Speir's school

Speir's school

Infobox Historic building

caption = The Seal of the Governors of Speir's school. Note the 'old' architectural design - which was never used, and the date; some 18 years before the school opened. This item is now located at Beith Primary school.
name = Speir's School
location_town = Beith, North Ayrshire
location_country = Scotland
latitude = 55.745
longitude = -4.625
architect = James Sellars
client = John Speir
engineer =
construction_start_date= September 1887
completion_date = September 1888
date_demolished = 1984
cost = £12,000
style =
size =

Spier's school, at Beith, in North Ayrshire, Scotland, NS 35355327, was opened in 1888 and closed in 1972. The school was built using Ballochmyle red sandstone and was reminiscent of the ancient Glasgow University. The school motto was 'Quod verum tutum.'Speirs School. 1888 - 1968.] The gardens and woodlands are open to the public.


ite history

Roy's map of 1747 refers to the site as Marchland, indicating that the farm lay on the boundary or march of the Baronies of Giffen, Broadstone and Beith, thre physical boundary being formed by the Powgree Burn at this point, which is also recorded as the Powgreen or Marshyland burn. Marshalland lay within the Barony of Broadstone.Dobie, James (1876). "Cuninghame topographised by Timothy Pont." Pub. J.Tweed. Edinburgh. P. 214. Later maps refer to the site as Marshyland and Marshalland.

The land upon which the school was built only shows the presence of a well and the fields of the old Marshalland farm on the 1858 OS map. The last people to live at Marshalland were David and Mary Kerr, the farmhouse and buildings being demolished in the early 1960s. [http://www.beith.org/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=21 Marshalland farm] ] In 1686 John Shedden obtained the 14s Lands of Marsheland from Hugh and John Lyle. He also obtained the 32 Penny Land of Erestoun's Mailling or Burnside of Marsheland.Dobie, James (MDCCCXVI). "Memoir of William Wilson of Crummock". Private Printing. Edinburgh. P. 191. Robert Service bought Marsheland and passed it on to his son Robert. In 1816-17 Robert sold it on to Robert Spier, father of John Speir.Dobie, James (MDCCCXVI). "Memoir of William Wilson of Crummock". Private Printing. Edinburgh. P. 194.

A John Shedden of Marsheland, born 25 April 1756 was locally known as 'Jack the Marsheland'. He was a notorius poacher and had various brushes with the law. He had to leave the area for a while and became a game-keeper, his local nickname adapting itself to become 'Jack the Gem-Keeper.' When he died he had a friend fire a shotgun over his grave, much to the surprise and consternation of the minister.Dobie, James (MDCCCXVI). "Memoir of William Wilson of Crummock". Private Printing. Edinburgh. P. 194.Porterfield, S. (1925). "Rambles Round Beith." P. 31.] .

In around 1820 the part of the Marshal-land held by Robert Speir had a rent value of £58 18s 2d, whilst that part held by Mrs.Gibson was valued at £20 0s 0d.Robertson, George (1820). "A Topographical Description of Ayrshire; more particularly of Cunninghame." Pub. Cunninghame Press, Irvine.] Aitken's 1829 map shows an R. Speir Esquire as resident at Marsheyland (sic).Aitken, Robert (1829). "The Parish Atlas of Ayrshire - Cunninghame." Pub. W. Ballantine. Edinburgh.]

Marshalland gallery

chool history

John Speir was the son of Robert Speir, Writer, of the Marshalland and Cuff estates. John predeceased his mother, Margaret Speir, who decided to erect a school as a memorial to her son at a cost of £12,000.Groome, Francis H. (1903). "Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland." Pub. Caxton. London. P. 138. It may be that the family were related to the Speirs of Elderslie, large landholders in the Parish of Neilston, as this would help explain the considerable financial resources that Margaret Speir was able to call upon.Pride, David (1910). "A History of the Parish of Neilston". Pub. Alexander Gardner, Paisley. P. 132 - 133.] After many discussions the final plan for a school emerged as a co-educational day school equipped to take a few boarders.

