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Skelmorlie - 1879 Guide Book

Skelmorlie - 1879 Guide Book

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Published by Skelmorlie
The Rev. John Boyd's guide was commissioned for "Strangers Residing in The District and Visitors at The Wemyss Bay Hydropathic Establishment ( Skelmorlie Hydro Hotel )".
The Rev. John Boyd's guide was commissioned for "Strangers Residing in The District and Visitors at The Wemyss Bay Hydropathic Establishment ( Skelmorlie Hydro Hotel )".

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Published by: Skelmorlie on Mar 06, 2008
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09/06/2012

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1
AN 1879 GUIDE
TO
WEMYSS BAY, SKELMORLIE,
INVERKIP, LARGS
ANDTHE SURROUNDING DISTRICTS
WITH MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS
Written ByThe Rev John Boyd, M.A.
Minister (1871 - 1899) ofWemyss Bay and Skelmorlie United Presbyterian Church'The North Church'
for
Strangers Residing in The Districtand
Visitors atThe Wemyss Bay Hydropathic Establishment
( Skelmorlie Hydro Hotel )Published By ALEXANDER GARDNER, PAISLEY 1879
 
2
PREFACE
.This
brochure
is principally intended for strangers residing in the district and for visitors at The Wemyss BayHydropathic Establishment, in quest of health or recreation, who may desire to know something of the places whichthey visit in their daily excursions. At the same time, it is hoped that it may not be altogether without interest topermanent residenters, by affording information regarding the locality, which the writer finds is not always possessedby those most familiar with its scenery. Whatever is of value in a historical or antiquarian point of view, the writer hasattempted to bring before the reader in the following pages.The district north of Inverkip has not been described, as that is taken up by another publication shortly to be issued (in1879).
CONTENTS
SkelmorlieSkelmorlie CliffWemyss BayKelly, The Origin of Name and HistoryLivingstone's HutSmugglingSkelmorlie Castle, Its History and Walks at Skelmorlie CastleSkelmorlie Aisle and MonumentNotes on Skelmorlie CastleSkelmorlie GlenBridgend HouseSerpent MoundMeigleSkelmorlie to LargsSt. FillansSt. Fillan's ChapelKnock CastleBrisbane Glen and Prophet's GraveInverkip and The Roman BridgeArdgowanOld Castle of Inverkip"Auld Kirk" - Ecclesiastical HistoryInverkip Notorious for WitchesWitch TaleDunrod and The Ballad of "Auld Dunrod"LargsBattle of Largs and The Remains of The BattleLargs to FairlieFairlie - Village, Castle and GlenParish of KilbridePortincross CastleRothesayMillportNames of Places and Roman Remains
ILLUSTRATIONS
Map of the Firth of Clyde (missing)Facsimile of the Hut built for Dr. Livingstone to Die inRoman Bridge, near InverkipMap of Inverkip, Dunrod, and Roman BridgeSerpent MoundKnock Hill - Ancient Triply-Entrenched Camp
 
3
SKELMORLIE
T
HE
district designated by the terms Skelmorlie and Wemyss Bay includes a tract of land strtching along the coast ofThe Firth of Clyde, about three miles in extent, from Skelmorlie Burn to Wemyss Point, divided, as the namesindicate, into two separate but closely-connected settlements and bounded south and north by two colossal castles,Skelmorlie and Wemyss, the one with the remains of its huge thick walls and low arched gateway, reminding us of thepast and connecting us with the rude manners and warlike habits of the 15th century, when strength and security fromaggression were of more concern than internal comfort; the other, with its modern adornments and recently laid outgrounds, possessed and occupied by one of the great company of Cunard, symbolic of the industry and enterprise ofthe present 19th century.Like several of the other Clyde watering-places, Skelmorlie is of quite recent origin and may be said to date no furtherback than 1850, in which year 'feuing' was commenced. Before that time, the toll-house and one or two others,were the only houses on the shore. Originally the feuing price was £8 per acre - the last feu on the shore was £35 peracre. Feus on the upper ground may be had for £15 per acre. Skelmorlie owes its popularity chiefly to its naturallybeauty of situation and pure bracing air, but no doubt much also to its easy access to Glasgow. Considerable impetuswas given to feuing by the opening of the Wemyss Bay Railway in 1865, which brings it within an hour's reach ofGlasgow, seventeen minutes from Greenock and in consequence, it has become the favourite summer residence ofmany Glasgow and Greenock merchants, several residing throughout the whole year. Nearly all the houses are built ofred sandstone, obtained from a quarry in the neighbourhood, which are quite in keeping with the locality. Theprincipal houses are along the shore, on the road leading from the sta- tion. A second row, built on the summit of thecliff in a line with The Hydropathic Establishment, commands very extensive views. A third row, higher up, is incourse of building, and above that, a beautiful crescent is in course of formation. Upper Skelmorlie is further back,and contains several houses at a cheaper rate for working men. With this exception, the feu contracts forbid theerection of a house of less than a certain specified value, and no more than one house can be erected on eachfeu. In consequence of this restriction, Skelmorlie can never become a town, or even a village of any extent and alwayslie a favourite resort for those who love retirement and seclusion from the busy haunts of men.In 1856, The Established Church was built and enlarged in 1858 and in 1874 the United Presbyterian Church,near the station, was erected. In 1860 Skelmorlie was formed into a
quod sacra
parish, including portion ofthe parish of Largs, from St. Fillans on the south to Kelly Burn (flowing past the United Presbyterian Church) on thenorth and also including a portion of In- verkip parish, from Kelly Burn to Castle Wemyss, extending altogether aboutfour miles and a half along the shore. The Kelly Burn divided the Parishes of Largs and Inverkip, and still divides theCounties of Ayr and Renfrew.
Beach House
, near the pier, is one of the oldest houses in the district, having been built in 1844, long before feuingbecame general and 1ong the residence of Mr. Arbuthnot, the father-in-law of Mr John Burns. It has recently beenmuch enlarged and improved Mr. James Galbraith, the present proprietor and forms a charming marine residence.Immediately above it, nearly hid by trees, is
Morland House
, the residence of Mr. Lawrerence Robertson. Thishouse has also been much enlarged and occupies a most commanding situation with delightful views to the north andwest.In 1868,
The Hydropathic Establishment
was erected. It is built of red sandstone, in the Scottish baronial styleand is noted for the beauty and grandeur of its situation. The cliff on which it and the houes adjoining are built is abold rugged rock of conglomerate sandstone and pebble, overgrown with trees and ivy and rising toa perpendicularheight of about 100-feet above the shore road. The situation is perhaps unsurpassed by that of any similar institution inthe country. Perchcd on the edge of this precipitous rock, it affords to its occupants the most bracing air impregnatedwith health-giving ozone, while at the same time the student of nature can feast his eyes on some of the grandestscenery which the Firth of Clyde affords. Very extensive new baths were built in 1875, when, in addition to all themost modern appliances of hydropathy for the treatment of disease, including a very complete Turkish bath, salt waterwas introduced and is daily pumped up from the sea by a powerful hydraulic engine at the rate of 1,000 gallons perhour. This is one of the few establishments in the country where salt-water baths (hot and cold) can be had at any time,and where (if the reader will pardon the Irishism) the luxury can be enjoyed of salt water fresh from the sea. One greatgreat source of enjoyment, particularly to those whose health compels them to remain indoors, is the number of shipsof all sorts continually passing and as "The Measured Mile", by which nearly all Clyde-built steamers try their speed,stretches from the establishment to Skelmorlie Castle (indicated by the white poles on the shore and underneath thecliff) they may be seen every day passing and repassing the house.The views from most of the houses here are matter of constant remark by strangers. Views may be had elsewhere on amore extensive scale, revealing richer scenes and wider tracts of country, but none where sea and shore, mountain and

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