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Ramble Round Kilmarnock
Chapter 1


Rise and Progress of Kilmarnock--The Cross--Flesh Market Bridge--Corn Exchange--Clerk's Lane--Fore St.--High Church and Burying Ground--King Street--Wellington Street--Fever Hospital--Portland Street.

Before starting on a ramble through Kilmarnock, I deem it necessary to give a sketch of the town in former times, seeing that it owes much of its present prosperity to the enterprise of days gone by. The knowledge that "Auld Killie" may be justly considered the metropolis of Ayrshire may suggest comparisons highly satisfactory to our sense of vanity, and the glories of progress, but let it not be forgotten that all things of which we may be inclined to boast will have their day, and that nothing is immutable below,

"The glories of our birth and state
Being shadows, not substantial things."

With this simple introduction, then, I open my subject by stating that the origin of the town is shrouded in obscurity. It is generally supposed that an early promoter of Christianity named Saint Marnock built a church and therein expounded the tenets of his creed. Houses in time sprang up in its vicinity and formed a village, which gradually increased into the proportions of a town.

As far back as authentic history goes, Kilmarnock seems to have been under the feudal jurisdiction of the Lords Boyd, who were barons of the district, and dwelt in Dean Castle, the ruins of which still stand in a vale on the bank of the Kilmarnock Water, about a mile and a-half north-east of the town. In 1591 it was created a burgh of barony, and in 1672 a second charter was conferred upon it, that endowed it with further privileges. In 1609 Timothy Pont visited it when surveying Cunninghame, and makes mention of it thus:-- "Kilmernock-toune and kirk--is a large village, and of great repaire. It hath in it a weekly market; it hat a faire stone bridge over the river Mernock, vich glyds hard by the said toune till it falles in the river Irving. It hath a pretty church, from which the village, castlle, and lorschipe takes its name," &c. At that early date Kilmarnock seems to have been a place of considerable importance, manufactures being carried on to some extent in it. in 1695 the first magistrates were appointed; these were chosen by the Superior from a list presented to him by the Council annually. This system continued until 1745, afterwards the Council appointed the bailies.

Kilmarnock did not make much progress as a town until the middle of the eighteenth century, or until after it was freed from baronial jurisdiction; then it began to prosper civically and commercially. About this time, the author of "The History of Kilmarnock" says, "the town presented a mean and inelegant appearance. The streets were crooked and narrow; the houses were low and poorly lighted; and to many of them that were two storeys high were attached outside stairs that not only confined the already limited thoroughfares, but gave to the houses themselves a rude and clumsy aspect. The principal streets at that time were those now called High Street, Soulis Street, Fore Street, Back Street, Croft Street, Strand Street, and Sandbed Street, which, with some buildings at the Cross, Netherthonholm, and a few back tenements and lanes, formed the whole of the town." In 1777, or nearly fifty years after the introduction of the manufacture of woollen fabrics, Loch in his "Essays" makes mention of it as a place of considerable manufacturing importance, and states that it was possessed of two hundred and forty looms for the weaving of silk, sixty for the weaving of carpets, forty for the weaving of linen, thirty for the weaving of blankets, thirty for the weaving of serges and shalloons, twenty for the weaving of duffles, and six stocking frames; also of being possessed of two tanyards and a good trade in shoes. As business increased so grew the population, and from an obscure village Kilmarnock came to be the most important town in Ayrshire. Dr. Webster states that the town "in 1763 contained nearly 5000 inhabitants; in 1792, 6776; in 1801, 8079; in 1811, 10,148; in 1821, 12,769; in 1831, 18,093; in 1841, 19,398." In 1871 it numbered 23,709. In the Edinburgh Magazine for July, 1831, there is an article which gives some curious statistical information. I make the following extract:--"In Kilmarnock about 1200 weavers and 200 printers are engaged in the manufacture of harness and worsted printed shawls. From 31st May, 1830, to June 1, 1831, there were no less than 1, 128,814 of these shawls manufactured, the value of which would be about 200,000. In the manufacture of Brussels, Venetian, and Scottish carpets and rugs, the quality and patterns of which are not surpassed by any in the country, there are upwards of 1000 weavers employed. The annual amount of this important branch of manufacture cannot be less than  100,000. About 2400 pairs of boots and shoes are made every week, of which three-fourths are for exportation; annual value about 32,000. The manufacture of bonnets is also extensive, there being upwards of 224,640 yearly made by the corporation, and annual value of which is 12,000. The number of sheep and lamb skins dressed annually exceeds 140,000."

