Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Newton-upon-Ayr

Newton-upon-Ayr, a suburban town and a small parish on the coast of Kyle, Ayrshire. The town, lying on the right bank of the river Ayr, is separated only by that river from Ayr royal burgh, and forms part of Ayr parliamentary burgh. On its W side is the Firth of Clyde, on its E the suburb of Wallacetown, within St Quivox parish, and so closely contiguous is it to Wallacetown, that a stranger would fail to discover the line of demarcation. It seems to have sprung from a hamlet in or about the time of Robert Bruce; and, constituted a burgh of barony somewhere between 1208 and 1446, it got new charters, confirming all previous privileges, from James VI. in 1595 and 1600 - charters which assume it to have been a burgh beyond the memory of man. Newton Castle, here, long the seat of the Wallaces of Craigie, was a strong baronial fortalice, situated among gardens and groves, and demolished in 1701; for fifty years after which date the place almost wholly consisted of thatched, one-story houses. Then, but especially towards the commencement of the present century, it began to undergo much improvement and extension, and now comprises three or four dingy old small streets, a main street 2100 feet long and 80 wide, and three or four modern and regular streets between the main one and the firth. For sixty years prior to 1832 it mainly depended on the working of coal seams which underlay all the parish; but, these becoming exhausted, it now shares in the commerce and industries of Ayr, under which also are noticed its schools, station, and general features. The parish church, built in 1777 and- enlarged in 1832, contains 830 sittings. There are also Free and U.P. churches; and a new Established church, of North parish, was erected in 1884 at a cost of £3200. The town council consists of 2 bailies, a treasurer, and 6 councillors. Pop. (1831) 3768, (1861) 4807, (1871) 4686, (1881) 6174, of whom 3114 were females. Houses (1881) 1279 inhabited, 82 vacant, 12 building.

The parish, disjoined in 1779 from that of Monkton and Prestwick, is bounded N by Monkton and Prestwick, E by St Quivox, S by the last ¾ mile of the river Ayr, which separates it from Ayr, and W by the Firth of Clyde. Its utmost length, from N by E to S by W, is 1 3/8 mile; its utmost breadth is 7 ¾ furlongs; and its area is 696 acres, of which 99 ½ are foreshore and 12 water. The coast includes a small rocky point at the northern extremity, but elsewhere is flat and sandy. The interior is very nearly a dead level, with an elevation very little above high-water mark. The rocks belong to the Carboniferous formation, much disturbed by upheavals of trap. Coal was formerly plentiful, but was mined to exhaustion in all its workable seams. Sandstone of good quality abounds in the N, and has been largely quarried. The soil was naturally a barren sand, but underwent great improvement by intermixture with blue shale, fetched up from the coal mines. One proprietor holds an annual value of more than £500, and 9 hold each between £100 and £500, 14 from £50 to £100, and 99 from £20 to £50. This parish is in the presbytery of Ayr and the synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £280. Landward valuation (1884) £1216, 15s. 4d., plus £584 for railway. Pop. of entire parish (1801) 1724, (1831) 4020, (1861) 5124, (1871) 4877, (1881) 6511.—Ord. Sur., sh. 14, 1863.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a suburban town and a small parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Newton upon Ayr ScoP       Ayrshire ScoCnty
Place: Newton upon Ayr

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