Extract from The Statistical Account of Scotland 1791-1799
PARISH OF DALRY
(County of Ayr, Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, Presbytery of Irvine)
by the Rev Mr John Fullarton
Name, Extent, Situation, and Soil
Dalry is said to signify "King's Valley." It gives a title to the Earl of Glasgow. It is about 9 English miles from N. to S., and nearly the same distance from E. to W. The village of Dalry, where the parish church stands, is situated on the west side of the parish, and is about a quarter of a mile distant from the parish of Kilwinning; in that direction, the 2 parishes being divided by a small water. Perhaps some regard to waters was paid in the first division of parishes, and when bridges were not so common as now they are. From this situation of the village and parish church, many of the inhabitants of the parish are obliged to travel to kirk and market from considerable distances. The village of Dalry is much admired by strangers for its situation. It is situated on a rising ground, with a commanding prospect to the S. and an extensive view to the N.E. It is almost surrounded by waters, and these run in their different directions, so near the village, that when extraordinary rains fall, and waters swell, the village, when viewed at a distance, puts on the appearance of an island; but from its elevated situation, is never, at any time, in danger, even from the greatest floods.
[Waters.- There are three waters that run near the village, Caaff, Rye, and Garnock. All these take their rise from the high moor lands, at several miles distance from the village, consequently they are soon filled, run with great rapidity, and are soon emptied again. The 2 first, empty themselves into Garnock, near the village. And Garnock empties itself into the sea at the bar of Irvine. From the rapidity of these diferent waters, and when much swelled, great mischief is often done to the flat grounds near the village, through which they run; so that many fields of rich grain have been, in harvest, either laid flat on the ground, covered with wreck, or entirely swept away when cut down. In harvest 1791, more than 20 acres were thus destroyed and lost. Hereby, the value of such lands, however rich, is greatly lessened, as farmers cannot call their crops their own, till they are secured in their barns. There are plenty of trouts in the above waters, generally of small size, and vary in colour, according to the waters they are caught in. Some sea-trouts and salmon are caught in Garnock, but not in such quantities, as to bring much profit to the proprietor of the water, though the price of late years has advanced from 1½d. to 3d. the English lib.]
The soil varies much, according to the different situations of the grounds. All the flat grounds lying along the water of Garnock, are in general a deep loamy soil, with a dry bottom, and from there being often overflowed with water, they are evidently enriched by the slime and mud left upon them; and the farmer has often experienced good crops from this very circumstance alone. Trench ploughing, or hand trenching of such ground, would assuredly turn out to advantage, as the soil below seems equally good, and with a small help of dung or lime, would soon become better than the upper soil, that has been long cultivated. But a trial of this has not been made. But the greatest quantity of ground in the parish, is of a very different quality, much inclined to clay of different colours, and of a tilly, wet bottom. There is also a good deal of moss-ground, not only in the hilly part of the parish, but also in the lower parts of it. Some of which, has of late, by a sensible process, been brought from its natural state, to bear very good crops, both of oats and grass, and this, by digging it with a spade in winter, and exposing it to the frost, ridging it up, and allowing proper drains and furrows, throwing some quick lime upon it, and harrowing it in with the feed; The digging repeated 2, sometimes 3 years, then sowing grass-seeds upon it, either with a view to eat or to feed, and from its not being formerly worth a 6d., or indeed any thing, the acre, by this process, it has become equal in value to most of the grounds that lie around it. The expense of digging, ridging and draining, does not exceed 2l. the acre the first year and 1l. 6s. the following. The proprietors of such grounds, are so fully sensible of the advantages of such a process, that in a few years it is expected, that a great part of them will be made fit to bear very good crops both of oats and grass.
