- 1) SYMINGTON, a parish, in the district of Kyle, county of Ayr, 5 miles (S. W.) from Kilmarnock; containing 918 inhabitants. This place, called Simon's Town, or Symington, from a person named Simon Lockhart, formerly residing here, is about four miles and a quarter long and one and a quarter broad, comprising 3660 acres, of which 1440 are in tillage, 1920 pasture, and 300 plantation and waste. The surface is undulated; and from the village, which is situated on a gentle eminence near the centre of the locality, extensive and beautifully diversified prospects present themselves, embracing the Frith of Clyde, agreeably enlivened with numerous vessels, the Ailsa rock, and the plains of Cunninghame, interspersed with gentlemen's seats, standing in the midst of verdant inclosures, and skirted with belts and clumps of thriving plantations. At the extreme boundary of the sight, the line of observation is closed on the north, west, and south, respectively, with the forms of the lofty Ben-Lomond, and its subordinate mountains, the romantic island of Arran, and the Galloway hills. The soil is in general clayey, on a hard subsoil; but near the village it is light and dry, incumbent on a soft rotten rock; and some tracts consist of a loamy or mossy earth, resting on a bed of fine clay. The grain raised is chiefly oats, and the usual green crops are cultivated; the annual average value of the produce being £10,080, of which £100 are returned for plantations, £300 for gardens, orchards, &c., and £90 for swine. About 400 dairy-cows of the Ayrshire breed are kept, besides a considerable number of young cattle; the sheep, amounting to between 500 and 600, are Cheviots, Leicesters, and the black-faced, and the draught-horses are the Clydesdale stock. Great improvements have been made within these few years by furrowdraining; and the farm-steadings are in general in good condition, being mostly built of stone and lime, with slated or thatched roofs. The rent of land averages £1. 15. per acre, except in the neighbourhood of the village, where it is much higher; and the leases run from sixteen to nineteen years. Grey and blue whinstone are abundant, passing across the district in layers not far from the surface, and in some places rising above it to the height of twelve feet; they supply a good material for the repair of roads, and are quarried to a great extent. Freestone also abounds, and, though rather coarse, is much used for the building of houses here, and is also sent for this purpose in considerable quantities to Kilmarnock. Limestone and coal are both found, but neither of them is of sufficient value to be profitably wrought. The rateable annual value of the parish is £5621.The plantations, consisting chiefly of clumps and belts, are disposed about the mansions of Dankeith and Rosemount; those near the former house are of the longest growth, and the whole are in a thriving condition. Williamfield House, erected about the year 1831, at an expense of more than £20,000, including the cost of the surrounding improvements, is ornamented in front by a beautiful lake artificially formed, with a small island spread over with trees and shrubs, about which are to be seen numerous water-fowl of various kinds. Attached to the mansion is a large conservatory, containing many choice and valuable plants. The mansion called Townend House is situated on a fine eminence, and has an interesting and picturesque appearance, being constructed of whinstone rock, with dressings of freestone. The village contains about 280 inhabitants, principally labourers, and has a post-office communicating daily with Kilmarnock and Ayr. The road from Glasgow to Ayr and Portpatrick runs through the whole length of the parish; the mail once travelled on it, besides several other public coaches, and a great number of waggons. The Glasgow and Ayrshire railroad passes within two miles of the village. The produce of Symington is sent for sale chiefly to Kilmarnock; and coal, the only fuel used here, is obtained from the Fairlie, Gatehead, and Caprington pits, in the adjoining parishes of Dundonald and Riccarton. The parish is in the presbytery of Ayr and the synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the patronage of Lady Montgomerie; the minister's stipend is £247, with a manse, and a glebe of five acres, valued at £12 per annum. The church is an ancient structure, enlarged and thoroughly repaired in the year 1797; it stands in a central part, and contains 400 sittings, of which between thirty and forty are free. The parochial school affords instruction in Latin, Greek, and French, in addition to the usual branches; the master has a salary of £34. 6., with a house, and £50 fees. There is also a small female school. About ninety children receive instruction in the parish.2) SYMINGTON, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Lanark, 3½ miles (S. W.) from Biggar; containing 488 inhabitants, of whom 213 are in the village. This place derived its name, originally "Symon's Town," from its ancient proprietor, Symon Loccard, who, having in the reign of Malcolm IV. obtained a grant of the lands, fixed his residence here, and also erected a chapel, which subsequently became the parish church, on the erection of the lands into a distinct parish, about the year 1232. The parish is bounded on the north and east by the river Clyde, and is about three miles in length and a mile and a half in breadth, comprising an area of 3400 acres, of which 2400 are arable, meadow, and pasture, and 140 woodland and plantations, and the remainder waste. The surface is diversified with several hills of considerable elevation, on one of which, called Castle Hill, was anciently a fortification, the site of which is now covered with trees. Towards the west is the mountain of Tinto, which rises to a height of 2400 feet above the level of the sea, and has on its summit a pile of stones vulgarly said to be the remains of a Druidical temple: on the south-east side, at no great height above its base, are the ruins of the castle of Fatlips, consisting of part of one of the walls, of great thickness, and the stones of which are so firmly compacted as to be incapable of separation. From the top of this mountain is obtained a view extending over sixteen counties.The arable land is chiefly along the banks of the river; the pastures reach to the summit of the mountain. The soil in the lower lands is fertile, and great improvement has taken place in the system of agriculture; favourable crops of grain of all kinds, with potatoes, turnips, and hay, are produced; and the high lands afford excellent pasture. The cattle are chiefly of the Ayrshire breed, and much attention is paid to their improvement; the horses, of which few more are kept than what are required for agricultural purposes, are of the Clydesdale breed. The plantations are principally Scotch fir and larch, which latter seems more congenial to the soil; and around the village are some hard-wood trees of several kinds. The village is pleasantly situated at the foot of Castle Hill; a few of the inhabitants are employed in weaving for the Glasgow manufacturers, but the population of the parish is chiefly agricultural. Facility of intercourse with the neighbouring towns is afforded by the Carlisle and Stirling road, which passes through the parish; and the road from Lanark to Biggar runs along a bridge over the Clyde, which connects the parish with that of Culter. The rateable annual value of Symington is £2385. Its ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Biggar and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale. The minister's stipend is £158. 6. 8., one-half of which is paid from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £15 per annum: patron, Sir Norman Macdonald Lockhart, Bart. The church is an ancient structure, repaired in 1761, and enlarged in 1820, and which again underwent a thorough repair in the year 1845; it contains 300 sittings, of which thirty are free. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average about £15 per annum. There is also a parochial library. Remains of several camps exist in the parish, but they are in a very imperfect state. In a tumulus near the base of the mountain of Tinto, were found the bones of a human skeleton without the skull; and as the grave was not long enough to have contained an entire body, it is supposed that it suffered decapitation previous to its interment. In a tumulus about a quarter of a mile distant were found two urns, one of which was broken by the labourers, and the other is now in the possession of Mr. Carmichael, of East End. About fifty yards to the north of the village, are traces of the foundations of the ancient seat of the Symingtons; the moat is still nearly entire.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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