Since that time the advancement of mechanical science and the appliance of machinery has in a manner revolutionised the trades of the country, and weaving and block-printing have received an irreparable shock in Kilmarnock, as elsewhere. The sound of the shuttle has now a faint echo in her streets, and block-printing is all but extinct; but for the manufacture of carpets Kilmarnock is still a rival to Brussels and other more pretentious seats of this industry. Within the last thirty years prodigious advances in business and manufactures have been made. Engineering, and also brass and iron founding, have been added to the trades of the town to such an extent that it is better known now-a days by such products than for carpets and bonnets. Within the same period the old portion of the town has in a great measure been swept away or remodelled. New streets and new localities have been formed, and the Kilmarnock of to-day may be said to be a minor city; but I will now conclude this imperfect sketch and start on a ramble

"Through a' the streets and neukas o'Killie,"

and thereby convey to the reader some idea of the present appearance of the town.

The Cross being the great local centre, I will make it the starting-point; but as it is possessed of considerable historic interest, perhaps a few words regarding it may not be inappropriate. Kilmarnock Cross is most spacious, although of a most peculiar form, having no less than seven streets branching off it. In the centre stands a marble statue of Sir James Shaw, who rose from a humble position to that of Lord Mayor of London. He was born in the parish of Riccarton in 1764, and died in 1843. The statue was erected in 1848. The form of the Cross has been compared to the turned-up root of an old tree, but a nearer comparison, I think, is the right hand palm downwards, with the fingers extended and spread out, the index finger being held in a line with the wrist. The wrist represents King Street; the thumb, Cheapside Street; the index finger, Portland Street; the mid finger, Fore Street; the one next to it, Regent Street; and the little finger, Duke Street. To account for Waterloo Street you must add an imaginary finger, or get some one with six, the illustration will be complete. The appearance of the Cross is not inelegant; it contains some fine shops, and the principal streets leading off it are wide and spacious. Looking up Portland Street, which is a handsome thoroughfare, the George Hotel stands prominently out. Looking down King Street, which is similar in appearance, the eye rests on the Council Buildings, the Relief Church, and the hills of Craigie in the distance. I Cheap-side Street and the old tower and the clock of the Laigh Kirk present themselves, and in looking along Duke Street the principal object that arrests attention is the Corn Exchange. At an early period a corn mill stood in the Cross, the wheel of which was driven by a lade connected with the river. In  the southern corner of the Cross John Nisbet was executed in 1683. The spot where the gallows stood is marked with white stones, which are best seen in wet water. Nisbet was a Covenanter, and was accused of being concerned in the rising at Bothwell, and refusing to give information regarding the whereabouts of certain of his friends. Every step of the ladder he considered to be a step nearer Heaven. Tradition has it that the crowd at the execution was so great that the roofs of the houses were covered with people who were anxious to get a glimpse of the martyr. There is a stone in the Low Church burying ground to his memory which will be noticed hereafter. In 1740 "the roaring game" was practised in the Cross by some ingenious curlers, who obtained water from a pump and retained it by daming. Previous to 1802 the Cross was confined and inconvenient, but power from Parliament being obtained to improved the town, many of the houses were torn down and the area widened. In 1804 King Street was opened up, and shortly afterward Portland Street was formed. Duke Street was formed in 1859 and opened with civic honours, a procession headed by the Provost and Town Council walking along it. In April, 1820, the town was invaded by a regiment of Edinburgh Yeomanry Cavalry, who placed a loaded cannon at the Cross ready for execution while a search for Radicals was going on. The scene at the Cross that day was one to be remembered, and many still living recollect it.