Division and Rents
Within these 40 years past, the greatest part, if not almost the whole of the parish, has been enclosed. When enclosing first began, it was effected with some difficulty, as the adjoining heritors or tenants, were not only unwilling to bear half of the expense, but could not think of being deprived of a liberty they had long been accustomed to take, of pasturing their cattle upon their neighbour's ground, which was often of more advantage to their cattle, than feeding upon their own. But when they got the better of these little selfish views, which they soon did, a spirit of enclosing took place, as they evidently perceived, that enclosing, not only preserved every man's property entire, but was useful to the ground itself, by keeping it from being potched in winter and spring; the enclosures keeping the ground warmer, and affording shelter to their cattle, both from the heat of summer, and from the cold in winter. Sensible of these, and other advantages, enclosing went rapidly on, either at the expense of the proprietor, or of his tenants. And so eager have tenants been, for a long while past, about it, that they have not only their grounds in general enclosed, but properly subdivided, and scruple not to pay the interest of the money, the proprietor of the lands lays out in such enclosings, even to 5 and sometimes 7½ per cent., according to the different fences made. In the low part of the parish, the enclosures are mostly ditches of different wideness, and rows of thorns sometimes mixed with some ash or beeches, which, when they thrive, give good shelter to the ground. The moor farms of the parish, are all enclosed with stone fences of different heights. The farms, in general, are not large in the low part of the parish. They seldom exceed 60l. in rent, and many let at 20l. 10l., and some even lower. The moor farms being more extensive, let from 100l. to 200l., and even more. The grounds in the low part of the parish, and that lie along the waters, are never rented below 1l., and some such, are also rented at 1l. 10s. the acre, and sometimes above that. The grounds adjoining to these, and of a different quality, are, in general, rented from 12s. to 15s. the acre. The moor farms where there is tolerable good grass, and no heath, about 7s. 6d. the acre. The heath pasture is not generally let by the acre, but by the lump. The valued rent of the parish is 6538l. 14s. Scots; the real rent about 6350l. Sterling. The number of heritors may be about 90. Only one considerable landholder resides, and who possesses, I suppose, not much less than one-third of the parish. There are also some others who possess pretty good estates; of whom, some reside.
The method of farming is a good deal improved within these twenty years. Before that period, farmers thought they could not plough enough, even though they had but too frequently, very poor returns for their work and expense. But they have seen their mistake. And every intelligent farmer now among us, seldom thinks of opening his ground, until it has rested 4, and sometimes 6 years, and even then, to enrich it with dung and lime. Tenants, in general, are bound, and they look on it as no hardship, to have no more than a third of their ground in tillage. Their outfield land, which, in general, is well limed (to the extent of 160 bolls an acre, and sometimes more, each boll containing 5 Winchester bushels) commonly produces 2 crops of oats, with a crop of rye-grass succeeding, and is afterward turned to pasture. The infield land or crofting, is that on which they lay most of the dung they make from their own cattle (for dung is not to be bought) and raise 3 crops from it, bear, oats, and beans, and then return to dunging again. As bear is a very uncertain crop, both by reason of the bulk of the land being inclined to clay, and a wet bottom, and also to the great quantity of rain that generally falls, about the end of summer, and the beginning of harvest, this being the case, many farmers have adopted another method and, I believe, much to their advantage, viz. of laying their dung upon their outfield or poorest ground, allowing 2 acres about the same quantity of dung, they would have given to 1 acre of bear, and taking 2 crops of oats, and sometimes 1 of rye-grass hay; and in this way, their future grazing crops on such land, are much improved, and the whole farm in process of time, is brought into a state of improvement. And, as many are falling in with this method, there is now very little bear raised for the market, but only a small quantity for family use. Indeed, oats is the crop most to be depended on by the farmer, as being more hardy grain than bear, a more certain crop, and always commanding a ready market. Pease are seldom sown. Though luxuriant crops of them can be raised, yet the rains that generally fall about the autumnal equinox, lays them flat with the ground, to the loss of both grain and fodder. Beans are sown by many farmers, only in small quantities. From the grounds along the water, large crops are got. Wheat is not sown by the common farmers, though some gentlemen in the parish sow it in small quantities for family use, and have returns from 30 to 40 Winchester bushels the acre. It is sown after a fallow or potatoe crop, and the feed generally ploughed down with a shallow furrow, and lightly harrowed. This method is preferred, as hereby the feed being deeper buried, winter or spring frosts, arer not so ready to throw out the plants; and it is also thought, that if the crop is luxuriant, by having a deep hold of the ground, it is not so apt to lodge. Clover-feeds are seldom sown. A few who sow them, after proper preparation, have found great profit from them, both in enriching their hay crops, and adding greatly to the value of