These boarders were always a minor element, never more than 14. They lived in the Head Master's house and wore kilts on weekdays and Eton suits and hats on Sundays. The 1914-18 War and the shortage of domestic staff resulted in the cessation of boarding at the school. Fees were charged at Speir's, however free education was available to local pupils who passed the qualifying examinations and were recommended by their teachers. Location map
label = Speir's School
position = right
lat = 55.74
long = -4.62
mark =
caption = Location of Speir's School grounds
width = 150
The school's foundation stone was laid in September 1887 in front of more than 1000 visitorsLove, Dane (2005) "Lost Ayrshire. Ayrshire's Lost Architectural Heritage." Pub. Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 1-84158-356-1. P. 171. & opened on 22nd September, 1888 with 140 pupils, mostly from North Ayrshire. The boys were taught apart from the girls until 1893 when the extra costs forced a more liberal to emerge. Mr. R. Bruce Lockhart from Waid Academy was the first Head Master, followed by Dr Third in 1895. The school administration was in the hands of the Lord Lieutenant of the County, seven representatives of the school boards and the existing trustees as life governors, to be replaced by two heritors of the parish of Beith in due course.

The peak school roll was 310 in 1933 and over 350 after new classrooms were added.Speirs School. 1888 - 1968.] By 1932 however the school was in financial difficulties and after a prolonged campaign the County Authorities took over the school in 1937.Speirs School. 1888 - 1968.] In 1968 the staff consisted of 19 full-time and four itinerant teachers in the Secondary department and two in the preparatory. The school had three 'houses' to which pupils belonged, Cuff, Speirs and Marshalland.Gardner, Margaret (2008). Oral information from an ex pupil. Eglinton Archive.] The school closed ion 30 June 1972 when a modern Garnock Academy was erected at Kilbirnie, taking in the secondary pupils from Spier's, Kilbirnie Central, and Dalry High.Love, Dane (2005) "Lost Ayrshire. Ayrshire's Lost Architectural Heritage." Pub. Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 1-84158-356-1. P. 171.

Some of the ornamental stonework was recovered after demolition and now lies near the staff car park at Garnock Academy, Kilbirnie; these stones were to have been erected as a commemorative wall. The Speir's school rector's table and chairs, together with a stained glass window and the John Speir statue are also at Garnock Academy.

The school motto was 'Quod verum, tutum' (Anonymous), meaning "What is true, is safe."(Pron = kwohd WAY-room TOO-toom). [http://www.righthandpointing.com/latin/?p=67 Latin Proverbs.] ]

The Speir's Trust

The trust was founded in 1936 by Mrs Margaret Speir for the administration of Speir's and for the provision of educational grants and bursaries within the local area of benefit, this being the parishes of Beith, Dalry, Dunlop, Kilbirnie and Neilston. The Trust derives its income from the investment proceeds of the capital of the Trust and from the rental derived from letting for grazing 48.26 acres / 19.53 hectares of land adjacent to the former school grounds. The total area was 76.3 Acres / 30.9 Hectares. North Ayrshire Council now lease the school grounds from the Trust for a nominal rent.Guidance note on Spier's Trust Committee (Spier's Trust Scheme 1978) North Ayrshire Council.

The Margaret Speir bequest

Recorded in the vestibule of Beith Kirk is the bequest made by Mrs Margaret Gibson or Speir, relict of Robert Speir of Marshalland and Cuff. In addition to the funds for the school she charged her lands of Cuff with a yearly payment of £25 to the Ministers of Beith Kirk. Warm clothing and coals were to be provided to the deserving poor of the town and parish. Margaret died on the 17th February 1870."The High Church, Beith". An Illustrated Historical Guide. 1983. Appendix 2. P. 51.] Margaret had also purchased the lands of Bogston and Corshole from Charlotte Decker nee Montgomerie in 1848 and these were part of the foundation endowment of Spier's school.Dobie, James (MDCCCXVI). "Memoir of William Wilson of Crummock". Private Printing. Edinburgh. Locally Margaret Speir was known as 'Lady' Speir.Porterfield, S. (1925). "Rambles Round Beith." P. 31.] .

