A History of Crosbie Kirk and Castle
Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland
Crosbie Castle (previously known as Corsbie or Corsby Castle) was a tower or
fortalice built in the 13th or 14th centuries and resided in by the Fullarton's
of Irvine. It fell into ruin when Fullarton House was built in 1745 and was made
into an ice house by the Duke of Portland. The fortalice is thought to have been
owned by Sir Reginald Crawford, an uncle of Sir William Wallace. A story is told
in Troon & Dundonald by Rev. J. Kirkwood of a night of mirth in Crosbie.
It describes how, the next morning, Sir Reginald and Sir William Wallace went to
Ayr to attend a summons by the English Governor when, at Kingcase in Prestwick,
they discovered they had left the charter of peace behind at Crosbie. Wallace
returned for it but, upon nearing Ayr a second time, learned that his uncle and
several of the neighboring gentry had been treacherously seized and hanged.
In revenge Wallace carried out the burning of the Barns of Ayr.
The Fullarton's (originally Foulertoun, Foullertoun or Fowlertoun) were
probably Anglo-Saxon in origin and may have come to Scotland with Walter, the
ancestor of the High Stewards of Scotland. They seem to have been the King's
fowlers (hence the name) but it is unknown when they were first deeded their
lands in south Irvine where their original castle was situated near the mouth
of the River Irvine.
Crosbie Kirk was built in 1681 on the site of an older church and ruined in 1759.
The New Statistical Account of 1837 says Crossby Chapel (Crosby Kirk) in the manor
of Crossby obtained it's name from the Anglo-Saxon Cross-bye, signifying the
dwelling at the Cross. Crosbie was part of the extensive properties owned by
Walter the First Steward in Kyle. Crosbie Kirkyard is quite ancient...
Sir Adam Fowlertoun was "frequently to be met with, as a witness in the charters
of King Robert II, designed Dominus Adamus de Foullertoun dominus de Corsbie".
In 1346 Adam accompanied David II into England and was knighted by the King.
At the Battle of Durham he was imprisoned with the King and when the King
was released in 1357 Adam's son and heir, Sir John Fowlertoun,
was one of 20 hostages left in England (Adam presumably returned home then).
Adam married Marjorie Stewart and it seems to be through her that the Fullarton's
inherited Crosbie which belonged to the parish of Dundonald owned by Walter, son
of Alan (the first Steward) who held the whole northern half of Kyle.
- 1139 - Walter, the High Steward, founded a Priory at Dalmullen (Millfield,
Ayrshire) with Gilbertines which held, amongst others, the Chapel of Corsby.
- 1280 - Alanus de Fowlertoun died (first person known to hold the Fullarton name)
- 1283-1309 - Alanus' son Adam de Fowlertoun recieved a charter from James (High
Steward of Scotland).
- 1344 - (April 13th) Adam's grandson Sir Adam of Fowlertoun granted a Charter by
Robert (High Steward of Scotland) "of the lands of Foulertoun & of Gaylis
(Gailes) in Kyle-Stewart, by all their rights and boundaries and divisions,
together with the whole fishing from the land which is called Trune to the
entrance of the harbour of Irewyne, and so ascending by the water of
Irewyne as far as the land of Foulertoun extends."
William was succeeded by his brother George who was followed by his grandson
Col. William Fullarton (whose father Patrick, George's son, died before George).
- 1464 - George Foullertoun obtained a charter under the Great Seal of James III
in favour of himself, if he didn't have any male heirs, to go to his brother
William Foullertoun "the lands of Fowlertoun, Marrass, Shewalton, Harperland,
and Western Laithis, also Corsbie, Trune, Craiksland, and Russelsland, all
lying in the Bailliarie of Kyle, and Sherrifdom of Are (Ayr): as also the lands
of Knightsland, lying in the Isle of Arran, dated at Edinburgh, 24th October, 1464."
- 1493 - George Foullertoun was known often as the "Laird of Corsbie" so it may
have been he that moved the Fullarton's from Irvine to Crosbie.
- 1538 - (May 8th) John Foullertoun recieved the lands of Dunrudyer, in the Isle
of Arran. The Fullerton's lands in Arran were sold to the Hamilton family at
the end of the 16th century.
- 1608 - first map of Troon shows Corsby Kirk, Troon spelt Truyn, Irvine is Irrwin.
The Burgh of Irvine obtained permission from the Privy Council to erect a
new harbour "callit the Trone" due to Irvine harbour silting up. By 1617
they had repaired their own harbour and gave up Troon.
- 1619 - David Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh buried in Crosbie Kirkyard. He was
brother to Christian Hamilton who married David Fullarton and it is said he
was the assassin of the Regent Earl of Murray. The inscription reads,
"Heir lye corpis of ane honovrabel man callt David Hamiltove of
Bothelhavghe, spous to Elesone Sinclair in his time, qvha desist the 14th
of Merche, 1619."
- 1634 - (November 20th) James Fullarton of Crosbie recieved a commission
under the Great Seal from King Charles I appointing him baillie of the
bailliary of Kyle-Stewart (Ayrshire was originally formed from Carrick, Kyle
and Cunningham. Kyle lay between the rivers Doon and Irvine and was divided
into Kyle-Stewart (Kyle-Senescali) between the rivers of Ayr and Irvine and
King's Kyle (Kyle Regis) between the rivers Doon and Ayr).
- 1643 - James was one of the Commissioners for the Shire of Ayr in the
- 1645 - (February 20th) an act was passed appointing the Laird of Corsby head
Sheriff of Ayr.
