An article from

'The Topographical, Statistical, and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland'

Published by A.Fullarton and Co. - 1848


STRAITON, a parish in the extreme east of the district of Currick, Ayrshire. It is bounded on the north-west by Kirkmichael; on the north by Dalrymple; on the north-east by Dalmellington; on the east by Dalinellington and Kirkcudbrightshire; on the south by Kirkcudbrightshire; on the south-west by Barr; and on the west by Dailly and Kirkmichael. Its greatest length, from north to south, is 20 miles; its greatest breadth is 8 miles; and its superficial extent is 82 square miles. The chief head-stream, the lake, and the river of Doon, successively trace the boundary over all the east, the north-east, and the north : See DOON. No fewer than 22 lakes and lochlets occur in the interior. The largest are Lochs Dercleuch, Finlas, Braden, and Lochriccar. The first and the second of these constitute properly one lake, and are jointly 2½ miles in length; and both they and the third are the scenes of boating excursions for the purposes of angling. Girvan-water drains most of the interior; it forms 3 miles above the village of Straiton a series of immediately consecutive cascades of aggregately more than 60 feet in depth of wall; it rushes away from them into a deep and wooded glen; and thence to the village it flows through a richly cultivated valley, overhung by heights, some of which are bold and precipitous, and others feathered at intervals with natural wood. The Stinchar flows for some distance on the boundary with Barr. Very numerous rills and streamlets trot and leap and tumble along to the principal streams; one of them, a tributary of the Doon, making near Berbeth a sheer fall of 40 feet. The valleys of the Girvan and the Doon, and the gentler acclivities of their bill-screens, are under the plough, and tufted or frilled with wood; and they offer to the eye some fine landscapes. The rest of the parish is all upland and pastoral; and the greater part of it, from the southern and eastern boundaries inward, is a wilderness of heights, not mountainous, but never low and prevailingly bleak, inhospitable, and rocky. Two hills in the vicinity of the village rise above sea-level respectively 1,300 and 1,150 feet; and, as well other heights, command brilliant views of Ayrshire, the frith of Clyde, Arran, Jura, and the Irish coast. The extent of uncultivated land is about 11 times that which owns the dominion of the plough. This parish, like the adjoining one of Dalmellmgton, is redolent with reminiscences of the Covenanters; and lifts the appealing cry of solitude and ensanguined soil against the murderous oppressors who persecuted confessors to the death. Of four persons who were martyred about one period, one is commemorated by a tombstone in the churchyard. A garrison was stationed during the persecution, in the old castle of Blairquhan now erased. Though some cairns and other kindred objects occur, the chief antiquities are those noticed in our article on Loch-Doon. Blairquhan-castle, built in 1824, situated on the Girvan about a mile below Straiton village, surrounded with a highly embellished demesne, and exhibiting, in its architecture, is a splendid and exact specimen of the style which prevailed immediately before the Reformation. Berbeth is a plain mansion, but beautifully situated on the Doon, and amid fine pleasure-grounds. A shooting-box of the Marquis of Ailsa overlooks the Stinchar, amid precipitous cliifs and towering hills, and commands a region where the eagle still builds his eyry, and where game of most sorts is profusely abundant —The village of Straiton stands in the western district, 4 miles south-south-east of Kirkmichael, 6½ south-east of Maybole, 6¾ south-west of Dalmellington, and 14½ south-south-east of Ayr. It occupies a rising ground be¬tween two hills on the banks of the Girvan; and, uniform in its plan, skirted with wood, and overhung by green declivities, it is one of the most beautiful of Highland villages. A few of its inhabitants —who altogether amounted, in 1836, to upwards of 330 —are employed in weaving cotton fabrics and tartan worsted cloth for the manufacturers of Glasgow. In 1695, the Earl of Cassilis obtained an act of parliament for holding a weekly market, and two annual fairs, at "the kirktoun of Straitoun." The only other village is PATNA: which see. The parish is traversed, and the village of Straiton intersected, by the road westward from New Cumnock to Girvan, and the new road southward from Ayr to Kirkcudbright. Population, in 1801, 1,026; in 1831, 1,377. Houses 235. Assessed property, in 1815, £6,221. —Straiton is in the presbytery of Ayr, and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. Patron, the Crown. Stipend £135 1s. 11d.; glebe £16. Unappropriated teinds £255 14s. 4d. One part of the church is very ancient; and even the more modern part is of uncertain date, but was altered and improved 40 years ago. Sittings 444. An ecclesiastical survey, made in March 1836, exhibited the population as then consisting of 1,383 churchmen and 34 dissenters, —in all, 1,417 persons. Part of the parish, provided with a church of the Establishment and a United Secession meetinghouse, belongs to the quoad sacra parish of Patna. There are two parochial schools, situated respectively at Straiton and at Patna; and two non-parochial schools. Salary of the Straiton schoolmaster, £31 10s., with £31 fees, and £3 other emoluments; of the Patna schoolmaster, £11, with £25 fees. The church belonged successively to the monks of Paisley, the monks of Crossraguel, and the royal chapel of Stirling.  





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