The school buildings

Speir's school or college when first completed had a convert|100|ft|m|sing=on belltower, hall, boardrooms, 10 classrooms and school-house all designed in the 17th-century style by Campbell Douglas and James Sellars, a Glasgow architectural firm. [http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/pls/portal/newcanmore.newcandig_details_gis?inumlink=42076 RCAHMS Canmore archaeology site] ] James Sellars died before the school was completed. The old seal of the governors and a stained glass window (now in Beith Primary School) depicting the seal, shows that a "French middle point" design had originally been intended. The buildings acrually constructed were also on a smaller scale than had been intended.Spier's School. 1888 - 1968. The cost was £12,000.Love, Dane (2005) "Lost Ayrshire. Ayrshire's Lost Architectural Heritage." Pub. Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 1-84158-356-1. P. 171. An Art room, gymnasium and a Science room were added in 1908, during Dr Third's time.Love, Dane (2005) "Lost Ayrshire. Ayrshire's Lost Architectural Heritage." Pub. Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 1-84158-356-1. P. 171. Four Horsa classrooms were added after 1945, being built on the site of the Head Master's garden. Electricity was installed once the Ayrshire Education authority took charge, however after closure on 30 June 1972 the buildings were subject to vandalism and all the buildings were demolished in 1984. The Speir's Trust Working Group and the Regional Council made various attempts to find a new use for the buildings, even employing ASSIST, a Glasgow Architectural practice, in 1981. Many suggestions were made, ranging from Country Club to sports academy, but none were ultimately successful for this category 'B' listed building.Ayrshire Life magazine. "Unique Building." March - April 1984. P. 10 -12. One proposal, The Spier's Centre, would have had facilities for show jumping, a dry-ski slope, saunas, a solarium, stables, a heritage centre, a cafe, Park Ranger's office, etc. costing £730,000.Records management Unit. North Ayrshire Council. Perceton House.

The John Speir memorials were moved to the Old Kirk in Beith in the same year.Love, Dane (2005) "Lost Ayrshire. Ayrshire's Lost Architectural Heritage." Pub. Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 1-84158-356-1. P. 171. [http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/pls/portal/newcanmore.newcandig_details_gis?inumlink=42076 RCAHMS Canmore archaeology site] ] The large statue of John Speir's which used to stand outside the rector's office was moved to Garnock Academy. The gate piers are C-Listed and the 'tops' were known as the 'Dunces' Caps' by the pupils.Hart, Thomas. Oral Communication. January 2008.]

A separate 'Janitor's or Caretaker's' house existed; last occupied by a Mrs.Rae.Records Management Unit. North Ayrshire Council. Perceton House

pier's school buildings gallery 2007 - 2008

A view along Barrmill Road from the school gates looking towards Craigvue House (now known as Fairholm) and Beith. Fairholm may have been a lodge or gatehouse for Craig House.

The 'C' Listed main gates. The drive split further up, to the right for the boys school and to the left for the girls.
Detail of the main entrance gate piers with the 'Dunces Cap' and ornamented railings.

The Boy's entrance gate.

The new sign put up in 2008.

A view from the school gates looking towards Barmill.
The lowered wall opposite Marshyland playing fields. This is the entrance for the new (2008) woodland walk.
The site of the main school buildings.coord|55|44.679|N|4|37.471|W|region:GB_type:edu|name=School site
Now located at Garnock Academy.
A '7' as a mason's construction guide on the old gate garden gate.
The old garden gate.
The pedestrian gate at the Gielsland Road. This was the Girls entrance at one time.
Some improvements made by North Ayrshire Council in 2008.
The pedestrian gate onto the far fields.
A field gate behind the old school at the old large garden lawn.
Old red sandstone walling.
A cast iron bollard, typical of those sued elsewhere at the school
The Powgree Burn below Geilsland Road from Broadstone Bridge.