pasture-grass. It can scarcely be told, to what extent, an acre of good red clover will go, in feeding cows and horses in the house, when 2 or 3 crops are taken from it. There is surely no such cheap way of feeding horses in the summer, and having plenty of milk from cows, as by allowing them red clover in abundance, not to mention the dung that is hereby saved. But, till cleansing the ground from weeds by fallowing, be more frequent than it is, little advantage will be gained by sowing of clover-feeds. Following is not practised by common farmers, but by a few gentlemen it is going on, and whether it will influence others to follow their example, time will show. If they were to adopt it, certainly their grounds would be much better prepared for succeeding crops. Flax is sown chiefly for family use, and but seldom for market. Turnip-farming was only introduced into the parish last year. The gentleman who introduced it, has succeeded, himself, in having a large crop, which probably will induce others to follow his example. Potatoes is a crop universally raised by every farmer, but seldom to any further extent, than barely for the scanty use of his own family. But I have long thought, that every farmer might profitably consume, the double or triple of the potatoes, he commonly raises. If he were to cultivate but one acre yearly, what a large provision does he lay in for the support of man and beast? One acre, if properly cultivated, will, on an average yield 40 bolls , at 8 Winchester bushels the boll, each bushel heaped. And even more bolls will be got, if the ground is good on which they are planted, and proper dunging and cultivation given. I have known a large family, not under 15, plentifully supplied for 6 months in the year, with a large quantity given every day to 2 or 3 horses instead of corn in the winter months, and also to cows and poultry, and, after all, selling 5l. worth of them that remained, and all from the produce of 1 acre. No such valuable crop then can be raised, and when freely given, will fatten cows, horses, hogs, and poultry, to any degree you desire. An acre of potatoes of 40 bolls, at the low price of 1s. the bushel, is 16l. It were to be wished, therefore, that farmers were more attentive to their interest, and plant more potatoes than they commonly do.
[The common method of planting this root, is ploughing and harrowing the ground once, and doing the rest of the work with a spade; but this method is both slow and expensive. A better method is adopted by others, after giving the ground, at least, 3 different ploughings and harrowings, or till properly pulverized, furrows are made with 2 horses at the distance of 3 feet, dung is put into the furrows, the potatoes are laid, then the furrow is filled up with the plough, by going down one side and coming up the other, and thereby giving such a depth of covering you choose. An acre of potatoes can be covered in this way, with a single horse and a small plough, in 6 or 7 hours. By the cultivation the ground receives before planting, and 2 or 3 more ploughings after the plants appear, hereby it receives all the benefit that can result from a fallow, with a rich crop to the bargain, and the ground in order for bearing some clean and weighty crops. I know a field of about 10 acres, that after this cultivation, has been cropped for above 20 years and the crops, in general, rich and luxuriant. The dung of the farm is mostly employed on the potatoe crop, and the rotation of crops that follow, are, 1. wheat, 2. beans, 3. barley, and if a little dung can be spared, the better; 4. oats, and then return to potatoes again. A proper rotation of crops, is one way to secure success to the farmer.]
The implements of husbandry for carrying on the common method of farming, are but few: The old Scotch plough, drawn with 4 horses; a brake harrow drawn by 2; and common harrows for each horse. A few have rollers for breaking of clods and smoothing the ground. Some gentlemen in the parish who practise fallowing and turnip-farming, have English, and East Country ploughs of a light construction, drawn by two horses, and 1 man holds and drives the plough. But till the ground undergo a different cultivation from what it has yet done, and be cleared of stones, with which it abounds, the old Scotch plough must be better adapted to the present mode of cultivation, than the English plough can be. As the grain that is raised on the parish is, in general, consumed in it, and few farmers have much to want after maintaining their own families, this cannot be called a corn country, when so little of their grain is brought to market. The parish, in general, is better adapted for grass than for corn. What a pity then is it, that better methods were not fallen on to improve the grass? This will not be done, till the ground be properly prepared by fallowing, cleansed well from its old roots, and proper grass-seeds thrown into it. It is by grass that the farmer at present pays his rent; all pains, therefore, should be taken to improve it. For some years past, the profits of the dairy have been great; and it may be said with certainty (if we except the moor farms) that the rents of the parish, are employed either in fattening Highland cows, to the extent of about 300, or rearing up young ones, for the tenant himself, or for others, and at the prices, from 12s. to 15s. for 1 year old, and from 20s. to 24s. for 2 and 3 year olds, and that from the 1st of May to the 1st of November. The sheep or heath farms in the parish are but few; the flock of the whole amounting to about 1200. The sheep are of a small size, and the wool not of a fine quality; when fattened, are generally sold to the Paisley or Glasgow markets. Few sheep are kept in the low grounds since enclosing took place.
