TROON, a flourishing town, and lately a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Dundonald, district of Kyle, county of Ayr; containing, with the village of Loans, 2306 inhabitants, of whom 1409 are in the town, 9 miles (S. W. by W.) from Kilmarnock. This place, which is situated on the shore, about five miles to the south of the port of Irvine, of which it is considered a creek, has within the present century risen into great importance under the auspices of the Duke of Portland. A charter for the construction of a harbour was obtained in the reign of Queen Anne, by William Fullarton, Esq., proprietor of the lands of Fullarton, in the parish; but no measures were taken for carrying that design into effect. The advantages of its situation for the purposes of a harbour, also, induced the merchants and citizens of Glasgow to make advantageous proposals to the proprietor for granting them a lease of the adjacent lands, in order that they might accomplish this desirable object; but their offers were rejected. In this state things remained till the year 1808; when the Duke of Portland, who had lately purchased the estate of Fullarton, embarked in the undertaking, which after great perseverance was finally completed, at a cost of more than £100,000. Since that period the town has been progressively increasing in extent, and in importance as a place of maritime trade; and the facilities for sea-bathing which it affords, have, by rendering it the resort of numerous visiters during the season, materially contributed to its prosperity.
   The town is romantically situated on a promontory projecting in a semicircular curve for about a mile and a quarter into the Frith of Clyde, and is neatly built, containing many substantial houses, several handsome cottages for summer residences, and numerous respectable inns and lodging-houses for the accommodation of visiters. A public library is supported by subscription. The post-office has a regular delivery by a messenger from the head office of Kilmarnock; two branch banks have been established here, and there is every facility of internal communication. On a site commanding a fine view of the Frith and the adjacent country, was once an octagonal building called the Temple, erected by Mr. Fullarton for the entertainment of his friends. The principal trade of the port is the exportation of coal from the mines belonging to the duke and others in the parish and vicinity of Kilmarnock, and the importation of timber. The coal is conveyed from the various works by the Kilmarnock and Troon railway, and on an average about 150,000 tons are annually shipped: the quantity of timber imported exceeds 5000 tons. The number of vessels registered as belonging to the port is fifteen, of the aggregate burthen of 3800 tons; and the number annually entering and leaving the harbour is 1070, of 108,000 tons' aggregate burthen. The harbour, which is easy of access, affords safe anchorage for vessels requiring sixteen feet depth at low-water; and at the pier, at right angles with the rock, constructed by the duke, and which is 800 feet in length, is a depth of nineteen feet at low-water. A spacious wet-dock has been formed, in which vessels of the greatest size may ride in safety from all storms; there are also two drydocks, of which the larger is 300 feet in length, and of proportionate width. A lighthouse has been erected, which is maintained from the funds of the harbour; and on Lady Isle, to the south-west of the port, two lofty pillars have been raised as a guide to the entrance. There are an extensive yard for building and repairing vessels, a large sail manufactory, and various other works connected with the trade of the port.
   The district of Troon was separated from the parish of Dundonald for ecclesiastical purposes, by an act of the General Assembly, in 1836; and is about four miles in length, and nearly two miles in average breadth. Two-thirds of the land are arable and under good cultivation; and the remainder, with the exception of sixty acres of plantations, is rough pasture and waste. Fullarton House, the property of the Duke of Portland, is a handsome mansion built by the late proprietor, William Fullarton, Esq., and pleasantly situated, commanding a fine view of the Ayrshire coast: in 1801 it was for some time the residence of Louis-Philippe, now King of the French. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Ayr and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The church, a handsome and substantial structure, was erected in 1837, by subscription, at a moderate expense, and contains 1000 sittings: the minister, who is appointed by the male communicants, has a stipend of £150, of which £20 are paid by the Duke of Portland, and the remainder derived from seatrents and contributions. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church and United Secession. A school for the accommodation of 230 children has been erected at a cost of £335, of which sum one-half was paid by government, and the remainder raised by subscription. The village of Loans is described under its own head. There are some remains of the ancient church of Crosbie, of which the burial-ground is still used as a place of interment by the inhabitants. David, the brother of James Hamilton who shot the Regent Murray, was buried there; and the castle of Crosbie, now a shapeless ruin, was for some time the residence of Sir William Wallace.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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