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
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.The
Shooting of Dan McGrew" is considered a classic.
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 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
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.)
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.