School sports

Speir's had a great reputation for playing sports and it was the first school in Ayrshire to play rugby.Speirs School. 1888 - 1968.] As stated, the school had a house system, with Cuff, Marshalland and Spier; providing competition on the school sports days held in June on the Marshalland playing fields. Tennis, cricket, hockey, net ball and golf were played and a quaint game called targette was played in the early days.

Garnock Rugby Club came into existence in 1972 as a result of the closure of Spier's and Dalry schools. The Old Spierians club goes back to around 1905 - 1910. G.G.H. Johnstone, a maths teacher at Speir's, founded the rugby club for former pupils and continued his involvement until his death in 1973, at the age of 93. [http://WWW.garnock.com/History.htm Garnock Rugby Club.] ]

The 7.28 acres / 2.94 hectares 'Marshland' (Sic) playing fields are mainly used for football now and facilities are provided in the form of large metal trans-shipment containers based at the car park. A games pavilion existed here in the days of the school.

The World Wars

The school had an unofficial cadet corps in 1914 and donated money to the Belgian Refugee Fund in 1915 and it also endowed a hospital bed in 1918. In the second world war part of the High Field was converted into a potato field as part of the "Dig for Victory" initiative.

Seventy Old Spierians made the supreme sacrifice and the War Memorials were a central feature of the old school buildings. The memorial is now in storage at the North Ayrshire Museum in Saltcoats, awaiting a suitable location for re-erection.

The gardens and woodlands

The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society list Speir's as an important designed landscape. [http://www.rchs.co.uk/index.html Royal Caledonian Horticultual Society.] ] The Earl of Eglinton's head gardener at Eglinton Castle laid out the 16.53 / 6.69 hectares acres of policies (from the Latin word ‘politus’ meaning embellished"Ayrshire. A Survey of Gardens and Designed Landscapes." Peter MCGowan Associates with Christopher Dingwall.March 2007.) and gardens. He used a variety of trees and shrubs, especially holly varieties, eventually producing a very fine setting for the school; much of the plantings remain to this day (2008).The Old Speirian. Centennary edition. 1887 - 1987. P. 5.] A 'Coronation Garden' was established here in 1953. The site was close to the tennis lawns which lay next to the school on the Gielsland Road side.

This 1953 Coronation Garden was created with the central feature of the newly discovered 'Living Fossil' tree, the Dawn Redwood. This tree is very slow growing; it was surrounded by a key shaped edged path network with other ornamental plantings.Coord|55|44.713|N|4|37.505|W|region:GB_type:edu|name=Coronation garden

The altitude of the site is between 95 m and 100 m.

The ornamental plantings include the Laurel-leaf Holly (Ilex aquifolia laurifolia), Highclere Holly, (Ilex aquifolia Hodginsii)Mitchell, Alan (1985). "Trees of Britain and North Europe." Pub. Guild. P. 88 - 89.] , Horse Chestnut, Cedar of Lebanoncoord|55|44.720|N|4|37.479|W|region:GB_type:edu|name=Cedar, Yew, the large leaved Persian Ivy (Hedera colchica)Hessayon, D. G. (1983). The Tree and Shrub Expert. pbi Publications. ISBN 0-903505-17-7. P. 76] , Cherry Laurel, Lime, Holly, Scot's Fir, Dawn Redwood, Ash, Monkey Puzzle, Great Leopard's-Bane (Dornicum pardalianches)Clapham, A. R., Tutin, T. G., and Warburg, E. F., (1963). "Flora of the British Isles. Illustrations. Part III. Boraginacea - Compositae". Pub. Cambridge University Press. P. 78.] and Rhododendron ponticum.

