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. 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). 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,

"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...

"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!"