In the summer of 1830 Green the aeronaut ascended in a balloon from the Cross amidst the acclamations of assembled thousands. The Magistrates and Council, who superintended the affair, had barricades erected at all the entrances, intending to make a charge for admission; but the people, upon the example being set, broke them down and thronged the reserved ground. In December, 1808, in a passage called Nailer's Close, that led from the Cross to Green Street, but which has been removed by the formation of Duke Street, a soldier was mortally stabbed by a deserter. The ruffian escaped and was never more heard of, although a reward of twenty pounds was offered for his apprehension. A knife that was supposed to belong to the assassin was afterwards found sticking in a tree in the neighborhood. By the over-flowing of the Kilmarnock Water the Cross was flooded to the depth of about four feet on the morning of the 14th July, 1852. I will close this brief notice with an account of the ludicrous battle, known as "the Sour Milk Rebellion," that took place in the Cross in 1829. At that period the farmers who drove their milk into the town vended it at the Cross [The Cross was the market place of the town. Stalls stood in it for the sale of vegetables, fish, "blackman," &c, and on market days boots, shoes, and other articles of domestic use were sold.], and from a dozen to eighteen carts thronged the area every morning. The farmers agreeing amongst themselves to raise the price of sour milk by reducing the measure intimated their intention to the guidwives of "Auld Killie," who strenuously denounced and opposed what they considered "an extortion." Combining, they refused to purchase sour milk until the old measure was restored, and threatened to smash both the jug and head of any one who should pay the increased price. Their threats were in some instances carried into effect, and the uproar occasioned brought business to a standstill, for amazons flocked from all quarters to the scene of the disturbance. An officious Bailie, accompanied by a town office (there were no police then) made his appearance with the intention of restoring order. Matters now became worse, a general row commence, in which the sour milk taps were set running, and wherever the Bailie and his men went they were hustled by the dames and well soused with canfuls of the liquid until they were half-blinded and drenched to the skin. Crestfallen and whitewashed with the milk they made a hasty retreat amid the jeers and laughter, and left the Cross in the hands of the rioters. It is needless to say that the old measure was restored. a similar rebellion took place in the town about thirty years ago. I might mention several meal mobs that gathered in the Cross, but space forbids.

Turning Mr. M'Kie's corner I enter Waterloo Street, which is narrow, but widens as it reaches Fleshmarket Bridge. The houses are dingy and ol-fashioned in appearance. It was in Waterloo Street the first edition of the poems of Robert Burns was printed. The house in which the printing office was is said to be that on the left hand side of the Star Inn Close. This circumstances has entwined Kilmarnock inseparably with the memory of Burns.

In November, 1807, two women were found murdered in the back apartment of the shop in Waterloo Street, at the corner of the bridge. Two men were tried for the crime but acquitted. Here the Flesh Market Bridge spans the Kilmarnock Water, and connect Waterloo Street with Market Place. One the bridge there is a row of shops, and here, as the name implies, the Flesh Market was held. Space is so valuable that a great portion of the stream as it passes through the townis arched over and built on. The principal erections are the Council House and Police Offices. The bridge bears the following inscription:--"Flood 14th July, 1852," which refers to one of the greatest calamities that ever visited Kilmarnock. In consequence of a waterspout or extraordinary rainfall at an early hour on the morning of the above date the usually placid Kilmarnock Water rose far above its banks, and rolled in a torrent along the course of its channels, sweeping before it almost everything that obstructed its progress. Large boulders were rolled by the current as if they had been pebbles, and trees, rock-rooted, that had withstood many a stor, were torn from their beds and whirled along by the eddy, like twigs. Machinery was washed out of work-shops, furniture out of houses, and good out of stores. Walls, houses, and bridges were swept away, and the lives of many of the townspeople were jeopardised. The water in the street at Flesh Market Bridge was five and a half feet deep. It poured up Waterloo Street, Guard Lane, and Market Lane, flooded the Cross, and rushed in a torrent down King Street, bearing on is bosom tables and chairs, and many articles out of shops, the doors of which had been burst open by the force of the flood. The value of the property destroyed within the Parliamentary bounds was estimated at 15,000. Passing along Waterloo Street the view on the opposite side of the stream embraces Tankardha' Brae and two or three tall factories that raise themselves against the steep bank that rises conically from the channel. It is said that stage coaches to and from London used to pass up and down the Tankardha' Brae, but the path is so steep and narrow that it is difficult to conceive how the feat was accomplished.

Turning into Green Street I pass the Butter Market, where maids and matrons from the country dispose of their butter, eggs, and poultry on market days, and arrive in Duke Street, pausing before the entrance to the Corn Exchange Hall.

