not yield £10 per annum.’ – The burgh-accounts are kept by the treasurer. They are made out annually, and examined and passed by the magistrates and council. They are said to be open to the inspection of the community. – The nomination of magistrates and council is in the burgesses. They are elected annually, the burgesses choosing 15 councillors; and these again appointing two bailies, a chancellor, treasurer, and town-clerk. – No explanation has been given as to the nature or extent of jurisdiction exercised by the magistrates; but it would appear that they exercise a petty criminal jurisdiction, for mention is made in the return of certain fines imposed upon delinquents, the amount of which, however, does not exceed 10s. annually, and is given to the poor.” The Marquis of Hastings, as Earl of Loudoun, is the superior. Population, in 1821, 1,543; in 1831, 1,650.
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My name's Jenny, I'm in my mid-thirties, from Glasgow and I'm your friendly local (as everything online has become) Scottish historian. View all posts by FlikeNoir