WestKilbride.co.uk » West Kilbride History http://www.westkilbride.co.uk Just another WordPress weblog Mon, 02 Nov 2009 09:42:31 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.5 en hourly 1 Robert Simson, West Kilbride’s Favorite Son http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/54/robert-simson-west-kilbrides-favorite-son/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/54/robert-simson-west-kilbrides-favorite-son/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2009 20:44:25 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=54 In West Kilbride, there exists a breathtaking structure, one of the oldest residences in the town and surrounding areas. A beautiful mansion, dating back to the start of the second half of the 17th century, Kirktonhall House is the area’s premier historical point. It was the birthplace of famed mathematician Robert Simson, of whom there is a monument nearby erected.

Robert Simson was a man born into a family that had his path decided for him. As many other families did in that era, the children were expected or generally followed in the footsteps of their fathers, or entered professions guided by their families. Robert Simson was no different. He was originally intended to enter the church. Logic was too string within him though and he decided on pursuing mathematics via university in Glasgow, where he gained his degree.

Naturally inclined towards numbers and logic, Simson caught wind of a possible chair position at the Glasgow University. Inclined to pursue that opportunity, he decided to move to London and study for another year. Upon his return to Glasgow, he was given the position of professor of mathematics at the university. He held this position for 50 years.

His work consisted of early critiques and analysis of many of the worlds earliest practitioners of mathematics and those who were published in the field of geometry itself. His first published work, in 1723, was a critique on Euclid’s Porisms. Between his first publication and 1749 he had 5 greatly known and popular works under his belt, and was continuing on with more. A multi volume work on Euclid authored by Simsin was showcased in 1756. This volume became the standard text that was used on the subject during that era..

Some of his work on Apollonius and Euclid were restored and reproduced for private consumers and buyers, after his death. They were popular even then and the market had a steady demand for the mathematicians writings. Having had such an influence, a part of the triangle is sometimes granted a name in his remembrance and honor; the pedal line. Sometimes called the Simpson Line, it’s done so in his honor for all the work he had published and the impact he had on the mathematics community.

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West Kilbride’s History http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/34/west-kilbrides-history/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/34/west-kilbrides-history/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2009 15:07:07 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=34 Where is West Kilbride? It is a village in the North Aryshire, Scotland. Located on the west coast by the Firth of Clyde and looks across the waters to the Isle of Arran and Goat Fell. The districts of Seamill and Portencross, combined with West Kilbride, are considered together to make up a small town with a population less than 5000 around 2001.

It is believed, that West Kilbride is named after the Celtic Saint Brigid of Kildare who, according to local history, established her church sometime around 500AD. The West was added in front of Kilbride to differentiate it from other communities that commemorate St. Bride in the area.

West Kilbride and the surrounding area hold a lot of history. There four castles in the area that are still standing. Law Castle which can be rented for a holiday, as well as Portencross Castle, Hunterston Castle and Crosbie Castle (also known as Crosbie Towers). A park in the West Kilbride area bears the name of Crosby, the maiden name of William Wallace’s mother. One of the oldest houses in West Kilbride is Kirktonhall House. This house, dating back to the 1660’s, was rebuilt partially and extended between 1791 and 1868. Currently it is used as office for the North Aryshire Council.

Although mostly a rural area, farming only makes up about 1.4% of the local employment. In addition to the famous Ayrshire potatoes, crops such as sweetcorn, root vegetables and berries are grown. Livestock, primarily cattle and sheep, are also farmed here. Other areas of employment are real estate, rentals, manufacturing, health and social services and education make up the majority of the employment. It is home to Airtricity which is a wind turbine field located just above West Kilbride and Seamill.

West Kilbride is becoming known as “Craft Town Scotland”. There are several craft studios where you can actually see the raw material converted to the final product and you may buy straight from the studio. You can also go online and shop the studios. This was an initiative to contribute to the growth of the area culturally and through retail.

Other features of this small town are the West Kilbride Primary School and beautiful West Kilbride Institute and Public Hall. The school opened in 1983 and the Institute opened in 1900. West Kilbride has the distinction of being the first Scottish town to host a Scarecrow Festival. A championship 18-hole golf course, the West Kilbride Golf Club, is located in Seamill with the breathtaking backdrop of the Scottish coast.

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Young William Wallace http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/40/young-william-wallace/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/40/young-william-wallace/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2009 16:23:01 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=40 What led the young William Wallace down the path to greatness? To determine that, this article discusses Wallace’s early years and some of the motivations behind his struggle against the English in 13th century Scotland.

William Wallace has mysterious beginnings, as most legendry heroes do. Wallace is one of Scotland’s greatest heroes and the inspiration for Mel Gibson’s character in the movie Braveheart. Not only do reports of his life remain undecided on whether his father’s name was Malcolm or Allen, but even his birth year is debated. There is no question, however, that he is the standard for freedom and peace in his Scottish homeland.

To set the stage for William’s entry into the history books, it is well-documented that the short years of his life were filled with conflict. A civil war was on the horizon because the ruling house of Scotland, which had been firmly in place for over 200 years, vanished with the death of its only remaining heir, a three-year old Norwegian princess. Instantly, two strong nobles claimed the throne, and turned to the English king, Edward (known as Longshanks because of his unusual height), to mediate the dispute. He created a document that more or less allowed England to take possession of Scotland, thereby turning it into an occupied nation. William Wallace grew up hating the English and fighting for the freedom of Scotland.

William Wallace was a younger son of a nobleman and as was the custom in the 13th century, expected to take up a career in the church. He lived with his uncle, a church cleric, while he was a young teen and gained a classical education. His uncle impressed young William with moral precepts that included liberty and peace. This early training formed much of William’s attitude and behavior over the rest of his life.

At 17, William began his formal education in Dundee, Scotland. It was here that he formed close ties with several other young men who would later follow him in his adventures. William was a striking young man, reputed to be well over six feet tall. In a time when the average height of a man was nearer five feet, his imposing presence must have commanded respect and admiration immediately.

All the while William was growing up, Scotland had been a morass of in-fighting among its nobles and struggles against English occupation. William’s family had been torn apart, his father and older brother escaping to southern Scotland, his mother seeking refuge with relatives in the north. When William was 19, his father was killed by an Englishman. Fueled by his hatred for the English scoundrel who killed his father, one day William found himself ringed by a group of English youths who taunted him about his clothes and demanded he give up his dirk (the Scottish term for a long dagger). Instead of giving up his dirk, William used it to kill the leader of the group, the son of the English constable of Dundee Castle.

Branded by the English as an outlaw, William was forced to leave Dundee and hide out with another of his uncles. Unfortunately, he met up with an English garrison one day while fishing. Several of the soldiers demanded he turn over his day’s catch and the leader of the group drew his sword when Wallace asked to keep half of it for his elderly, blind uncle. Once again William was forced to fight for what was his in the first place. Armed with only a fishing pole, William managed to maim or kill all the soldiers who had attacked him. Once more he was forced to run, hiding in the northern woods.

For at least five years, William waged a 13th century guerilla war against the English. He attacked and murdered at will in an attempt to avenge his father’s death and his own ill treatment at the hands of the English. He became a sort of Robin Hood figure to the Scottish people, while striking fear into the hearts of his enemies. Garnering the support of the locals and building up his military strength and reputation, William soon took up his place in Scottish history as a freedom fighter.

William Wallace lived a short but courageous life. He was captured, tried and found guilty of treason at the young age of 33. His execution at the hands of the English was prolonged, brutal, and torturous.

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