David's Scottish Ancestry


Depending on where you locate information on Muirkirk it reads differently each time:

MUIRKIRK, a parish in the district of Kyle, county Ayr, Scotland. It comprises the post town of its own name, and the village of Glenbuck. It extends 9 miles in length from E. to W., with an extreme breadth of 8 miles, and is bounded on the N. and E. by the county of Lanark, and on other sides by the parishes of Auchinleck, Sorn, and Galston. The surface is very uneven, consisting chiefly of moorish hills, with an altitude of from 800 to 1,000 feet above the sea-level, the highest point being Cairntable, near the S.E. extremity, which rises 1,660 feet above sea-level. It is a rude and bleak district, the land being but partially reclaimed from its original mossy and moorish character. A considerable portion has recently been drained, and converted into grazing and pasture land, on which the black-faced sheep prosper so much as frequently to have obtained the highest prize awarded at the Highland Society's shows. Coal, ironstone, and limestone abound, all of which are worked to a considerable extent. The parish is traversed in an easterly direction by the road between Ayr and Edinburgh, and in a southerly by the road between Glasgow and Dumfries, by way of Strathaven. This parish is in the presbytery of Ayr, and synod of Glasgow and Ayr

Muirkirk is a small village in East Ayrshire, southwest Scotland. It is located on the north bank of the River Ayr, between Cumnock and Glenbuck on the A70. The Muirkirk & North Lowther Uplands Special Protection Area was set up to protect the countryside surrounding Muirkirk, which is an area of scenic beauty and environmental importance.

The village developed around its church, which was built in 1631, and was a fertile recruiting ground for the Covenanter movement. In recent times, the village has fallen into decline due to its geographic isolation and the collapse of its coal and iron industries, but attempts are being made at regeneration through the Muirkirk Enterprise Group which was set up in 1999

East of Sorn. The town of Muirkirk stands near the centre of the parish, on Ayr Water, four miles from its source, 27 miles east-north-east by railway from Ayr. Being built on a straggling plan, with most of its houses one story, it lines a long length of roads; and though it contains fully as many inhabitants as Old Cumnock, it posses much more the a ppearance of a village, or a number of villages combined. Its name is derived from the Muir Kirk - " a puir wee kirk, theeked wi' heather" - erected here about 1650 to accommodate the scattered inhabitants of "the moorlands of mist where the martyrs Lay." Before that time the place was called the Garron, and was included in the parish of Mauchline. The famous Muirkirk Ironworks were commenced in 1787, and from that date the town has gradually expanded to its present extent. The town has Established, Free, United Presbyterian, and Evangelical Union Churches, a Roman Catholic Chapel, a public school; a post office, with telegraph, money order, and savings bank departments; a Clydesdale Bank, several hotels, and numerous shops. Population in 1871, 2376; in 1881, 3470.

A review of the parish around 1900 described the industry at Muirkirk: "The works of the Eglinton Iron Company have several blast furnaces and rolling mills; coal mining and lime-burning are actively carried on. New works for collecting ammonia as a by-product at the furnaces were erected at a large outlay in 1883. In 1894 a drainage scheme estimated to cost 1,100 was begun. Muirkirk has a post office, a branch of the Clydesdale Bank, 2 hotels, a gas company and fairs on the Tuesday after 18th February for hiring shepherds and the Thursday nearest 21st December, when shepherds meet to restore sheep which have strayed from their owners. Muirkirk black faced sheep have carried off the first prize at several of the Highland Society's shows and at the Paris exhibition of 1867.

The Community Council is the level of local government in East Ayrshire nearest to the people of Muirkirk. A community like Muirkirk usually formed around a village or other small settlement and used to be centered around the Parish Church. In the late 1800s Church and State separated but the same area is now represented as a local authority by the Muirkirk Community Council and the Church by the Parochial Church Council.

A parish in Ayrshire until 1975. It was sometimes known as Muirkirk of Kyle parish. It was a parish for civil and religious purposes from 1631 until 1975.

Murkirik - brids-eye view

Bridge St. & Harron hill birds eye view

Looking at Kirk Green from Bridge St. and the Parish church.

and today:

Old Bridge Street views the first being shows Bridge Street East and Black Bottle Tavern on the left. The second is the Muirkirk Co-operative Society and in background is the Black Bottle Tavern.

Bridge Street today

Old Garronhill views looking East (last) and West (second) This is the oldest part of the village, which came into being around 1631:

Garronhill the first 2 are looking east one the first at the top of the hill second about the middle of the street and the last is the view looking west today

Burnside Row - the census mentions this - was it a set of tenemant row houses for miners? This is the only Burnside I find for Nurkirk and it is labeled as a park - it is on Furnace Road in the lower left in the upper right is Beridge Street and Garronhill.

The centre of population of the parish would probably have been found in the tiny triangle formed by Kirkgreen, Burnside and Garranhill.

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