[Prices.- The average price of oats is 2s., bear 2s. 6d., barley 3s., beans and pease 3s. 9d., wheat 5s. the Winchester bushel. Beef, at slaughter time, is 4½d., and at other seasons 5d. and 6d. the lib.; veal from 5d. to 6d; mutton from 5d. to 6d.; pork from 5d. to 6d.; lamb from 5d. to 6d. the lib., the lib. being 24 ounces. The price of a fat goose is 2s. 6d.; of a turkey 3s. to 5s.; of a hen 14d. to 16d.; of a duck 1s., of a chicken 4d.; and eggs from 4d. to 6d. a-dozen. Butter is sold from 9d. to 10d.; skimmed milk cheese from 3d. to 4d.; sweet milk from 5d. to 6d., the lib., according to its age, the lib. being 24 ounces. The whole of the above articles of provisions, except grain, has advanced in price, at least one-third, within these 10 years. The average wages of farm servants, when they eat in the house, are from 10l. to 12l. a-year; women servants from 4l. to 5l.; men labourers from 14d. to 20d a-day, without provisions, and according as their work is; women for hay working 10d. and reaping 15d. a-day, without provisions; the day's wages of a wright 20d.; of a mason 2s.; and of a tailor 10d. a-day, with his meat. All these have near doubled their wages within these 20 years.
Seed-time and Harvest.- The time of sowing wheat on a fallow, is from the middle of September to the 1st of October, and, on potatoe ground, from the middle of October to the first week of November. I have known it sown later, and seen a good crop. The time of sowing oats, beans, pease, and flax, from the 1st of March to the middle of April; of bear or barley, and planting potatoes. From the middle of April to the middle of May, and turnips, from the first week of June, to the middle of it: later does does not answer well in this country. The harvest generally begins about the first of Septmber, and the crops are seldom all got in before the middle of October; and in cold and wet seasons, I have known crops in the field during the whole month of November. The farmers, in general, are healthy, sober, industrious, and thriving; and though they do not indulge themselves in high living, yet they live plentifully on wholesome fare; and when they appear in public, the dresses both of men, women, and children, show that they have plenty at home. - Thirlage has long and justly been complained of, as a discouragement to improvement in agriculture. About 15 years ago, a part of the parish was freed from that servitude by purchasing its thirlage; but a considerable part still remains subject to that discouraging burden.- Draining is much wanted in many parts of the parish, and if judiciously designed, and properly executed, would be a permanent and profitable improvement.]
Cows and Horses
The cows and horses kept by the farmers, are in proportion to the extent of their farms. To do them justice, they do not overstock their farms, as in former times. They find it in their interest, to keep no more cattle than they can fully maintain, otherwise, their horses would not rise to the prices they are at, nor their cows give so much milk as they do. When once a farmer has stocked himself with cows, he seldom thinks of going to market again for more, but raises up young ones to supply the room of those that are old, and keeps up his stock by his own rearing. The breed of cows is greatly improved from what they were. At present, the farmer can sell his cows from 6l. to 10l. Sterling, and some at even higher prices. Having so much depending on a good kind, they spare no pains or cost to come at them. The young cows, now rearing in the parish, may be about 500, and milch cows about 1100. From each of which, on average, may be got 12 stones of sweet milk cheese, amounting in whole to 13,200 stones, the stone being 16 lib., and the pound 24 ounces. The cheese, in general, is of as good a quality as any made in the west country, and is mostly sold in Greenock, Paisley, and Glasgow markets. The horses raised in the parish are but few. Those kept by the farmers, are generally young, and of a large size. The commom method of supplying themselves is, they buy them when 2 or 3 years old, from the yearly market at Lanark, where large quantities are sold of all sizes. They keep them for one or two years, and with the easy work of ploughing their farms, with little more work they put them to, this with good feeding, raises them to a large size, and then they sell them, often at double the prices they bought them at; and in this way, many farmers have considerably increased their stock. Many such horses have of late been sold from 30 l. to 40 l. The amount of horses in the parish may be about 300.
Roads and Bridges
The great roads in the parish are, by a proper attention of the trustees, in good repair, and all made by the statute-labour. The by-roads will probably also soon be attended to. And, as to bridges, few parishes can boast of having so many; no fewer than 9, great and small. Are to be found within half a mile of the village, and those mostly built at the expense of the parish, which shows a proper attention to their own safety, as well as that of travellers; and much to their credit surely it is, as the village cannot be approached without crossing some eater or burn, and on each of which a bridge is to be found.
Stipend, School, Poor &c.
