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Dailly, Ayrshire



Dailly [Stathclyde] 'Haugh (dail)': the village lies within a large bend of the water. (which is why it is a 'haugh'; see dal-)

dal- elided form of 1)Brythonic Gaelic dol: 'meadow';

or 2) Gaelic loan - word: 'field', 'haugh [a piece of land within the bend of the river]'.

Above from The Dictionary of Scottish Place Names by Mike Darton Page 97

DAILLY - 1837 - Ayrshire Directory by Pigot and Co

Is a village, in the parish of its name, and district of Carrick; 93 miles S.W. of Edinburgh (through Maybole and Ayr), 47 S. by W. of Glasgow, 46 N.N.E. of Portpatrick (by the new road, which is longer by three miles than along the coast), 37 N.N.E of Stranraer, 30 S. by W. of Kilmarnock, 19 N.N.E. of Ballantrae, 15 S. by E. of Ayr, 7 from Maybole, and 6 from Girvan. The situation of this village is not exceeded by any in the county for beauty; it is seated in a fine fertile valley, near to the pellucid water of the Girvan, which is fed by a number of small streams, some of them descending through deep and woody glens, admired for their picturesque and romantic loveliness; while the many elegant mansions of the affluent that are interspersed throughout the district, and the heavy ruins of two ancient castles, contribute to the general interest of the scenery. The extent of the parish is six miles in length by about five in breadth: the uplands are bleak and pastoral; but the more level parts are well cultivated, enclosed and planted. Coal and limestone abound in several portions of the parish. The Duke and Duchess de Colgney, Sir James Ferguson, and Sir John Andrew Cathcart, are the principal heritors.

The old parish church, dedicated to St Michael, has fallen to decay; the present structure, which is neat, was erected in 1766. A parochial, and a Sunday school, for the children of the poor, have been established in the parish; and there are two libraries, supported by subscription, in the village.

Transcribed from Pigot's Directory of Ayrshire 1837


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The New Statistical Account

Parish of Dailly

Presbytery of Ayr, Synod of Glasgow and Ayr

The Rev. Alexander Hill, D. D.  Minister

I.. - Topography and Natural History

Name.- The name given to this parish, Daly or Dailly, has probably arisen from its consisting principally of a dale or valley stretching along the banks of the river Girvan.

Extent, &c.- From north-east to south west, the parish extends in the line of the river about 7 miles. It varies in breadth from 4 to 6 miles.

Topographical Appearances.- The figure of the parish is an irregular oblong. It is bounded on the west and south-west by the parish of Girvan; on the south by the parish of Barr, a great part of which, prior to 1650, belonged to the parish of Dailly; on the east by the parishes of Straiton and Kirkmichael; and on the north-east and north by the parish of Kirkoswald. It lies nearly in the centre of Carrick, one of the three districts of Ayrshire.

The hills on both sides of the valley are of very moderate height. There is much natural beauty in every part of it, from the winding of the river, and the variety of the ground; and its natural beauty has been greatly heightened by the improvements of modern times.

Although the extremity of this parish is nearly two miles distant from the sea coast, yet the Island of Ailsa, about fifteen  miles west from the town of Girvan, is considered as belonging to Dailly, being included in the barony of Knockgerran, a part of the Marquis of Ailsa's property, which lies in this parish. It is a huge rock, perhaps two miles in circumference at the base, and about 1100 feet above the level of the sea. Seen from the south or north its shape is very much that of a cone. Its appearance from the east  is more flattened. It is precipitous on all sides, and accessible only on the north-east, where there is a small beach. The cliffs in several places are columnar. A considerable way up the rock are remains of buildings, supposed to have been a tower or castle, and a chapel. Very fine water is found on the rock, and near its summit. There is little pasture on it. Numberless flocks of birds frequent it, and particularly gannets or solan geese. It is chiefly from their feathers that the rent of the island is derived; and it is only during the time that the birds are sought for on account of their feathers, that anyone resides upon it. There was recently a plan in agitation for making Ailsa a fishing-station, for the supply of Glasgow and Liverpool, by means of the steam-boats which pass it regularly. Some buildings were commenced for the purpose, but the plan has not been carried into effect.