A fine boundary wall surrounds the 16 acre / 6.69 hectare site, punctuated by gates which led onto the track which ran on the field's side or onto Barmill and Gielsland Roads respectively.

The Spier's Trust also owns 48.26 acres / 19.53 hectares of grazing land adjacent to the school grounds, including the High Field of 7.25 hectares, opposite the main entrance.NAC Records Management Unit. Perceton Archive.

The locals know the Powgree as the Geilsland burn and boys used to play a game of jumping acroos it from the Broadstone to the Marshalland Bridge. The girls used to play in a small area nearby called the 'Fairy Glen.'Reflections on Beith and District. "On the wings of time." (1994). Pub. Beith High Church Youth Group. ISBN 0-9522720-0-8. P. 31.]

pier's School grounds gallery 2007 - 2008

The woodland policies from Barrmill.
The woodland policies from Barrmill. Note the Beith High Kirk tower.
The terraced lawn and garden beside the old walled garden area. These were tennis courts at one time.
A view from near the Barrmill Road tradesman's entrance up towards the old school buildings.
Looking down towards Barrmill Road from the old school site.
Scots pine and old plantings in front of the old school site.
The woodland policies near the Barrmill Road.
Looking towards the Powgree burn near Geilsland Road.
Looking towards Barrmill Road from near Geilsland Road.
Ivy dominated woodland near Geilsland school.
The woodlands from the entrance to the old track that skirted the estate wall.
Old formal steps beside the Tennis lawns.

Natural history

The grounds had previously been the farmland of Marshalland farm and the evidence from OS maps does not show the presence of any older woodland. Several orchid species are present and a few of the indicators species of older woodland. Ivy dominates the ground flora near the Geilsland Road to the extent that almost all other species are eliminated.coord|55|44.781|N|4|37.384|W|region:GB_type:edu|name=Ivy Wood

Wildlife Site status

The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) have surveyed the grounds and recorded 19 species of birds and 136 species of plants. The grounds have a rich fungal flora, partly due to the quantity of fallen timber. This is exemplified by the presence of Parrot Waxcap (Hygrocybe psittacina), an uncommon species. The biodiversity and other considerations have resulted in the grounds qualifying as an official SWT Wildlife Site, code NS353532. This ensures a greater degree of protection against any possibly insensitive developments that might be proposed at any future date. The grounds also qualify as an LBS, a Local Biodiversity Site.

North Ayrshire Ranger Service

The grounds are regularly patrolled by a Ranger from the North Ayrshire Ranger Service, based at Eglinton Country Park.

Gardens and local natural history gallery

A bird of prey 'plucking post' in the grounds of the old school.
A Hart's-tongue fern ("Phyllitis scolopendrium") growing in the lime mortar of an old wall.
Persian large-leaved variegated ivy at the 'garden gate'.
'Froth' on a Lime tree after heavy rain.
The 1953 Coronation Garden remains. A Dawn Redwood is the central tree. This Chinese tree species was only identified in 1948.
The Dawn Redwood in leaf. May 2008.
The Coronation Garden had a 'key' shaped path network.
A burr on an old Gean / Wild Cherry.
Wild Garlic or Ramson's in early spring.
Wild Garlic in flower, 25th May 2008.
A petrified moss waterfall in the Broadstone limestone quarry.
The Day lily ("Hemerocalis" species) growing as a 'garden escape'.
The rookery beside Geilsland Road.
Great Leopards-Bane in spring.
Great Leopard's Bane ("Doronicum pardalianches") flowering on 25th May 2008.
Sycamore bark stripped off by Grey Squirrels looking for the sugary bark phloem layer.

Memorials to John Speir and Speir's school

The school is remembered in 'Speirs Avenue' on the Kilbirnie Road. Part of the unmetalled road that runs from Fairholm (Craigvue) down towards Craig House is known as Speirsland Way; the latter part is known as Roughwood Road after the farm of that name. A Speir's care Home also exists in Beith.