The Corn Exchange is the finest structure in the town, if not in the whole county. It is situated at the corner of Green Street and London Road, and extends one hundred and thirty-six feet along the first-mentioned thoroughfare, and ninety-two along the latter. It is two storied, and the style of the architecture is Italian. Above the hall entrance there is a tower one hundred and ten feet high, surmounted with three clock dials. The tower is called the Albert Tower and was erected by public subscription to the memory of the late Prince Consort. The building was opened in September, 1863. The under storey consists of shops, and in the upper storey are the Kilmarnock Library, Athenaeum, Reading-room, and two small offices which are allotted to the Registrar and Sanitary Inspector. Attached is the Butter Market. The hall is spacious, and seated for twelve hundred. It has a commodious gallery, and behind the platform there is a large finely-toned organ that cost 800, and which is held by trustees for behoof of the public.

I now pass along Duke Street, which, as already stated, was opened for traffic in 1859. It forms a direct communication from the Cross to London Road, instead of the tortous approach by Waterloo Street. The street is wide. One side is occupied by a row of handsome buildings, the other as yet is only partly built on. The corner block which faces the Cross is, in an architectural point of view, very chaste in design. Passing Regent Street, I pass through the Cross and enter Fore Street, or, as it is generally termed, the Fore-gate; but before proceeding on my way I will say a word about Clerk's Lane Church, which is situated in Regent Street, and seen from the corner of Duke Street. Clerk's Lane Church is at present an Evangelical Union place of worship, and the pastor is the Rev. Robert Hislop. The building originally belonged to a sect called "Antiburghers." It is a plain block, with something resembling a flower-pot in front of it, close to which stands a house that was at one time the manse. Several eminent divines have laboured in Clerk's Lane Church, not the least of whom was the Rev. James Robertson: he was ordained in 1777 and died in 1811. Although of scholastic attainments, he was most eccentric in his habits, and often pointed and personal in his discourse. Many anecdotes are preserved regarding him, only one of which space permits me to relate:--When preaching one day on the Atonement, he observed two individuals in his audience who had failed in business, and met the demands of their creditors--one with five shillings in the pound, and the other with two and sixpence. "Christ paid it all," said he: then with a fixed look at the one bankrupt and then at the other, he added, "it wasna five shillings in the pound Christ paid, O no; nor was it to and sixpence in the pound, but the whole pound; and that's what every man who wishes to be considered honest should do."

It was in the Clerk's Lane Church that the celebrated Dr Morison was tried by the Presbytery in 1841. He was plain Mr then, and in the morning of manhood. He had published a pamphlet which many considered contained doctrines that were at variance with the Confession of Faith. He also took a more liberal view of the Atonement of Christ than divines were wont to do, and did not hesitate to preach his opinions from the pulpit. Of course he was reformer, and like all who interfere with use and wont, he suffered. The Presbytery got wind of his heresy; he was tried, and suspended; he appealed to the Synod; it sustained the decision, and ultimately expelled him from the Secession Church. The trail began in the morning, and lasted until midnight. Mr Morison spoke for five hours in his own defence. His address was earnest and eloquent, so much so that he carried the sympathies of the majority of the audience with him. During the trial the excitement throughout the town was intense. Prayer meeting were held in various quarters to beseech the Almighty to sustain and uphold him, and the church was so packed that several of the pews were broken down, while hundreds who were unable to gain admission blocked up the lane. I need not state how Mr Morison rose Phoenix-like, how he laboured in fitting students for the ministry, and founded the denomination known as the Evangelical Union.

I elbow my way along the Foregate--which, by-the-bye, is a narrow, confined thoroughfare, lined on both sides with low-roofed, old-fashioned houses. Their ground floors are  mostly occupied with brokers' shops, at the doors of which furniture, old boots, and clothing of every description are exposed for sale. Strange smells greet the nostrils, and stranger sights the vision. Here unwashed children gambol in the gutter, and poverty-stricken men and women jostle each other as they pass up and down. Notwithstanding all this, the Foregate was at one time a most respectable street, and the first families lived in it. A short distance along it, on the left, there is a roofless ruin of a house, and behind it a store. On the site of this store stood a two-storied thatched cotage, with a court in front of it. It was taken down in June, 1863, and while workmen were engaged in its demolition, one of them discovered a leathern bag in a hole beneath the thatch. On being lifted out it burst, and a quantity of silver coins showered from it, which created a general scramble, in which every one engaged who was conveniently near. The coins were about the size of our present five shilling pieces, and were supposed to amount to several hundreds. Why the came to be there is an insoluble mystery. The house was at one time an inn, but this fact does not account for the hidden treasure. The coins, however, were possessed of a language. They were principally of the reign of Charles the First and Charles the Second, which intimates the era of the Persecution, when bloodshed and robbery were perpetrated to drive terror into the hearts of inoffensive people, and compel them to square their creed to Act of Parliament. Any one at all acquainted with the history of Kilmarnock must be aware of the atrocities committed in the town about this time; therefore it is not at all improbable that the concealer of the bag left the house--which was probably was his or her home--and never returned; that banishment or death for ever separated the individual from the town, and that the secret of the concealment was swalled up in the oblivion of the grave.

