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Kyle in Ayrshire
Kyle and Carrick – Herman Moll (1745)

Kyle is the middle part of Ayrshire; one of the three traditional divisions of the county, with Cunninghame to the north and Carrick to the south. To the west it bounded by the Firth of Clyde and to the east by Lanarkshire. It had a population recorded at 154,329 in the 2011 census.

Ayrshire is divided naturally by its three primary rivers all running in a generally westward direction to flow into the firth of Clyde:

The River Irvine forms the northern boundary of Kyle with Cunninghame; the River Doon forms the southern boundary with Carrick.

Additionally, Kyle itself is divided in two by the River Ayr:

  • To the north is "Kyle Stewart"[1](sometimes called "Stewart Kyle"[2] or "Walter's Kyle" [3][4]), lands held by the Fitzalans since the 11th century (the future Stewart Kings of Scotland).
  • To the south is "Kyle Regis" or "King's Kyle",[2] lands historically retained by the monarch under royal authority from the royal castle at Ayr.

The county town, Ayr, is in Kyle.



Kyle (Coila) in Blaeu's atlas

Local legend tells that Kyle is named after Coel Hen ("Old King Cole"), a King of the Britons, who was reputedly killed in battle in this area and is said to be buried in a cairn near Mauchline.

Whatever its origin, the district long predates Ayrshire. It appears in the anonymous Continuation of Bede's Ecclesiastical History by the name Cyil, in which it is stated that "In the year 750, Cuthred, king of the West Saxons, rose up against king Ethelbald and Oengus; Theudor and Eanred died; Eadbert added the plain of Kyle and other places to his dominions".

Kyle Castle

Near Cumnock, at the confluence of Guelt and Glenmuir Waters, lie the ruins of the 15th-century Kyle Castle.

Outside links


  1. Encyclopaedia Britannica 191 – Ayrshire
  2. 2.0 2.1 Willard=In Ayrshire; a descriptive picture of the County of Ayr, with relative notes on interesting local subjects, chiefly derived during a recent personal tour. Kilmarnock M'Kie & Drennan. p. 2. 
  3. Murray, David (1924). Early burgh organization in Scotland: as illustrated in the history of Glasgow and of some neighbouring burghs. 2. Maclehose, Jackson & Co.. p. 58. 
  4. Barrow, G. W. S. (2003). The kingdom of the Scots: government, church and society from the eleventh to the fourteenth century (2, illustrated ed.). Edinburgh University Press. p. 321. ISBN 0-7486-1803-1. 
Districts of Ayrshire

Carrick • Cunninghame • Kyle