Kilwinning 1837
Residents 1837
WW1 Memorial
Poor Relief

My Kilwinning Links

Masonic Lodge
Bard of Yukon
Pub Poem
Photo Album

Ardeer Factory


Kilwinning is named after a holy man by the name Winning, or some similar sounding name. Heís said to have arrived at the mouth of the River Garnock in early times from Ireland. The truth is that itís uncertain where he actually come from, the suggestion is he could have come from Ireland, Wales or even some other part of Scotland. But, itís agreed that he set up his church in the area and was well respected.

Kilwinning is perhaps best known for itís abbey and Masonic background Ė itís recognised as the birthplace of Scottish Masonry. The abbey is believed to date back to 1188, the 800th anniversary of the founding of the abbey was celebrated in 1988. But the town is also known for where the oldest recorded archery event in the British Isles occurred, this event is known as the Papingo shoot, for which reference to records go back to 1483.

Robert Service, best known as The Bard of the Yukon penned his first poems in Kilwinning while living there with his grandfather and three maiden aunts. His grandfather was the local postmaster. The work of Robert Service is held in high esteem throughout the world, his story "
The Shooting of Dan McGrew" is considered a classic.

The first settlement in the area is said to have been where the Corsehill (the hill of the cross) is today, across the river from the abbey, itís believed to have been known as Segdoune. According to local historian James Kennedy, by 1860 mining communities had grown up in Dura, Lylestone, Fergushill, Benslie, Bartonholm, Moncur, Redston and Blacklands.

Indeed, with the opening of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway system in 1840 and the resulting boom in the steel and coal industries, people flocked to the town for employment. Since that time nothing like the poverty experienced after the demise of the weaving trade has ever been experienced. 


Interested in family research? My McCallum and associated families go back a long way in Kilwinning. Check out the "Surnames" page on my website.

Books About Kilwinning
Kilwinning (in old picture postcards volume 1.)
James Kennedy. 

Kilwinning: Past and Present by Roy Laughlan MBE

Old Kilwinning by Roy Laughlan MBE
Pictorial booklet (50) old photographs

Life and Recollections of Doctor Duguid of Kilwinning
By John Service. Said to be available at Ardrossan Library.