1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kilwinning

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KILWINNING, a municipal and police burgh of Ayrshire, Scotland, on the right bank of the Garnock, 24 m. S.W. of Glasgow by the Caledonian railway, and 263/4 m. by the Glasgow & South-Western railway. Pop. (1901), 4440. The chief buildings include the public library, the Masonic hall and the district hospital. The centre of interest, however, is the ruined abbey, originally one of the richest in Scotland. Founded about 1140 by Hugh de Morville, lord of Cunninghame, for Tyronensian monks of the Benedictine order, it was dedicated to St Winnin, who lived on the spot in the 8th century and has given his name to the town. This beautiful specimen of Early English architecture was partly destroyed in 1561, and its lands were granted to the earl of Eglinton and others. Kilwinning is the traditional birthplace of Scottish freemasonry, the lodge, believed to have been founded by the foreign architects and masons who came to build the abbey, being regarded as the mother lodge in Scotland. The royal company of archers of Kilwinning—dating, it is said, as far back as 1488—meet every July to shoot at the popinjay. The industry in weaving shawls and lighter fabrics has died out; and the large iron, coal and fire-clay works at Eglinton, and worsted spinning, employ most of the inhabitants. About a mile from Kilwinning is Eglinton Castle, the seat of the earls of Eglinton, built in 1798 in the English castellated style.