Opposite the old building referred to is Caprington Close, so called from the circumstance of a cadet of the Caprington family having resided in it in those days when

"Lairds sae spruce, an' leddies braw,
Proudlly thronged the Foregate."

Next to it is a public house, styled Kay's Tavern. The building is modern, and stands on the site of a low-roofed, thatched cottage, wherein Mr Kay, the testator of a large sum of money for schools and a public park, is alleged to have been born.

Picking my steps along this ancient street for some distance, and squeezing through the crowd of slatternly women and lazy, lounging men gathered round a ballard-singer, I pass Bond Lane, a vile-looking passage, then New Street--which, by-the-bye, has every appearance of being a very old street--and step into Soulis Street, which is just a continuation of the Foregate. Passing Paddy's Close, a cluster of houses that still retain a look of faded grandeur, I pass under an arch of the railway viaduct that spans the street, and emerge into a more respectable-looking locality.

A little up the street, on the left, stands the High Church. It is surrounded by a burying-ground. In the wall that separates it from the street there is a niche in which stands a fluted pillar, surmounted by an urn. Over the whole there is a kind of pediment, on which the following inscription is graven:--

"To the memory of Lord Soulis, A. D. 1444.
Erected by subscription, A. D. 1825.
'The days of old to mind I call.'"

Prior to this monument, a rude stone pillar, surmounted by a cross which was much decayed and time-worn, stood in the middle of the street. The circumstances that the monument commemorates is merely traditionary, and to the effect that Lord Soulis was an English nobleman who was shot by an arrow from the bow of one of the Boyds of Dean Castle. It is said that Boyd fired the fatal shot from the opposite bank of the Kilmarnock Water, which flows in the vicinity. In the centre of the street there is a diamond figure in the causeway, which marks the spot where the ill-fated Soulis fell. The grave-yard contains many handsome tomb-stones. One of the polished granite bears the following inscription:-- "Sacred to the memory of Thomas Kennedy, water meter manufacturer, who died 6th Sept., 1874, aged 77 years------." Thomas Kennedy was not, strictly speaking, the inventor of the water meter, yet it was owing to his persistent perseverance that the wonderful piece of mechanism was brought to its present state of perfection. In the infancy of the invention, difficulties were encountered and obstacles met with that would have disheartened any ordinary man, and had it not been for him a water meter manufactory would never have been in Kilmarnock. He added much to the trade and importance of the town, and the extensive work in Low Glencairn Street are his best monument. Meters of his patent are in use in all quarters of the civilised world.

The eccentric Rev. James Robertson that I mentioned in connection with Clerk's Lane Church is interred here. There is a handsome stone to his memory. Here also lie the remains of John Wilson, the printer of the first edition of the poems of Burns. He was, as every reader of Burns is aware, unmercifully lampooned by the bard in the following epitaphical stanza:--

HIC JACET WEE JOHNNIE.
"Whoe'er thou art, oh reader know,
That death has murder'd Johnnie!
And here his body lies fu' low--
For saul he ne'er had ony."

There is another stone I may mention. It is "to the memory of Robert Laurie, Waterlooman, late of the Scots Greys." It is stated by William Scott Douglas, in his little work on the County of Ayr, that this individual acquired a small property adjoining the churchyard, and felt a great desire that his bones should repose at the back of his house. But a trifling obstacle lay in the way of accomplishing his purpose. His father, John Laurie, was buried in the Laigh Kirkyard, and Robert disliked the idea of being separated from him in death. The method he adopted to reconcile matters was very singular. After procuring a lair on the desired spot, he erected a fine stone, with inscription to his father's memory and his own, and proceeded under cloud of a winter evening to the Laigh Kirkyard, where he dug up his father's bones and carried them away in a bag. Being thirsty by the way after his resurrection feat, he stepped into a public house and refreshed himself with liquor, placing the bag of bones by his side. How long he sat we have not been told; but eventually he got his father fairly buried in the other church-yard close to his own house, and he used to boast in his cups that he once sat and drunk in a public house, in the company of his father, many years after his father's death.