Beith Primary school has a 'Spier's Library', a painting of the school and a stained glass window depicting the alternative design of the school, never built, but used on the Governor's official seal. It is dated 1870, 18 years before the school was completed.

DM Beith has its internal road system named after local farms, etc. Spier's is one of these roads.

The old War Memorial from Spier's is presently in storage at the North Ayrshire Museum in Saltcoats; the John Speir memorials were moved to the Old Kirk in BeithLove, Dane (2005) "Lost Ayrshire. Ayrshire's Lost Architectural Heritage." Pub. Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 1-84158-356-1. P. 171. [http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/pls/portal/newcanmore.newcandig_details_gis?inumlink=42076 RCAHMS Canmore archaeology site] ] and the large statue of John Speir's was moved to Garnock Academy.

Garnock Academy holds the details of the grant of a Coat of Arms to Speir's, a numbe rof staine dglass windows, a mineralogical collection and the rector's old table and chairs from the study. It may also hold the Governor's seal.

Memorials to John Speir

Speir's school in the snow

Beith Community 'Spring Clean' 2008

In May 2008 Beith Community Council organised a Speir's School grounds tidy up and improvements morning. Litter was removed and an old path was cleared to allow better access to the site for local people and visitors to the area.

The Speir's Geocache

Geocaching is a popular new 'sport' which involves searching for 'hidden' caches of 'swaps' and a log book. The 'Grounds for Learning (Son of)' geocache is in the woodlands and its co-ordinate scan be found by registering on the Geocaching website. You will really need a GPS to locate this cache.


This was a half merk land, part of the 4 merk land of Marsheland, in the Barony of Braidstone. It was sold in four lots. In 1867, two of these lots were purchased by Wiliam Fulton Love, writer and bank agent in Beith. He built a handsome villa, in the domestic gothic style,Davis, Michael (1991) "The Castles and Mansions of Ayrshire". Pub. privately. P. 97.] and enclosed and planted with much taste, convert|5|acre|m2 around the villa.Dobie, James (1876). "Cuninghame topographised by Timothy Pont." Pub. J.Tweed. Edinburgh. P. 214. This property is now part of Geilsland school, run by the Church of Scotland under its 'Crossreach' initiative. [http://www.isbi.com/isbi-viewschool/2911-GEILSLAND_SCHOOL.html Geilsland school] ] The name is pronounced 'Jillsland' locally.

Geilsland House and School gallery

Geilsland Lodge and main entrance.
A view of the side of the house which faces Beith.
The side of the house which faces Geilsland Road and Speir's school grounds.
The main entrance to Geilsland House.
The front of Geilsland House showing later alterations.
The chapel completed in 1974 - detail.
The chapel at Geilsland.

Gateside village 2008

The village of Gateside lies close to Broadstone and Geilsland. It has a fine pub, primary school, plant nursery, Millennium garden, and the Isobel Patrick of Trearne Memorial Hall. Until recently it had a smithy. Trearne House stood nearby and was demolished, the site is now being a large worked out limestone quarry.

Industrial and social archaeology

The Moot Hill

A Moot hill or Court Hill survives near Boghall in the old Barony of Beith. Dobie states that the Abbot of Kilwinning used it to administered justice to his vassals & tenants. It is a sub-oval, flat-topped mound, situated at the foot of a small valley. A number of large stones are visible in the sides of the mound. It is turf-covered, situated on a low outcrop, and is mostly an artificial work. It pre-dates the channelling of the burn which detours around it, the mound was probably isolated in this once marshy outflow of the former Boghall Loch (see NS35SE 14). [http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/ RCAHMS Canmore archaeology site] ] It does not seem to lie in the area identified by SmithSmith, John (1895). Prehistoric Man in Ayrshire. Pub. Elliot Stock. P. 81.] .