Geology and Mineralogy.- The parish abounds in some of the most useful minerals, as coal, limestone, and sandstone (freestone).

The form or shape of the coal-field.is that of a long elliptical basin, extending about six miles in a north-east and south-west line of bearing through the parish. Its breadth is about 600 yards. Eminent engineers consider it as forming part of the great coal field which stretches across the island from the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, in a north-westerly direction, into Ayrshire. The coal-field here consists of five workable seams of coal, varying in thickness from four to fourteen feet, and cropping out to the surface on both sides of the basin, at right angles to the line of bearing, with different declivities, from forty-five degrees, from one in one to one in three. The seams are all of good quality, but are subject to various dislocations, as hitches, slips, and are traversed by greenstone or whinstone dikes, &c. The roofs are generally good, either shale, fire-clay, or hard sandstone. The coal is worked to considerable extent on the estates of Bargany and Dalquharran. Steam-engines have been employed at both collieries for a number of years. The sales are principally for home consumption; but coals are also shipped from these collieries to Ireland and elsewhere. The gas which is used at Ayr is obtained from the Dalquharran parrot coal. The sales may amount annually to 20,000 tons. The cost of a ton at the pit head is about 4s. 8d. or 5s. A ton weighs 24 cwt., and there are eight creels in a ton. It is singular that no coal has as yet been discovered  to the west or south of this parish. There are two lime-works in the parish; the one near the north-west extremity at Craighead. on the estate of Bargany; the other near the south-east extremity, at Blairhill, on the estate of Kilkerran. Craighead is a vast unbroken mass of limestone, the dimensions of which are imperfectly known. Blairhill is a regularly stratified rock, lying betwixt beds of hard sandstone, with moderate declivity from the surface. The annual sale from these lime-works is about 100,000 bolls, each boll containing two Winchester bushels. The price of a boll is 8d. Limestone has also been recently found by Mr. Kennedy of Dunure on his estate of Dalquharran, and in connection with his coal; but the idea of working it has been abandoned.

Beds of freestone are very numerous and extensive. Some of them are uncommonly fine, and are much esteemed in ornamental building. This freestone was used in building the houses of Kilkerran, and Dalquharran in this parish, and of Blairquhan in the parish of Straiton. The whitest and most durable freestone is found along the centre of the coal-basin, and often forms the immediate roof of the upper seam of coal. The most valuable quarries lie along the base of the hills south of the coal-basin, particularly on the estate of Kilkerran.

Calcareous marl also abounds on both sides of the coal-basin, and is also found in regular strata. It was formerly much used as a manure, but the superiority of lime for this purpose, and its abundance in the neighbourhood, have led to the disuse of marl.

Many small chalybeate springs, scattered over different parts of the parish, seem to indicate the existence of extensive strata of ironstone. Such seams of ironstone as have been seen are generally found at considerable depth, under the lowest seam of coal. Those that have been noticed in the roofs are thought to be rich, but, unless iron should rise to an enormous price, it is not considered that any advantage could accrue to the proprietor from working the ironstone. The coal in this parish is said to be particularly adapted for making of iron.

The principal ridge of hills on the south side of the valley appears to consist chiefly of freestone, on which are piled up enormous masses of puddingstone. Those on the north side are probably of a similar structure. On some of them are found extensive rocks of  a basaltic nature in the rude and irregular form distinguished by the name of trap. In none of these have mineral veins of any kind  of metal been discovered.

The nature of the soil is as various as the surface id diversified. Along the banks of the river the holms and meadows, in some places of considerable extent, are generally of a light but very fertile soil, and capable of the highest cultivation. On the south side, the soil rests on a bottom of gravel, and is peculiarly favourable for pasturage. On the north side, there is a larger admixture of clay in both the soil and the inferior strata.

Botany.- Much attention has been paid to horticulture, in both its useful and its ornamental branches. Extensive shrubberies round the residences of several of the proprietors, are connected by pleasure walks with the woods and glens with which the parish abounds. Arboriculture has also greatly advanced of late years. Planting has been carried to a considerable extent on the estates of Bargany, Kilkerran, Dalquharran, and Drumburle. On that of Burgany alone no less than 666 1/2 acres have been planted in the last thirty years. Timber of every kind congenial to the climate of Scotland thrives here luxuriantly, with the single exception of the Balm of Gilhead fir.