The High Church stands in the centre of the burying ground, and bears the date 1732. It is a large, plain, square building, with a spire in which there are clock dials. When  viewing Kilmarnock from the vicinity of the Townhead it is a prominent object. In 1731 the population had so increased that the Parish Church was found insufficient, and the Town Council resolved to erect an additional church in consequence. The scheme met with the approval of the Earl of Kilmarnock and Mr. Orr of Grougar, who between them contributed 1000 merks towards the fund. The Town Council gave 30 sterling, and the rest was raised by subscription. The building, exclusive of the spire, cost 850. The Earl, besides his subscription, gave the ground at the nominal feu-duty of one penny Scots, which was to be paid at a certain spot "if asked."

Upon the erection of the new kirk the ministers of the old preached by turns in it, but in 1764 a clergyman was appointed to the charge, and in 1811 the union between the old and new churches was severed by the latter being created a parish church. The diocese was termed 'The High Kirk Parish." Such is a brief outline of the origin and history of the High Church. Amongst the early ministers of the High Church may be mentioned the Rev. John Russell, who is said to have established the first Sabbath School in Kilmarnock. He was robust and very dark complexioned, was a strict disciplinarian, and used to go through the streets "between the preachings" with a stout stick in his hand in  quest of Sabbath-breakers. His sermons were always replete with references to the torments in store for the ungodly. He seems to have thought that terror of future punishment was more conducive to make men virtuous than appealing to the finer feelings of the breast by showing that the pleasure of doing good brings its own reward. Burns refers to him as follows in "The Holy Fair," and no doubt his description is a correct one:--

"But now the Lord's ain trumpet touts
Till a' the hills are rairin',
And echoes back return the shouts:
Black Russell is na' spairin';
His piercing words, like Highland swords,
Divide the joints and marrow;
His talk o' hell, where devils dwell,
Our vera sauls does harrow
Wi' fricht that day."

The present minister of the High Church is the Rev. James Aitken. He takes a deep interest in the homeless, destitute children of the town, and other matters connected with it. In the graveyard, a gate opens into Soulis Street, and another into Back Street. It was in Back Street that Sandy Patrick's bit "public" was situated. It is said to have been a favourite "ca' house" of the poet Burns, and that he drank many a social glass of the cap ale that the landlord brewed on the premises. Recent town improvements have swept the house away, and left its site an uncertainly.

Leaving the churchyard, I pass along High Street, and stop before an odd-like building with an inscription on it stating that it was built in 1705, and rebuilt, 1840. This is the meal market, a place at which that ingredient which composes.

"The halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food,"

was at one time vended; in fact, it was the only place in the town where it could be procured, for the Council enacted in 1711 "that all persons sell or retail their meal in the meal market, and not elsewhere."

Passing Menford Lane, Townhead Bridge and "Willie Mair's Brae" come in view. From the brae a beautiful view can be obtained of the ruin of Dean Castle and the valley stretching before it. Turning into Dean Lane, a steep, narrow thoroughfare, I come to Boyd Street. It is a very ancient street, and is lined on either side with old-fashioned houses that speak of "the day o' auld lang syne." Like Fore Street, it was at one time inhabited by people who were well-to-do in the world, but it changed days with it now. In this street the notorious "Timmer Land" is situated. n one of its rooms a man named Wallace altely dashed the brains of a little child out against the hearthstone. He was tried for it, and received twenty years' penal servitude! Twenty years for dashing out a child's brains? Yes, human life is at a discount, and hanging has become unfashionable. Across the lane from Boyd Street, on the right, stands a solitary, strange-looking thatch cottage. It was at one time a toll-house, and stood on the old line of the road to Glasgow in the days of stage-coaches. The road originally passed in front of it, and the coaches rattled down Dean Lane, along High Street, Soulis Street, Fore Street, and into the Cross; and when going to Ayr, down Sandbed Street and on through Riccarton. Opposite the toll-house is Gallows-knowe, a place that derives its name from the circumstances that a gibbet was erected here in the days of feudalism whereon to hang individuals who were convicted of theft and lesser crimes than the fellow Wallace received twenty years for. In these days there were nice distinctions observed. For instance, if a man was convicted of theft he was hanged, but if woman was convicted of the same offence they drowned her in a hole that was kept for female malefactors. This was called "pit and gallows," the power of which was conferred upon the Lords Boyd. The first Dissenting church in Kilmarnock was built on Gallows-knowe in 1772. It was taken down in 1861 upon the congregation removing to a more commodious place of worship in Portland Road.