A sandstone quarry existed near to Marshalland farm and several sizeable limekilns and limestone quarries lay towards Broadstone; marble was found at Broadstone.Robertson, George (1820). "A Topographical Description of Ayrshire; more particularly of Cunninghame." Pub. Cunninghame Press, Irvine. P. 281.]

Broadstone castle

The ruins of Braidstone or Broadstone Castle remained until about 1850,.Porterfield, S. (1925). "Rambles Round Beith." P. 31.] but when Broadstonehall Farm buildings were being rebuilt, the castle was pulled down and its stones used in the building works; the Broadstone Crags, the site of the castle, remain however. An avenue of trees and the vestiges of a garden had survived until the time of the building of the farm.Paterson, James (1866). "History of the Counties of Ayrs and Wigton." Vol. III. Cuninghame. Part.1. Pub. James Stillie. P. 80.] Its site was pointed out by Mr W Kerr of Broadstonehall in 1855.The Barony of Braidstone was possessed by John de Lyddale, Dominus de Bradestane in 1452.

Robert Montgomerie of Braidstone was second son of the 3rd Lord Montgomerie. Sir Hugh Montgomerie was born here in 1560. He brought a colony of Irish protestants over from his Irish estates in 1600 and later a colony of protestants from the area were taken over to the Ardes and Clandebora areas of Ireland following the putting down of an Irish revolt.Robertson, George (1820). "A Topographical Description of Ayrshire: More particularly of Cunninghame, etc ...." Pub. Cunninghame Press. Irvine. P. 281. The lands were sold in 1650 to a Greenock family who stayed there occasionally until just after the year 1700. In 1829 Broadstone Hall was the residence of Sir M. S. Stewart.Aitken, Robert (1829). "The Parish Atlas of Ayrshire - Cunninghame." Pub. W. Ballantine. Edinburgh.]

James Paterson,Paterson, James (1871). "Autobiographical Reminiscences." Pub. Maurice Ogle & Co. Glasgow. P. 48.] the historian, records that the "Laird of Braidstane's Scotch Colony", established in around 1606. was responsible for the introduction of linen weaving and manufacture to the area around Lurgan in Ireland.

Broadstone Limekilns gallery

DM Beith

A large Defence Munitions (DM) centre is located at Beith. The site was originally developed in 1943 as a conventional Royal Naval Armaments Depot, munitions store, for the Royal Navy. It now processes and stores Spearfish, Storm Shadow, Tomahawk and Brimstone missiles. The school lay within the 'Exclusion Zone', limiting new housing developments, etc. [http://homepage.ntlworld.com/alan-turnbull/secret3.htm DM Beith] ]

Micro history

In 1834 Cholera broke out in Beith and although 'clothes were burned, bedding fumigated, stairs and closes whitewashed, a nurse who was a veteran of the Dalry outbreak was engaged and a ban placed on entertainments at funerals.' There were 100 cases in September 1834, 205 people were eventually affected with 105 deaths. Some of the people were buried in the Parish Churchyard, but others were buried in a field, close to what became Speir's School, on the little common south-west of where the Gielsland Raod meets the Powgree Burn.Porterfield, S. (1925). "Rambles Round Beith." P. 36.] Robert Speir, the father of John Speir, was a member of the local Health Board. [http://www.ayrshireroots.co.uk/Towns/Beith/Cholera%20in%20Beith.htm Cholera deaths in Beith] ]

The Girl Guides had a centre in the field next to the school for some years; the Spier's Trust having sold them convert|2.2|acre|m2. This building was repeatedly vandalised. The site was sold and a dwelling built, but after two fires this was also demolished. Only a building associated with the Marshland playing fields remains, also vandalised.

The 'Old Speirian' records that transport to the school was a regular and severe problem. The 'train students' in particular had to leave home very early and return late.The Old Speirian. Centennary edition. 1887 - 1987.]

The 1910 OS map shows a 'Sheepwash' nearly opposite the side entrance to Marshalland farm.