II. - Civil History.

Land-owners.- The land-owners of the parish are, Henrietta Dalrymple Hamilton Duchesse de Coigny, proprietress of Bargany; Sir James Fergusson, of Kilkerran, Bart.; Sir John Andrew Cathcart, of Carleton, Bart.; Thomas Francis Kennedy, of Dunure, Esq.; Sir David Hunter Blair, Bart.; the Marquis of Ailsa, and Spencer Boyd, of Penkill, Esq. The four proprietors first named have residences in the parish. There is also a mansion-house on the estate of Drumburle, belonging to Sir David Hunter Blair. At Kilkerran and Penkill there are ruins of castles which had been places of strength, particularly that at Kilkerran. They are both in very picturesque situations.

Parochial Register.- The parochial registers, and the records of the Kirk-session, have been uniformly kept together. They occupy seven volumes. The first volume includes the period from April 1691 to the year 1711, and is perfectly legible, but in some places much decayed. There is  reason to believe that, during the early parts of the last century, the registers were not accurately kept. From the year 1751, every attention has been paid to them.

Antiquities.- In regard to antiquities, this parish has little to boast of. At a place called Machry-kill, there was a small church or chapel, probably dedicated to St Macarius, Near the lower extremity of a wild and romantic dell, which adjoins to Kilkerran, and forms with its woods, rocks, and numerous cascades, a beautiful walk, there once stood a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. From this circumstance, the dell still retains the name of the Lady Glen. At the western extremity of the ridge of hills on the south side of the parish, there are the remains of an encampment, 100 yards in length by 65 in breadth. It is of an oval form, and consists of two enclosures. The inner one is more entire than the outer. Neither of them extends the whole way round, the ground being particularly steep for about 50 yards on the face of the hill. The encampment commands a magnificent view, particularly of the Island of Arran; and Turnberry Castle, in the parish of Kirkoswald., lies directly before it towards the north. It may therefore have been connected with the plans or movements of Robert Bruce.

On the 5th July 1836, a day which will be long remembered for the length and the violence of the thunder storm which raged over all the lowlands of Scotland, the lightening struck upon this hill in two different places, not far from the encampment. The fissures which it made are somewhat zig-zag, deeper at one extremity than any furrow of a plough, and extending about seven or eight yards. The ground below has the feeling of a collection of ashes. At Old Dailly, in a very sweet spot, are the ruins of the old parish church, which was left in 1696 for the more centrical situation which the church now occupies.

Modern Buildings.- The buildings in the parish, besides those already mentioned, are two flour-mills, which go by water, two saw-mills, under wooden erections at the two collieries, impelled by the steam-engines there, a third saw-mill, in a different quarter, driven by water, and a brick-work connected with the colliery at Dalquharran.

III.- Population.

In 1801 the population was 








The decrease of the population since the census in 1831 is probably to be ascribed to the discontinuance of the extensive improvements which were for some time carried on by the landed proprietors. Emigration has not prevailed much in this neighbourhood, but is on the increase.

Number of persons residing in the village 

                                           in other parts of the parish 1524
The average of births for the last seven years 48
                        deaths 28
                        marriages 14
The number of persons under 15 years of age is 656
                                    betwixt 15 and 30 527
                                                30 and 50 449
                                                 50 and 70 192
                                           upwards of 70 56
Unmarried men, bachelors, and widowers upwards of 50 years of age 20
                 women upwards of 45 50
Number of families in the parish 420
                             chiefly employed in agriculture 173
                                                       in trade, manufacture, or handicraft 68

The whole parish is possessed by the seven landed proprietors already mentioned, and four of them reside in it, at least occasionally.

Two blind girls belonging to this parish were for a number of years in the Edinburgh Asylum. They are able, by knitting, to gain a little for their own support. There is one lad deaf and dumb, who is very active and intelligent as a labourer, and who is scarcely ever absent from church. There is also one boy in another family, who is deaf and dumb. There are two famous persons.

