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Innerkip and Greenock

Innyrkyp. [Regist. de Passelet.]

The ancient parish of Innerkip, which included Greenock, rises from the shores of the Clyde to the height of upwards of 600 feet above its level, and then stretches away into a moorland and mountainous tract, in which are the sources of the Gryfe on the east, and the bed of the Shaw burn and the Kipp on the west. It is divided from Largs by the Kellie and Rotten burns. In 1589, John Shaw of Grenok had a crown charter for erecting ‘his proper lands and heritage of Grenok, Fynnartie, and Spangok, with their pertinents, extending in all to £28, 13s. worth of land of auld extent, lyand within the parochin of Innerkipe’, into a separate parish; ratified by act of Parliament 1594. [Acta Parl. III. 549.]

About the year 1170, Baldwin de Bigre sheriff of Lanark, granted to the church of Saint Mirin and the monks of Paisley the church of Innyrkyp beyond the moors (ultra mores,) with that penny land between the rivulets (Kyp and Daff) where the church is built, and with the church dues of its whole parish (eum integritate parochiæ suæ,) as freely as they held the other churches of Stragrif by the gift of Walter Fitz-Alan the steward. The gift reserved the tenure of Robert, chaplain of Renfrew, as long as he should live, or until he should betake him to the monastic life; but of the nature of that tenure we have no information. This charter of the ancestor of the noble family of Fleming was granted and sealed in presence of a number of the known retainers and vassals of the first Steward. [Regist. de Passelet, p. 112.]

The vicar who served the cure had in 1227 a pension of 100s. from the altar dues. In Baiamund, the vicarage is taxed at a value of £40, and in the taxation of the 16th century at £34.

It was let at the Reformation for 100 merks. [Rental book of Assumptions.] The parsonage is valued at £40 in the Libellus Tax. Reg. Scot., and it was let at the Reformation, along with Largs and Lochwinnoch, for £460. The parish takes its name from the situation of the church at the mouth of the Kyp, where it is joined by the Daff. To the penny land lying between these waters, granted to Paisley by Baldwin de Bigre, were in 1226 added certain acres in exchange for land of the monks on the west of Espedare, which Walter the second and Alexander, Stewards, had enclosed in their park. [Rental book of Assumptions, p. 88.]

The chapel of Christswell was founded at least as early as the reign of Robert III.; [Rob. Index, p. 145.] it was endowed with a considerable extent of lands between Spangok and Laren, on the Kipp. In 1556, Sir Laurence Galt, styled prebendar of the prebend or chapel of Christswell, granted the whole chapel lands to Sir James Lindsay, a chaplain, and his heirs in feu ferme. [Privy Seal, xxxv. 21.] In 1675, James Stewart was served heir of Robert Stewart of Chrystswall in the 40d. land of old extent of the prebend or chaplainry of Chrystswall, and the lands called chapel lands of the said chapel. [Retours.]

There is said to have been anciently a chapel dedicated to Saint Lawrence on the site of the present town of Greenock, from which Saint Lawrence bay had its name.

It does not appear when the property of Baldwin de Bigre, which evidently included this whole parish, came into the hands of the Stewards, nor have we any notice of its tenures until divided among several proprietors holding under them. In 1404, Ardgowan or Achingoun, was bestowed by Robert III. upon John Stewart, his natural son, [Cart. pen. Blackhill, apud Crawfurd.] and it is still held by his descendants. The house of Ardgowan, situated on the western shore, about a mile from the church, consists of an old square tower, with several lower modern additions. [Crawfurd.]

Dunrod, in this parish, was the property of Sir John de Lindsay, in the reign of Robert II. [Rob. Index, p. 125.]

The barony of Greenock came into the possession of the Shaws of Sauchie, by marriage with one of the co-heiresses, daughters of Malcolm Galbraith of Greenock, in the reign of Robert III.; [Nisbet Herald.] and ‘the family of Sauchie’, says Nisbet, ‘from failure of succession, fell into Greenock, who is now lineal representer and chief of the name’.

Above the village of Gourock, stood a castle of the same name, the principal messuage of the barony of Finnart Stewart, which, in the reign of James II., by the forfeiture of the Earl of Douglas, came to Stewart of Castlemilk. [Gordon’s Hist. of Stewarts, apud Crawfurd.]

Upon the north-western shore stand the ruins of the castle of Leven, the ancient possession of a family of Morton, which failed in Adam Morton of Leven, 1547. [Charter penes Stewart of Blackhall.]

The lands of Kelly, situate on a burn of the same name, which bounds the parish on the south, were given or confirmed by James III. to James Bannatyne. [Charter quoted by Crawfurd.]

The village of Daff or Kirktoun of Innerkipp, is probably as old as the foundation of the church.