I now enter Dean Street, opposite Witch Road. Witch Road is a handsome street of recent construction. It is said to derive its name from a weird-like path that at one time existed in its locality, and along which (tradition states) those convicted of witchcraft were led to execution. Turning into Wellington Street, I enter what may be appropriately termed the main artery of the town, and pass on my right the High Church Manse, a quaint building, surrounded by a garden; and farther down, on my left, Kay School, a pretty little Gothic structure, with a playground attached. The cost of erecting this and another school similar to it in Bentinck Street was defrayed from a legacy of 5000 bequeathed to the town for educational purposes by the late Mr Kay the location of whose birthplace I pointed out when entering the Foregate. Besides these buildings, Wellington Street contains some fine villas and substantial houses of a superior order. At its termination I pause to view Henderson Church (the Rev. David Landsborough's) and the Fever Hospital. The first is a plain but neat edifice. It was erected in 1818, and its congregation then formed a splinter off that of Gallows-knowe. It is at present under the wing of the Free Church. The second is a beautiful building, in the Frecian order of architecture, and consists of a centre and two wings. The right wing is recently added; the other portions were built in 1869. This noble Institution stands on a piece of rising ground called Mount Pleasant, and from its elevated position has a handsome appearance. It is wholly supported by subscriptions and donations bestowed by the benevolent. Since it has been opened three gifts of 500 each have been given to it by natives of Kilmarnock who have realised competencies. As yet it has never lacked support, and I trust it never shall, for to many a poor mortal it is a haven in the day of affliction, and not a few are nurtured and cared for within it when stricken down by disease who otherwise would pine from want and inattention.

In the vicinity of the Fever Hospital, but at a higher elevation, stands Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Chapel. It was erected in 1847, and occupies a site that overlooks the town, and commands an extensive view of the surrounding district. It is attended by a large congregation. The pastor is the Rev. Peter Forbes.

Wellington Street merges into Portland Street. Passing along it, the next object that attracts attention is the Free High Church, a very handsome building of a mixed kind of architecture. It was erected in 1844 at a cost of 3,000, but since then it has undergone many alterations and improvements. The Rev. Thomas Mainmay be said to be its founder. He was some time minister of the High Church, but seceded from the Establishment in 1843. The present pastor is the Rev. Ivie M. Maclachlan, B.A.

Passing under the railway bridge, a short walk brings me to the East an West George Streets. At the corner of the first named is situated the George Hotel, the largest place of the kind of town.

Portland Street now assumes a thorough business aspect. Down to the Cross, where it terminates, both sides are line with tall buildings, in which there is a continuous row of well-stocked shops. On the left, a little below East George Street, are situated the premises of the Kilmarnock Equitable Co-operative Society. On the ground floor there is a large retail provision store named "the Central," and two doors from it a shop devoted to cloth and drapery goods. The flat above "the Central" contains the library, reading-room, and offices of the Society. The library possesses over one thousand volumes, and the reading-room is well supplied with newspapers, magazines and periodicals. Beside "the Central," the Society have seven branch stores scattered through the town, five of these retail provisions and groceries, one boots and shoes, and one butcher meat. Their united drawings average 643 per week. The share capital amounts to 5,424. The turnover for last year amounted to 30,357, and the divisible profit to 2,286. These figures will convey to the reader a slight idea of what Co-operation is accomplishing in Kilmarnock. The business is conducted wholly by working men--men who have thought out the problem, "What can be done to better the 643 per week. The share capital amounts to 5,424. The turnover for last year amounted to 30,357, and the divisible profit to 2,286. These figures will convey to the reader a slight idea of what Co-operation is accomplishing in Kilmarnock. The business is conducted wholly by working men--men who have thought out the problem, "What can be done to better the condition of the working classes?" Co-operation, when conducted on sound principles, proves that the working classes can better their own condition morally, physically, and intellectually. The science is but in its infancy, Co-operators are but feeling their way, but most assuredly as it gathers strength and expands it will become the germ of that great Millenium that men are so anxiously looking forward to. Jostling along Portland Street, there is nothing remarkable beyond what is to be met with in business thoroughfares in all populous districts, and arrive once more in the Cross.


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