In the course of the last three years, the number of illegitimate births in the parish was 21.

IV. - Industry.

Agriculture.- It is supposed that the parish contains above 17,0000 acres, and that 800 or 9000 are either cultivated or occasionally in tillage. Out of the uncultivated portions, there are probably not 200 acres to which the labour of cultivation could be profitably applied. There is no part of the parish in a state of undivided common. It is computed that 2500 acres are under wood, natural or planted.

The trees planted are generally oak, ash, plane, and elm, with such proportion of Scotch larch and spruce firs, as fills the ground for an early crop. The indigenous trees are chiefly oak, ash, and birch. The woods of the first and last are remarkably well pruned and thinned every year. The felling of the Scotch and larch firs takes place at about fifteen years growth, to give room to the hard wood and spruce firs.

Rent.- The average rent of arable land, per imperial acre, is about L. 1. The average rent for grazing a cow or ox, of three years old and upwards, is from L. 2 to L. 3; of two years old, L.1, 10s. to L. 1, 15s.; of one year old, L. 1 to L. 1, 5s.; a ewe or full-grown sheep, 4s. There are three kinds of sheep common in the parish, - the black-faced or moor sheep, the Cheviot, and a cross between these breeds. The cattle are chiefly of the dairy or Ayrshire, with a portion of the Galloway breed. There are some crosses between the Ayrshire and the Teeswater. Considerable attention is paid to the improvement of both sheep and cattle, by introducing superior kinds of the different breeds. Premiums for the best that have been reared have for some years been awarded, by the Carrick Farmers' Society, and a new impulse has recently been given to agriculturists in their attention to breeding, by the visit of the Highland Society to Ayrshire in 1835, and establishment of numerous agricultural associations upon similar principles throughout the country. Generally speaking, the husbandry pursued is good. Wheat is much cultivated after a potatoe crop. Grass sown down with wheat is usually found to produce a light crop of hay, and in some instances has failed altogether. On large farms, turnips are in great measure taking the place of potatoes. They seem to answer the soil and climate, and are an excellent preparation for barley, which, when sown down with grass seeds, is followed by a large crop of hay, with corresponding good pasture. Bone manure has been introduced of late for turnips, and is highly approved of.

Since 1805, the state of husbandry has been greatly improved; and a considerable portion of waste or moor land has been brought under cultivation, by inclosing  and liming on the surface. Draining has been carried to a great extent by both proprietors and tenants. The improvement by this means  on the estate of Bargany is very remarkable. A large tract of hill pasture, which the proprietor held for some time in his own hand, was most advantageously subjected to the process first of surface-draining, then of liming. The lower grounds on the same property have all been powerfully drained, and in many places trenched, and being now laid down in grass with every possible attention, afford the richest and most beautiful pasture.   Tile-draining, or furrow-draining, is considered as a most important improvement. Irrigation was introduced a few years ago at Dalquharran, by Mr Kennedy of Dunure, and it was found to answer so well, that he has greatly enlarged his meadow. The same system has also been begun by Sir James Fergusson at Kilkerran, and he has been followed in it by one of his principal tenants. Embanking  on a pretty large scale has been practised by Sir James Fergusson, and particularly by Mr Kennedy of Dunure. To abridge the very winding course of the Girvan, and to prevent the inundations to which the low grounds on each side were frequently subject, he caused a new channel to be cut for the river for a space of 210 yards; and raised on both sides a double embankment, the upper one being so far behind the lower, as to give ample room for the largest quantity of water which the Girvan, when most swollen, can be supposed to contain. Another very ingenious operation was carried out at the same time. Before the river was admitted into its new channel, pipes were laid under  its bed, by which the ground on one side might be drained. That ground consisted of a large field of about forty acres, a great part of which was a deep morass. Little use could be made of it, as it was so much on a level with the river, that it was frequently overflowed, and could not be relieved of its superfluous water. By means of the pipes, this water was conveyed into a deep and extensive tunnel, which empties its contents, collected from a variety of quarters, a considerable way lower down the river. The work has been admirably well executed, and the advantage resulting from it is great in point  both of productiveness and of beauty.

The usual duration of leases is nineteen years.

There is room for improvement in the farm-buildings or steadings, both of landlords and tenants. In no situation in Scotland are hedges more easily and perfectly reared than in this district; and there is increasing attention paid to this species of inclosure.

VV. - Parochial Economy.

There is only one village in the parish; it has been greatly enlarged within the last twelve years. All the new houses are built substantially and in regular order. The town of Girvan is six miles from the village, Maybole seven, and Ayr sixteen. An arrangement was made, fourteen years ago, under the sanction of the General Post-Office, by which the letters for the village were brought every day from the post-town, Maybole; and for the last five years a branch post-office from Maybole has been regularly established. The parish is well supplied with roads; on the north side of the valley, one turnpike-road extends about five miles; another runs through the valley, and along the south side, about six miles and a half. From these, three other turnpike-roads branch off to the right and left for a mile or two. A coach passes and repasses through the parish on Friday, on its route between Girvan and Ayr.  The are three public bridges and one private bridge across the Girvan; and there are a number of other bridges across smaller streams. Some of them have been erected at great expense, for the sake of the new lines of road which were lately formed. All at present in good condition, and from the attention paid to the state of the roads, are likely to be kept in thorough repair.

Ecclesiastical State.- The parish church stood originally at Old Dailly, about three miles from its present site, but was removed in 1696 to the village of New Dailly, a very centrical situation for all the inhabitants. The present fabric was built in 1766, and is in good repair. It will accommodate  650 persons. In 1835 a change was made upon the interior of the building, by which 70 new sittings were obtained. Thirty free sittings are reserved for the poor.

The manse was built in 1801, and had an addition made to it in 1818.

The glebe consists of 7 acres of arable land, which might yield a rent of L. 14 or L. 16 per annum.

The stipend was augmented in 1818. It now consists of L. 345, 16s. 5d.; 17 pecks and 3 1/2 lippies of barley, and 18 pecks and 2 4/5 lippies of meal. This is the whole of the teinds, conform to the valuations of the heritors produced.

Of the families in the parish, 400 may be stated as belonging to the Established Church. The remaining twenty families are mostly Roman Catholics. The Dissenters residing here are very few, not exceeding 12. Their places of worship are in Girvan, Maybole, or Colmonell. The parish church is well attended. The average number of communicants in attendance is 420.

A society for religious purposes was instituted some years ago, but its meetings were never well attended, and latterly they have been discontinued. The average amount of church collections, yearly, for religious and charitable objects, has been about L. 5. In 1836-7 above L. 14 were collected for the four schemes of the General Assembly. There was also a collection in the same year for the Scottish Missionary Society, and there was another, above L. 6, for the parish Sabbath schools.

Education.- There are four schools in the parish; one parochial, and three private. The branches generally taught in all the schools are, English reading and grammar, Latin, writing, arithmetic, book-keeping and mensuration. The parochial teacher has a salary of L. 30, and the legal accommodations, and his school fees may amount to L. 25 per annum. One of the other teachers receives from the landed proprietor, by whom his school was established, a salary of L. 5, and he has besides a school-house, a dwelling-house and garden, and coals. The proprietor of Bargany and the tacksman of the Bargany coal, pay another teacher L. 5 annually, and furnish him with a school-room; an apartment for himself, and a large garden. The only advantage which the remaining teacher has, is the use of a school-room on another part of the Bargany estate. The school fees are paid monthly, at the following rates, - for English, 10d.; English and writing, 1s. 2d.; arithmetic, with the preceding branches, 1s. 4d.; Latin with the preceding, 1s. 8d.

The benefits of education are duly prized by all the inhabitants. Their children are sent to school, and are instructed at home at a very early age, so that in all probability there is not one of six years of age who has not begun to read. Almost all take lessons in writing. Whatever may be the case in some parts of Scotland, it is a mistake to suppose, that the education of children in this quarter is to any extent neglected. The data upon which this opinion has been formed have been taken from their numbers actually attending school at a given time. But because these numbers do not come up to the proportion that should be receiving instruction in a well ordered community, it does not follow that the remaining children are growing up in total ignorance. A labouring man cannot afford to send to school at one and the same time all his children who are at an age for attending it. But he gives a year's schooling to one, and then a year's schooling to another, and then revives the education of the first by an additional quarter for him; and so on with the others, till the whole of his children are enabled to read tolerably well, and do accounts. Many of the young people,  after they grow up, attend the evening-schools, which the teachers are in the practice of keeping during a part of the year. From the situation  of the different schools, there is easy access to one or other of them, from all parts of the parish.