A house on the Barrmill Road where it joins the Beith bypass has the unusual name of Bellscauseway.


External links

* [http://www.beith.org/modules/myalbum/photo.php?lid=455 A photograph of Senior pupils at Speir's school]
* [http://www.beith.org/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1367 Spier's school Reunion 2007]
* [http://www.garnockacademy.org/ The Garnock Academy website]
* [http://www.european-map-graphics.co.uk/town/beith/79738 A Map of Beith]
* [http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/pls/portal/newcanmore.newcandig_details_gis?inumlink=42076 RCAHMS Canmore archaeology site]
* [http://pub8.bravenet.com/forum/show.php?usernum=647072489&cpv=2 Ayrshireroots Speir's forum page]
* [http://geo.nls.uk/roy/ General Roy's Military Survey of Scotland 1747 - 52]
* [http://www.nls.uk/maps/ Old maps of Scotland from the National Library]
* [http://www.old-maps.co.uk/indexmappage2.aspx Old Ordnance Survey Maps]
* [http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/A_Researcher's_Guide_to_Local_History_Terminology A Researcher's Guide to Local History terminology]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Independent school (UK) — An independent school in the United Kingdom is a school relying upon private sources for all of its funding, predominantly in the form of school fees. In England and Wales the term public school is often used to refer to what is normally called… …   Wikipedia

  • Central Gwinnett High School — Infobox HighSchool name = Central Gwinnett High School city = Lawrenceville state = Georgia country = United States campus = Suburban type = High School (Grades 9 12) established = 1957 head = Valerie Clark motto = The Best School Of America… …   Wikipedia

  • George Mason High School — Infobox School name= George Mason High School imagesize= 125px streetaddress= 7124 Leesburg Pike city= Falls Church state= Virginia zipcode= 22043 country= USA district= Falls Church City Public Schools superintendent= Dr. Lois Berlin principal=… …   Wikipedia

  • Beith — Infobox UK place official name= Beith gaelic name= scots name= local name= country= Scotland map type= Scotland population= 6,346 [cite web|publisher=Scotland s Census Results Online|title =Comparative Population Profile: Beith Locality |… …   Wikipedia

  • Gateside, North Ayrshire — Gateside is a small village in North Ayrshire, Scotland about half a mile east of Beith. Co ordinates 55 44 52.4 N | 04 36 33.0 WGateside Primary School was opened in 1903, and nowadays it has 74 pupils. The school has an extension built in 1998… …   Wikipedia

  • Kilbirnie — Infobox UK place official name= Kilbirnie gaelic name= scots name= local name= country= Scotland map type= Scotland population= 7,280 population density= os grid reference= NS315545 edinburgh distance= london distance= latitude= 55.755 longitude …   Wikipedia

  • Lurgan — Infobox UK place official name= Lurgan irish name= An Lorgain scots name= local name= Lurgan static static image caption= map type= Northern Ireland latitude= 54.464722 longitude= 6.332222 belfast distance= 22.1 miles population= 25,000 (est)… …   Wikipedia

  • Eglinton Country Park — is a park located in the grounds of the old Eglinton Castle estate, Irvine, on the outskirts of Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, Scotland (map reference NS 3227 4220). Eglinton Park is situated in the parish of Kilwinning, part of the former district… …   Wikipedia

  • R. H. Bruce Lockhart — Sir Robert Hamilton Bruce Lockhart KCMG (2 September 1887 27 February, 1970), was a journalist, author, secret agent, British diplomat in Moscow, and later in Prague, and footballer.BackgroundLockhart was born in Anstruther, Fife, Scotland, the… …   Wikipedia

  • James Blyth, Baron Blyth of Rowington — (* 8. Mai 1940) ist ein britischer Geschäftsmann und Politiker der Conservative Party. Leben und Karriere Blyth wurde als Sohn von Daniel Blyth und Jane Power Carlton geboren. Er besuchte die Speir s School und die University of Glasgow, wo er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia