STAIR, a parish, in the district of Kyle, county of Ayr, 4½ miles (S. W. by W.) from Mauchline; containing 823 inhabitants. This place was erected into a parish in the year 1673, for the accommodation of the family of Dalrymple, of Stair, who resided at a great distance from their parish church of Ochiltree. The half of the minister's stipend, however, which this family agreed to pay, having been improperly allocated, and there being other differences between the parties, the faults of the erection were amended by a new process in 1709, when several lands were disjoined from, and others united to, the parish constituted in 1673. Stair lies between the rivers Ayr and Kyle or Kill, the former separating it from Tarbolton on the north and Mauchline on the east, and the latter from Coylton on the west throughout the greater part of its boundary in that direction. It measures about six miles in extreme length and two in extreme breadth, but at one place is entirely crossed by a part of the parish of Ochiltree; it comprises 4040 acres, of which almost 640 are under wood, and nearly all the remainder arable. The surface is diversified by undulations, and the general scenery is agreeably enlivened by the two rivers; which are considered excellent trouting streams. The Ayr afforded also a large supply of good salmon till within the last twenty years; but this fish has since been taken only to a very limited extent, in consequence of the obstruction offered at the mouth of the river by the formation of a dam. The soil, with the exception of that near the rivers, is mostly a stiff clay on a retentive subsoil; and the land, portioned into thirty-six farms, is cultivated under the rotation system, and produces chiefly oats, peas, and barley, with small crops occasionally of potatoes and turnips, the last, however, only for domestic purposes. Wheat was formerly raised on some of the lands; but its culture was discontinued, having been found prejudicial to the pasture. The farm buildings are generally good, and the inclosures, which are mostly thorn hedges, receive much attention; but draining is still in a backward state, though it has latterly excited some interest. Arable land lets on the average at about £1 per acre, and the leases run nineteen years. The sheep are of the native breed, with some mixtures, and, as well as the cattle, are comparatively few; but milchcows are kept to the number of nearly 500, and about 6000 stone of cheese are annually made.
   The district is distinguished for its valuable minerals, comprising coal, sandstone, clay-slate, plumbago, copper and antimony, and limestone; the copper and antimony, however, have not been wrought, and the limestone, on account of its peculiar situation, and its great depth in a coal-shaft, is of little use. The banks of the Ayr consist almost entirely of red sandstone; and a yellowish and a grey-coloured freestone are found, the latter of which is extensively quarried, supplying most of the building-stone used in the neighbourhood. There is also a quarry of fine white freestone in full operation; and on the banks of the Ayr is a species of whetstone lying forty feet deep, known by the name of the "Water-of-Ayr stone," which has long been regularly worked, and prepared to a considerable extent for sale in the home market and for exportation. The coal is abundant, and has been wrought on the estates of Drongan and Drumdow in large quantities; the works at the former place, which have been open for 150 years, are still in full operation, but the Drumdow works, which are only of about fifteen years' standing, have been recently suspended. A flourishing pottery of earthenware has been long carried on, upon the Drongan estate, for the making of various black and brown vessels for domestic and dairy purposes, as well as flower-pots, chimney-pots, &c. This ware is not only in great demand throughout the county of Ayr, but also in Dumfries-shire, Galloway, and other parts; and large quantities of it are sent to America, the Highlands, and to Glasgow. There are numerous grain-mills turned by horses; a saw-mill, also, has lately been erected on the property of Dalmore; and one of the grain-mills has a threshing-mill attached, driven by water-power. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4951. The plantations on the estate of Barskimming, the largest in the locality, cover about 450 acres, and consist of hard-wood trees, Scotch fir, and belts and clumps of larches; a large proportion is of mature growth, and supplies regular fellings. A young and thriving plantation of 150 acres ornaments the estate of Drongan; and there are thirty-eight acres on the property of Stair, where, also, numerous clumps said to have been disposed according to the manner in which the British troops were drawn up at the battle of Dettingen, have been lately cut down. A solitary tree, yet standing on an adjacent eminence, is still called the general.
   In a holm near the river is Stair House, the ancient residence of the illustrious family from which it takes its name: after having passed, with an estate containing 168 acres, through many hands since it was disposed of by the original proprietors, it was re-purchased by the seventh Earl of Stair about fifteen years since. The mansion, now inhabited by a tenant, is partly ancient and partly modern, and is much dilapidated, especially the older portion. In the vicinity are a very fine willow, and a Lombardy poplar of ample stature and beautiful appearance, with several full-grown beeches, the remains of the sylvan treasures that once so profusely ornamented this locality. Barskimming House, situated on the bank of the Ayr, is a spacious and elegant mansion, with two wings which were built about the year 1816, when, also, many improvements were made in the interior. The eastern wing contains an apartment more than sixty feet long, with three divisions, appropriated to the reception of a library of about 18,000 volumes, comprising the finest editions of the Greek and Roman classics, and the choicest works in every other department of literature and science, collected by the present proprietor. A lawn spreads itself out before the mansion, ornamented with many trees, especially Scotch firs, of great stature and beauty; and at a short distance further up the river, is a secluded spot encompassed with stately beeches, in which Burns composed the poem entitled Man is made to Mourn. Another mansion is that of Drongan, now in a dilapidated state in consequence of the death of the proprietor several years since at Calcutta; he resided there as a merchant and banker, and at the time of his decease was about to return to his native country to settle on his property. The agricultural produce is generally sent for sale to Ayr and Kilmarnock: to the former place a road runs from Dumfries, by way of Cumnock, through the parish; and Stair is intersected also by a public road leading from the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright to Glasgow; besides which there are three bridges over the Ayr, supplying facilities of communication with different parts. The parish is in the presbytery of Ayr and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the patronage of the Earl of Stair: the minister's stipend is £215, with a manse, and a glebe of thirty acres, valued at £25 per annum. The church is an ancient, plain edifice, beautifully situated near the bank of the river. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school affords instruction in the ordinary branches; the master has a salary of £30, with a house, and £20 fees. Of nearly 200 children that receive instruction in the parish, more than 160 attend this school.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