The are 3 clergymen in the village of Dalry, the minister of the Established Church, of the Antiburgher, and the Burgher Seceders, both of whom were established lately in the parish. There are no Episcopals; no Roman Catholics. The patron is Mr. Blair of Blair. The manse and offices were built in 1766; the church in 1771; and an excellent school-house fit to accommodate 100 children, with an house to the schoolmaster, in 1790. All which buildings are in good order and repair. The stipend, one year with another, is about 97 l., including 60 l. Scots for communion elements, and exclusive of manse, and a glebe of about 7 Scots acres arable. The schoolmaster's salary is 81 l. 10 s. Scots, he has a school-house, dwelling-house, and garden. The ground occupied for the same, was a present of 12 falls, made by David, late Earl of Glasgow, to the heritors, about the year 1725. The schoolmaster has, at an average, about 60 scholars through the year. He teaches Latin, French, English and Arithmetic; is session-clerk; has the charge of the poor's money; has perquisites from marriages and baptisms. The amount of his living, on the whole, may be about 30 l., a sum surely too inconsiderable to encourage a man of education and ability, to undertake such a laborious and useful charge. And it is to be hoped, that heritors, not only in this, but in other parishes, will soon be inclined to hold out better encouragement to such a useful set of men. There is also a private school in the village, which has, at an average, about 30 attending it; besides some private schools in the country part of the parish. The number of poor who maintained weekly from the poor's funds may, at an average, be about 12, besides others who are occasionally supplied. They are supported by the collections on Sunday, mortcloth money, and the interest of a small stock they have on hand. The yearly sum expended may be about 54 l. There has not been, for many years past, one in the parish that has gone about begging, yet plenty of such, from other parishes, are continually infesting us. Though, what our own poor get from the parish-funds, may not always be sufficient fully to maintain them, yet, by their own industry, with what they get, they are enable to live with some degree of comfort. And, in cases of old age and sickness, more ample provisions are made for them. From 1s. to 2 s. a-week is generally allowed. And all this is conducted by advice of the session, who make it their business to inquire into everyone's particular necessities; and this they do with greatest attention. Orphans and idiots are generally boarded at the yearly expense of 4 l., and sometimes a little more. The parish has not been assessed for the maintenance of the poor, so far back as can be remembered.
Baptisms in the year, at an average, may be about 50
Marriages in the year, at an average, may be about 20
Burials in the year, at an average, may be about 24
Coals, Lime &c.
There are 3 coal pits generally going, within less than a mile of the village. Coals are not sold by the weight, but by a measure called a hutch, 4 of which fills a cart, sufficient for an ordinary horse to draw, and the cart is bought at the pit for 2 s. The seams of coal are different in thickness at the different pits, from 27 inches, to 5 feet 4 inches. The pits are not deep, from 3 to 22 fathoms. Coals abound so much in some parts of the parish, that farmers, in digging their ditches, often discover a thin seam, which they dig out for the use of their families, and sometimes also in such quantities, as are employed in burning limestones for their farms. Limestones also abound in many parts of the parish, in seams of considerable thickness. These are sold at different prices, according to the trouble that attends the working them, and in proportion to the quantity of lime they produce. The lowest price is 3 d., and the highest 7 d. for a cart-load, or as many as one horse can draw. A chalder of lime, or 80 Winchester bushels, is generally got from 4 such carts. Farmers generally burn their own lime for the use of the farm. Lime, when bought from those who prepare it for sale, is got for 6s. 8d. for the farm, and, when prepared for building, at 8 s. the chalder. Owing to the plenty and cheapness of lime, a free use is made of it by farmers, this being the only manure which can be come at, as no dung can be bought, and no marl as yet discovered, so as to become of general use. Peat also abounds in many parts of the parish, so that many farmers provide themselves with such large quantities, as to depend almost wholly upon it for fuel. Peats, when sold, are at 14 d. or 15 d. the cart; and the cart is so constructed, as to hold a large quantity, no measure being in use for such an article. They who live at a distance from the moss, provide only a small quantity. Peats are generally employed in heating of milk for cheese-making, and in drying all kinds of grain for the mill. There is plenty of ironstone in several parts of the parish, but none of it as yet wrought.
