Loudoun Kirk, dedicated to St Michael, was established at the end of the 12th century. The Lands on which it was built, and which became Loudoun parish, had been given by Richard de Morville, King William the Lion's High Steward, to James, son of Lambinus, before 1189. At or soon after its foundation, the revenues of Loudoun Kirk, were allocated to support the monks of the newly founded Kilwinning Abbey, and in return they were obliged to provide a priest (curate) to attend the spiritual needs of the parishioners. In January 1491, James IV created for George Campbell of Loudoun the free burgh or barony of Newmilns. The castle was built there - and gradually, as more and more people moved to the new burgh, Loudoun Kirk became the main centre of population in the parish. During the bitter Campbell/Kennedy feuds of 1527-8, Loudoun Kirk was badly damaged, but rebuilt. Soon afterwards, in 1530, a chapel was built at Newmilns in recognition of the shift in population. Loudoun Kirk remained the parish church until at least the 17th century, when the chapel in Newmilns was upgraded to parochial status. Thereafter Loudoun Kirk and its kirkyard continued in use for occational church services, but more particularly as the last resting place of generation of the parishioners of Loudoun. (Curtesy of Alastair Hendry)
There was also Loudounkirk village, built originally to house estate workers until laterly they housed local coal miners and around the 1940's the families were rehoused in Galston and the houses demolished. There are plans at present to recreate the village, complete with thatched roofs. John the fourth Earl of Loudoun, military commander of the British Forces in North America and famous agricultural improver, is said to have imported over a million trees from America. He was instrumental in creating hedged fields & roads and promoted the breeding of the famous Ayrshire Cow. Created Governor of Virginia, where the name Loudoun still prevails although the town of Loudoun is now known as Leesburg. Darvel, Newmilns and Galston are well known for the manufacturing of Lace and was the mainstay occupation of many of the residents. The river Irvine divides these towns into two parishes, those living south of the river are in the Galston parish and those on the north side are in the Loudoun parish. Many local people left Scotland to settle elsewhere and became sucessful businessmen. John Moffat 2nd son of John Moffat and Elizabeth Loudoun of Newmilns, went to Australia and establish mining businesses in Queensland. John Allan, 7th child of Galston farmer Andrew Allan and Jane Kirkpatrick became premier of Australia. James Paterson of Middlethird Farm, Galston became shipowner and coal merchant in Melbourne, Australia. Collin Dunlop Wilson Rankin of Galston, 2nd son of colliery manager William Rankin and Jane Anderson, soldier, cane farmer, politician and company director in Queensland, Australia. John Young youngest son of James Young and Margaret Mason, became a prosperous merchant, business promotor and manufacturer in Hamilton, Ont. Canada. John Gillies Shields, a farm labourer for Lord Donington of Loudoun Castle became a sucessful businessman and owner of Donington Hall in Leicestershire after being offered the post of manager of Lord Donington's farms. Loudoun parish covers parts of Darvel, Newmilns and Galston. The towns are divided by the river Irvine and areas north of the river are in the Loudoun parish and to the south of the river are in the Galston parish. The main industries were agriculture, weaving and coal mining although the coal mines have already closed and the last lace factory closed in August 2007. These towns lie in the valley of the river Irvine an are often referred to collectively as the Irvine Valley or even just "the valley". Loudoun Castle (now a theme park) was once home of the Campbells of Loudoun.