, / (of a flight of stairs)

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  • Stair — may refer to:;Places *Stair, Cumbria, England *Stair, East Ayrshire, Scotland;People * Sir Stair Agnew, (1831 ndash;1916), a Scottish public servant * James Dalrymple, 1st Viscount of Stair (1619 ndash;1695), Scottish lawyer and politician * John …   Wikipedia

  • Stair — (st[^a]r), n. [OE. steir, steyer, AS. st[=ae]ger, from st[imac]gan to ascend, rise. [root]164. See {Sty} to ascend.] 1. One step of a series for ascending or descending to a different level; commonly applied to those within a building. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • stair — W3S2 [steə US ster] n ↑banister, ↑stair, ↑step [: Old English; Origin: stAger] 1.) stairs [plural] a set of steps built for going from one level of a building to another →↑upstairs, downstairs ↑downstairs up/down the stairs …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • stair — [ ster ] noun *** 1. ) stairs plural a set of steps that allow you to go from one level of a building to another: They heard footsteps on the stairs. up/down the stairs: John raced down the stairs to answer the door. the top/head of the stairs:… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • stair — (n.) O.E. stæger flight of steps, also a single step, from P.Gmc. *staigri (Cf. O.N., O.Fris. stiga, M.Du. stighen, O.H.G. stigan, Ger. steigen, Goth. steigan to go up, ascend; O.E. stigan to climb, go; Ger. Steig path, O …   Etymology dictionary

  • stair — stair; back·stair; …   English syllables

  • Stair — (spr. Stähr), 1) James Dalrymple, Viscount von S., aus der alten Familie Dalrymple stammend, geb. 1619, wurde. unter Cromwell 1657 Richter beim schottischen Court of Session, erklärte sich nach Cromwells Tode für die Restauration Karls II., wurde …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Stair — (spr. ßtǟr), 1) John Dalrymple, erster Graf von, brit. Staatsmann, geb. 1648, gest. 18. Jan. 1707, schloß sich wie sein als Jurist berühmter, 1690 zum Viscount S. erhobener Vater James Dalrymple (gest. 1695) Wilhelm III. von Oranien an, wurde… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Stair — (spr. stähr), schott. Viscount und Grafentitel in der Familie Dalrymple. – Sir John Dalrymple, 2. Viscount und 1. Graf von S., geb. 1648, 1672 Anwalt, 1691 Staatssekretär und bald darauf Geheimsiegelbewahrer in Schottland, 1703 Graf, förderte die …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Stair — (Stähr), James Dalrymple, Viscount of, geb. 1619, engl. Staatsmann unter Karl II., flüchtete 1681, in die Verschwörung gegen die Stuarts verwickelt, nach Holland, kehrte 1688 mit Wilhelm von Oranien zurück, wurde Viscount, st. 1695; war auch… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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