These are mostly confined to the village. Some years ago, when the silk manufacture flourished, there were above 100 silk weavers in the village, besides a few in the country part of the parish; and these were generally employed by the silk manufacturers in Paisley and Glasgow. But nopw the number of such weavers is greatly reduced, and cotton weaving has become the chief trade of the place. I have been at some pains to find out the numbers of men, women, and children now employed in the different branches of silk and cotton working ; and they are as follows: Silk weavers, 36; women to prepare the silk yarn for the loom, 8; cotton weavers, 107; women and children to prepare the yarn for the loom, 127.
Some more than a year ago, a few belonging to the parish began the spining of cotton on mule jemmies, which they are still doing, having 15 constantly going, and a small carding-mill which goes by water, for preparation. And as they mean to extend their work to the number of 30 jennies, they are now building a carding-mill on a larger scale, to go by water, to answer the purpose of preparation for the above number. The cotton yarn is not manufactured in the place, but is sent to the Paisley or Glasgow markets. Those at present employed in the above work, including men, women, and children, may be about 50; and when the work is doubled, those employed will be in proportion. There is in the village, and country part of the parish, a sufficient number of common weavers, shoemakers, smiths, wrights, tailors, and those who sell grocery goods, and all kinds of men's and women's apparel, of the best and finest kind. As to the ale and whisky-houses, of them there is more than is necessary, to the great prejudice of the temporal interest and morals of too many, and especially of those who can, with ease, earn from 2 s. to 3 s. a-day; the prosperity of such persons often destroys them. The village is a most convenient situation for manufactures, on account of its healthy situation, easy rents, and cheap fuel, when compared with many places in the neighbourhood. And for carrying on a bleaching business, I suppose a more convenient situation cannot be found, having so many streams of water all around; but nothing of this kind has yet been tried.
According to Dr. Webster's report, the number of souls then was 1498. The present state of population, from a list that was lately taken, is as follows: Examinable persons in the country part of the parish, 904; not examinable (i. e. all below 6 or 7 years old) ijn the country part of the parish, 282; examinable in the village, 607; not examinable in the village, 207; total 2000. The above list includes Seceders.
In the country part of the parish, the population has decreased during the last 30 years, owing to the enlarging of grazing farms, by which many tenants and cottagers were dislodged. But in the above period, the village has increased in population almost double. And in the same period, the parish has increased in population, at least 300. And as the village has thus increased in population, so houses have been built in proportion. So that now, a number of new slated and well finished houses may be seen, suited to the manufactures that are going on.
Mineral Spring &c.
Some years ago, by boring in search of coal, was raised a very strong sulphureous spring, at 9 fathoms depth, that has been used with success in scorbutic, eruptive, and ulcerous disorders, and in stomachic complaints.
In the farm of Auchenskeith, and on the side of a limestone crag, is a remarkable cave, scooped by the hand of nature. It is 44 feet above the bed of a rivulet, is covered with 30 feet of rock and earth, and crowned with wood. The entrance is adorned with a vast prominent rock 27 feet broad, and 30 long, sloping a little upward. The inward structure is like Gothic arched work, supported with many columns and buttresses. Its width varies in different places from 5 to 10 feet; its height from 5 to 12 feet; and its length, so far as is accessible, is about 183 feet. About the middle of it is a spacious opening, 35 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 12 high. The whole internal surface is variously indented. Its floor is nearly dry; its sides and corners run off into many crevices; and its roof is emblazoned by calcareous incrustations.
