Dalry, Kilbirnie, Dreghorn, Kilmarnock, Galston, Hurlford, Muirkirk, Cumnock and New Cumnock. Ironstone occurs chiefly at Patna, Coylton, Dalry, Kilbirnie, Dreghorn and Cumnock, and there are blast furnaces at most of these towns. A valuable whetstone is quarried at Bridge of Stair on the Ayr—the Water-of-Ayr stone. The leading manufactures are important. At Catrine are cotton factories and bleachfields, and at Ayr and Kilmarnock extensive engineering works, and carpet, blanket and woollens, boot and shoe factories. Cotton, woollens, and other fabrics and hosiery are also manufactured at Dalry, Kilbirnie, Kilmaurs, Beith and Stewarton. An extensive trade in chemicals is carried on at Irvine. Near Stevenston works have been erected in the sandhills for the making of dynamite and other explosives. There are large lace curtain factories at Galston, Newmilns and Darvel, and at Beith cabinet-making is a considerable industry. Shipbuilding is conducted at Troon, Ayr, Irvine and Fairlie, which is famous for its yachts. The leading ports are Ardrossan, Ayr, Girvan, Irvine and Troon. Fishing is carried on in the harbours and creeks, which are divided between the fishery districts of Greenock and Ballantrae.
Communications.—The Glasgow & South-Western railway owns most of the lines within the shire, its system serving all the industrial towns, ports and seaside resorts. Its trunk line via Girvan to Stranraer commands the shortest sea passage to Belfast and the north of Ireland, and its main line via Kilmarnock communicates with Dumfries and Carlisle and so with England. The Lanarkshire & Ayrshire branch of the Caledonian railway company also serves a part of the county. For passenger steamer traffic Ardrossan is the principal port, there being services to Arran and Belfast and, during the season, to Douglas in the Isle of Man. Millport, on Great Cumbrae, is reached by steamer from Fairlie.
Population and Administration.—The population of Ayrshire in 1891 was 226,386, and in 1901, 254,468, or 223 to the sq. m. In 1901 the number of persons speaking Gaelic only was 17. The chief towns, with populations in 1901 are: Ardrossan (6077), Auchinleck (2168), Ayr (29,101), Beith (4963), Cumnock (3088), Dalry (5316), Darvel (3070), Galston (4876), Girvan (4024), Hurlford (4601), Irvine (9618), Kilbirnie (4571), Kilmarnock (35,091), Kilwinning (4440), Largs (3246), Maybole (5892), Muirkirk (3892), Newmilns (4467), Saltcoats (8120), Stevenston (6554), Stewarton (2858), Troon (4764). The county returns two members to parliament, who represent North and South Ayrshire respectively. Ayr (the county town) and Irvine are royal burghs and belong to the Ayr group of parliamentary burghs, and Kilmarnock is a parliamentary burgh of the Kilmarnock group. Under the county council special water districts, drainage districts, and lighting and scavenging districts have been formed. The county forms a sheriffdom, and there are resident sheriffs-substitute at Ayr and Kilmarnock, who sit also at Irvine, Beith, Cumnock and Girvan. The shire is under school-board jurisdiction, but there are a considerable number of voluntary schools, besides secondary schools at Ayr, Irvine, Kilmarnock and Beith, while Kilmarnock Dairy School is a part of the West of Scotland Agricultural College established in 1899. In addition to grants earned by the schools, the county and borough councils expend a good deal of money upon secondary and technical education, towards which contributions are also made by the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College and the Kilmarnock Dairy School. The technical classes, subsidized at various local centres, embrace instruction in agriculture, mining, engineering, plumbing, gardening, and various science and art subjects.
History.—Traces of Roman occupation are found in Ayrshire. At the time of Agricola's campaigns the country was held by the Damnonii, and their town of Vandogara has been identified with a site at Loudoun Hill near Darvel, where a serious encounter with the Scots took place. On the withdrawal of the Romans, Ayrshire formed part of the kingdom of Strathclyde and ultimately passed under the sway of the Northumbrian kings. Save for occasional intertribal troubles, as that in which the Scottish king Alpin was slain at Dalmellington in the 9th century, the annals are silent until the battle of Largs in 1263, when the pretensions of Haakon of Norway to the sovereignty of the Isles were crushed by the Scots under Alexander III. A generation later William Wallace conducted a vigorous campaign in the shire. He surprised the English garrison at Ardrossan, and burned the barns of Ayr in which the forces of Edward I were lodged. Robert Bruce is alleged to have been born at Turnberry Castle, some 12 m. S.W. of Ayr. In 1307 he defeated the English at Loudoun Hill. Cromwell paid the county a hurried visit, during which he demolished the castle of Ardrossan and is said to have utilized the stones in rearing a fort at Ayr. Between 1660 and 1688 the sympathies of the county were almost wholly with the Covenanters, who suffered one of their heaviest reverses at Airds Moss—a morass between the Ayr and Lugar,—their leader, Richard Cameron, being killed (20th of July 1680). The county was dragooned and the Highland host ravaged wherever it went. The Hanoverian succession excited no active hostility if it evoked no enthusiasm. Antiquarian remains include cairns in Galston, Sorn and other localities; a road supposed to be a work of the Romans, which extended from Ayr, through Dalrymple and Dalmellington, towards the Solway; camps attributed to the Norwegians or Danes on the hills of Knockgeorgan and Dundonald; and the castles of Loch Doon, Turnberry, Dundonald, Portencross, Ardrossan and Dunure. There are ruins of celebrated abbeys at Kilwinning and Crossraguel, and of Alloway's haunted church, famous from their associations.
AYRTON, WILLIAM EDWARD (1847-1908), English physicist, was born in London on the 14th of September 1847. He was educated at University College, London, and in 1868 went out to Bengal in the service of the Indian Government Telegraph department. In 1873 he was appointed professor of physics and telegraphy at the Imperial College of Engineering, Tokio. On his return to London six years later he became professor of applied physics at the Finsbury College of the City and Guilds of London Technical Institute, and in 1884 he was chosen professor of electrical engineering at the Central Technical College, South Kensington. He published, both alone and jointly with others, a large number of papers on physical, and in particular electrical, subjects, and his name was especially associated, together with that of Professor John Perry, with the invention of a long series of electrical measuring instruments. He died in London on the 8th of November 1908. His wife, Mrs Hertha Ayrton, whom he married in 1885, assisted him in his researches, and became known for her scientific work on the electric arc and other subjects. The Royal Society awarded her one of its Royal medals in 1906.
AYSCOUGH, SAMUEL (1745-1804), English librarian and index-maker, was born at Nottingham in 1745. His father, a printer and stationer, having ruined himself by speculation, Samuel Ayscough left Nottingham for London, where he obtained an engagement in the cataloguing department of the British Museum. In 1782 he published a two-volume catalogue of the then undescribed manuscripts in the museum. About 1785 he was appointed assistant librarian at the museum, and soon afterwards took holy orders. In 1786 he published an index to the first seventy volumes of the Monthly Review, and in 1796 indexed the remaining volumes. Both this index and his catalogue of the undescribed manuscripts in the museum were private ventures. His first official work was a third share in the British Museum catalogue of 1787, and he subsequently catalogued the ancient rolls and charters, 16,000 in all. In 1789 he produced the first two volumes of the index to the Gentleman's Magazine, and in 1790 the first index-concordance to Shakespeare. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and has been called