Literature.- A parochial library was established in 1819, and now contains 162 volumes. The rate of subscription is very moderate, and a payment of L. 2 at once constitutes a free member, or gives a right to use the library for life. The pressure of the times, or some other cause, has prevented the funds of the library from increasing to any extent.

Friendly Societies.- A friendly society was instituted about twenty-five years ago. During a part of that time, it was in a flourishing condition, but there were obvious defects in some of its rules; these have been partially removed. The terms of admission, as compared with the allowances  granted to the sick, are   still too small. But various means have been adopted to prevent its funds from being materially injured. The benefit which it has conferred in providing for a period of sickness is well understood, and very highly appreciated. A female friendly society was instituted ten or twelve years ago. It is composed at present 50 members, and promises to do well. It is now managed entirely by the members.

Savings Bank.- A savings bank has existed in this parish since 1817. The total amount of the deposits at present is nearly L. 700. The payments made by the bank have for several years past exceeded the deposits. Formerly the case was greatly the reverse. The deposits have varied from L. 100 to L. 130 yearly, but are now considerably below L. 100. In 1830, the sum withdrawn was rather more than L. 167. In 1831, it was about L. 140. In 1833, about L. 200 In 1834, about L. 190. Since then very little business has been done. The depositors are of various descriptions. There are some old people who have lodged in the savings bank the little surplus that remains to them of their former earnings. There are farm-servants, labourers, colliers, females who live by their needle, children in whose names their  parents have entered small sums as a security for their having something wherewith to educate them, or send them out into the world. The treasurers of the friendly  societies also lodge their spare cash in the savings bank.

Poor and Parochial Funds.- The average number of persons receiving parochial aid is 45, and the average sum allotted to each is L. 2, 7s. yearly.

The funds for the poor, which the benevolence or economy of former times had accumulated, were all expended about fourteen years ago. An annual contribution, of from L. 80 to L. 100, is now made by the heritors, to eke out the provision which is raised for the poor from the church collections and other sources, The collections used to amount to about L. 50 annually, but have latterly fallen much short of that sum, principally on account of heritors residing less in the parish than they did. Other funds destined for the relief of the poor, arising from dues on proclamations of marriages, &c. average about L. 15.

The cases are few inn which reluctance is shewn to apply for parochial relief, or in which the idea of its being degrading to do so is entertained.

Miscellaneous Observations.

The general appearance of the parish is very much improved within the last twelve years, consequently, still more so since the last Statistical Account was drawn up. The sale at the coal-works then was about 9000 tons. It is now about 20,000. The produce of the woods was estimated then at L. 200 yearly. It is now about L. 1200. There is not so much grain raised now as formerly on some of the best land in the parish, a great part of it having been laid down as pasture, with large plantations interspersed. It is perhaps in consequence of this altered style of cultivation that the village contiguous to the church contains now 550 instead of 170 inhabitants, as formerly. Several parts of the parish, which were known as separate farms of considerable extent, are at present without a single dwelling upon them. Notwithstanding the increase of the population, and the larger mass that is assembled in one place, the number of ale-houses or spirit-shops is diminished by more than a half. There were formerly eighteen, there are now only eight. The number was restricted lately from a conviction of the injurious effects which the facility of obtaining ardent spirits must produce on the morals of the people. The only other observation which it seems necessary to make respects the increased means of education. Formerly several families in the remote parts of the parish united together to engage a private teacher, for two or three months, for the benefit of their children, That system is now unnecessary; and the poorest children, by attending at Sunday schools, have an excellent opportunity both of being instructed in the truths of religion, and of keeping up any little education which they have received. There are six schools of that description in the parish.

September 1837


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