There is adjoining the village, an artificial mount called Courthill. It is of a conical figure, of considerable height and thickness, and every way regular in its shape. It has been bored with iron rods to a considerable depth, and found to be wholly made up of earth. The design of these mounts, which are not uncommon, may be guessed at by antiquaries. They are generally supposed to be places where the ancient barons held their courts of law, gave orders to, and harangued their retainers, and where they frequently covered the remains of a departed Christian. There is to be found the remains of a ruin, called a Chapel, supposed to be a Romish one. Lately a cairn of stones was removed from the top of a hill, called Lawhill, and there was found a stone coffin containing human bones. About 16 years ago, on removing a large heap of earth and stones, there was found a stone coffin, with 3 or 4 urns, containing burnt bones. The urns are said to have letters or figures on them, but were broken by workmen in hopes of treasure. Camphill, near the borders of the parish of Largs, is said to be the place, where the Scots army, under Alexander III, encamped, previous to the battle of Largs in 1263. Between that and Largs is Routdon-burn, supposed to derive its name from a detachment of King Haco of Denmark's army, being there attacked and put to the roat, and that don, is a contraction of Dane. What renders this more probable, on the banks of the Routdon-burn, is a large cairn, upon removing part of which, lately was discovered a stone coffin. The knights Templars had lands in this parish, and are called Temple lands at this day. Anciently, there were 2 churches in the parish; the one on the east, the other on the west of the village, and little more than quarter of a mile distant from the present church. Within these last forty years past, the remains of the east church have been seen by some now living. The west church, though no remains of the building can be traced, yet from a piece of ground being there, still called the old glebe, it is probable the church may have stood near to it. This old glebe, was exchanged about 80 years ago, for the present one. At what period the two churches were united, and the church first built where the present one now stands, is uncertain, but thought to have been between the years 1600 and 1608. No augmentation of stipend of Dalry since 1650; when, at the instance of Mr. Robert Bell, then minister, pursuer, the stipend was then fixed at what it now is. The decree bears to have proceeded on an agreement between Blair of Blair, tacksman of the teinds of the parish, by tack granted to him by John, Archbishop of St. Andrew's, Commendator of Kilwinning , dated the last day of May 1616, and a commissions from the presbytery of Irvine, in name and behalf of Mr. Bell the pursuer. The mosses in the low part of the parish, do evidently cover the remains of ancient forests. Trees of different species and dimensions are often found, some of them very large, particularly oak and elm, which are the prevailing kinds, and usually broken off near the roots, and lie along in a direction from S.W to N.E. The roots all stand in a perpendicular posture, and as close as the roots of trees in a forest. All the limestone quarries abound with marine petrifications of numerous varieties, and incumbent on some such quarries, is a bed of stone marl from 3 to 5 feet depth. It has been analyzed and found to contain from 30 to 50 parts of calcareous earth, and falls soon to powder when exposed to sun and weather. No proper trial of it as a manure has been made.
It is thought by many, that the Clyde and sea at Irvine or Saltcoats might be connected with a Canal, and that from the level nature of the intervening strath, and plentiful supply of water to be got from the lochs of Lochwinnoch and Kilbirny; and as coal much abounds in many parts of that strath, it might be conveyed to those towns near to which the Canal might go, perhaps on much easier terms, than otherwise they can be provided, with many other articles that would be conveyed through such a long and fertile part of the country. -- From the small number of sheep in the parish, little attention has yet been paid to the improvement of the breed, or wool. In the sheep farms, no attention has been paid. In the low part of the parish, many farmers keep from 2 to half a-dozen of sheep, that feed with their milch cows, these are generally of a mixed breed between Scotch and English, of a larger size (from 12 to 14 lib. a quarter) and the wool of a much finer quality, than what is got from the small moor sheep, and will bring one-third more when sold. I have known 10 or 12 English pounds, and sometimes more, got from them. The number of such in the parish, may be about 100. -- Lately died in the parish, a couple who had been married 52 years, both were above 80 years old, 16 hours only intervened between their deaths, and both were buried in one grave. Died in the parish, in 1789, a woman about 60 years of age. She had been thrice married. By her first husband she became pregnant, and her pains came severely upon her, about the ordinary time; but she was not delivered. She continued ever after to have the appearance of pregnancy. Her first husband dying, she was again married to a farmer, who also died in a few years. She was lastly married to another farmer, about the year 1772. He died in 1788, and she survived him about 9 months. She was of full habit of body, and enjoyed good health, till about 5 months before her death, when she began to fall off much, was confined to her bed, and her legs swelled. Her pregnant appearance still remained, and she told some of her neighbours, that about 33 years ago, she expected to be delivered, and felt life and motion in the child. This excited the desire of the surgeons to have her body opened after her death. Leave was granted by her friends, to a skilful surgeon in Beith to open her. But he not coming at the appointed time, two persons of small skill and experience, performed the operation in a coarse manner, and could not give a proper account of the situation in which they found the foetus. They, however, did find a child come to maturity, and in perfect state of preservation. It was immediately laid on the table, before more than a dozen of people that were present. The operators were allowed to carry it away; and I saw it afterward myself. The incrustation round it was tough, and of a horny appearance when I saw it, and in laying the encrustation open, it appeared one of the child's arms had been harmed. I heard it was afterward in the possession of the late Dr. William Hamilton, and Mr. Monteath surgeon, Glasgow, for some time, who took a drawing of it, as the persons who extracted it, would not part with it, but at an extravagant price. I have also heard, that some of the medical gentlemen at Edinburgh, are in possession of it at this very time.