The parish of Kilwinning is small in area lying in the Cunningham district
of North Ayrshire. The parish includes the sizeable town of the same name, Fergushill and the Eglinton Country Park.
Kilwinning town, which lies on the River Garnock a few miles inland from
Ardrossan by way of busy
Stevenston, is notable as the home of
Freemasonry in Scotland. Mother Lodge Kilwinning (No 0) was founded in 1107,
at the same time as the Abbey, of which the few remains have been incorporated into the present Parish Church.
Kilwinning was known earlier this century (20th) for its engineering works,
iron foundry and fire-clay works and with an older worsted-spinning industry.
With the advent of the railways, Kilwinning became known as 'The
Crossroads of Ayrshire'. The town has grown considerably into the
suburban sprawl linking Irvine in the south and Stevenston and Ardrossan to the north west.
Eglinton Castle (the seat of the Earl of Eglinton) is chiefly remembered as
the scene of the great tournament in 1839 by which it was hoped to revive certain aspects of ancient chivalry.
The old Home Farm has been transformed into the Eglinton Country Park which
is open to visitors.
Between Kilwinning and the sea is a somewhat desolate area of sandhills in
which were once large explosive works owned by ICI. Through this area the River Garnock winds to the sea and the Irvine, after making an extraordinary loop, joins it, just below the town of Irvine. The area includes the
Bogside Golf Course.
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