A BIRDS EYE VIEW OF THE AREA LONG AGO
ALTHOUGH it is true to say that this area was once a Feudal wilderness, it would hardly be agreed by our long-suffering ancestors of 600 years ago, that it was entirely a 'No man's land,' nor that it was totally uncultivated.
Even if the beaches were barren, with a hinterland of bog and high gorse, there was an undoubted community on the perimeter.
Therefore, if we are to tie up the loose ends later on, it would not seem unreasonable to place the Trywn in its proper setting as related to the past.
So let it be said that this part of the Western coastline is literally steeped in history, whose beginnings undoubtedly stem from the 13th Century and before, at such times encroaching upon us from all sides.
To this end we must retrace our steps into the pioneering years of days gone by and survey our surroundings from that beak of volcanic rock jutting into the sea, from which Troon derived its name, 'An Trone'... from the Gaelic; or even Trywn from the Welsh.
Then, as now, it is situated on an inlet of the Firth of Clyde, once called the West Sea. And is overlooked by the 'Sleeping Warrior,' that so-called outline traced a silhouette by the peaks of the Isle of Arran, Goat Fell being the highest.
It is 17½ miles west of Troon harbour, is fronted by the Holy Isle, and was once the refuge of Robert the Bruce. South West of Arran is Ailsa Craig, known by many as 'Paddy's Milestone,' home of the ancient curling stone and of countless seabirds.
Closest of all, however, is the tiny Lady Isle, some 3½ miles W.S.W. of Troon and 5 ½ miles N.W. of Ayr. On this island are two old masonry towers or beacons, which were erected about 1760 by the merchants of Glasgow, although the present light was not installed until 1903.
This twinkling jewel of the Firth was at one time connected with an ancient ecclesiastical establishment near Adamton, called Lady Kirk, and situated about four miles north of Ayr. The ruins on this island are said to be of an old chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary and endowed by John Blair in 1446 with the common land of Adamton.
It came into the possession of William Fullarton in 1698, was purchased by the Marquis of Titchfield in 1805, but is now a bird sanctuary and a night time aid to shipping.
The Royal Burghs of Ayr to the south, and Irvine to the north, were established ports when Troon was no more than a fleeting name on the lips of the Knights Templar who came and went.
These 'Robin Hoods' of latter days were true champions of the upholding of the Cross. They came to Scotland during the 12th Century and were known to have visited the Troon area. They wore a white mantle embellished with a plain red cross and carried a black and white banner, their seal being a horse bearing two knights, this to emphasise their poverty. Their Order was, suppressed during the 14th Century but it died hard, lingering under duress.
Thus came into being the Auld Toun of Crosbie, the 'Village of The Cross,' a mere two miles from Troon as we know it today. The first Laird of Crosbie was Sir Adam Foullerton who died in 1483, though Henry Croc, an underling of the High Stewards during even earlier feudal times, held these lands from the year 1325, during the reign of King Robert the Bruce.
And so it was that a feudal economy existed here as from the 14th Century, two fairs being held each year, in July and November, the harvests having been completed with all cattle in their prime.
There was also a weekly market and every transaction was by barter, the Scottish currency having been depreciated during the reign of Bruce.
The Cemetery of Crosbie, still extant - dates from about 1340, was closed in 1863, but still contains today some 210 tombstones. Also in prominence are the ruins of the fourth 'Chapel of Ease' whose roof is reputed to have been blown off in the gale that raged on the morning of Thursday 25th January 1759, when Robert Burns was born.
Two hundred yards away was the thatched house of Aldton, part of the Auld Toun. And a house by that name still exists.
Jousting also took place among the knights at Loughgreen, Robertloan and Hillhouse
Troon, almost within a stone's throw of all this activity, was on the map, nevertheless, being known as Terra da la Trone in 1371, but was unpopulated.
A great deal was happening however, at Loans. Dundonald and Barassie each of which will be taken in turn.
Next Week: Robertloan Village and the Prestwick Lepers