- 1673 - William Fullarton married 3 times, his 2nd wife was Anne Brisbane. In the dry
stane dyke separating the municipal golf course from Lady Margaret Drive is an
upside down stone with the initials WF.AB and the date 1673. This stone
was probably originally part of Crosbie Castle, reused after it fell to ruin.
- 1681 - the existing Crosbie Kirk built on the site of an older church.
- 1683 - (July 30th) William and George Fullarton were imprisoned regarding
the affair of Bothwell Bridge. They never came to trial and were both released.
- 1707 - (August 5th) William obtained a charter from Queen Anne erecting the
whole lands "called and to be called the Barony of Fullarton" and further
constituted the Port of Troon a free seaport and harbour, with power to
uplift anchorage and other customs.
Col. William Fullerton (Jr.) travelled all over Europe in 1770 with his tutor,
Patrick Brydone. He was highly intelligent, a great reader and a courageous soldier.
He was also a practical and methodical farmer. Burns wrote of him in 1785,
- 1745 - Col. William Fullarton pulled down Crosbie Castle and built Fullarton House
- 1754 - William's son William is the first Fullarton to be born in Fullarton House.
- 1759 - (25th Jan) Robert Burns born, the roof is blown off Crosbie Kirk and
the gable end is blown in by strong gales. "T'was then a blast o' Janwar win',
Blew hansel in on Robin." William succeeds the estate from his
father at the age of 5.
- 1761 - Janet McFadzean buried in Crosbie Kirkyard...
Front reads, "Here lyes the corps of Janet McFadzean, Spous of William McFadzean,
Quarter-Master Sergean in Lovetenan General Homs Regiment of Sol., who died
August 22, 1761, aged 27 years."
"Twenty-four years i lived a maiden life,
And three years i was a married wife,
In which time i lived a hapie life,
I trevld with him from toun to toun,
Until by death i was cut down.
In my sister's hous did die,
And here at Crosbie Kirk i ly,
Where i my rest and sleep will take,
Until at last i be awaked.
It will not be with tuk of drum,
But it will be when the trumpet sound,
And while ile my Redeemer see,
Who shed his preshios blood for me."
- 1792 - Fullarton House extended, the Stable block and servants quarters added
(these buildings still stand and are used as flats).
"Brydone's brave Ward I well could spy,
Beneath old Scotia's smiling eye;
Who called on Fame, low standing by, To hand him on,
Where many a patriot, name on high, And hero shone."
It seems Burns and William Fullarton were well acquainted and held one another in
high regard. In 1775, at 21 years of age, William was appointed principal Secretary
to the Embassy at the Court of France. In 1780 he raised the 98th regiment of
infantry which was sent to India and in May 1783 he had command of the Southern
Army (13,000 men). He was also frequently a member of Parliament. In 1973, at the
outbreak of the French War, he raised the 23rd Light Dragoons (Fullarton's Light
Horse) and the 101st Regiment of Infantry. In 1801 he was appointed Governor of
the Island of Trinidad.
Crosbie Kirkyard was said to be haunted. From John Laing's Epistles...
- 1805 - Fullarton House sold to the Marquis of Titchfield (4th Duke of Portland)
- 1811 - population of Troon about 200. Mainly working in fishing, salt-making and
smuggling (prior to 1805 Troon was known as having the largest smuggling trade
in the West of Scotland). Harbour built, ship building starts. A railway line
was built from Kilmarnock to Troon to carry coal. This was the first railway
built in Scotland.
- 1816 - The Portland Arms Hotel granted licence, it is the oldest licensed
establishment in Troon.
- 1817 - the first steam locomotive (called "The Duke") was built for the Duke
of Portland and was used on the line from 1820-1848.
- 1822 - First church built in Troon on Barassie Street, first minister
(Rev. James Fleming) took residence in 1823 (he died in 1888).
- 1840 - Troon Academy built (later became the Catholic primary school, it was
demolished in the 1990's). The railway line from Glasgow to Ayr opened and
the original Troon train station was built. By 1841 Troon was really a town in it's
own right, population 1,409 (a 7-fold increase in only 30 years).
- 1862 - Troon Cemetery opened, Crosbie Kirkyard no longer Troon's
main burial ground (there are a few gravestones dated after this).
- 1878 - Old Troon golf course opened.
- 1892 - A new train station was built in Troon (still used) and the old one
became goods only.
- 1896 - (October) Troon made a Burgh
- 1912 - sea wall built to prevent flooding in the town after especially bad
flooding in 1911 and 1912.
- 1928 - Fullarton House purchased by Troon Town Council and let out as flats.
- 1935 - Marr College opened
- 1950's - Heather House, at the entrance to the Fullarton Estate, burns down.
- 1966 - Fullarton House demolished.
- 1969 - part of the remaining original Crosbie Castle structure is pulled down
for safety reasons. The rest still stands in Fullarton Woods opposite the
Marr Rugby Club.
"But sir, sin' I maun let you know
Langsyne when I was forced to go
By Crosby Kirk to meet my Joe
When it was dark,
I feared that spunkies wad bestow
On me their mark.
An' comin' hame, the truth to tell,
An' fast upon the hour o' twal,
Nae mortal seen but just mysel',
I shook wi' fear,
Lest ghaist or aught wad skirl an' yell,
An' cause a steer.
'Deed Sir, I've often heard it tell,
By folk much aulder than mysel',
There ghaists an' spunkies used to dwell
In days gane by,
An' aften they've been heard to yell,
An' groan an' sigh!"
- "Old Troon" by IM Mackintosh, 1969
- "Troon Memories" by Mae McEwan, 1996
- "Troon and Dundonald" by Rev J Kirkwood, 1876