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David Landsborough

David Landsborough

David Landsborough was born in Stevenston (North Ayrshire) in 1826. As a boy he attendedIrvineAcademywalking there and back each day with his elder brother. Progressing throughGlasgowUniversityand Divinity Hall,Edinburghhe was ordained in 1851 as minister of theHendersonChurch, then inWellington Street,Kilmarnock. He remained minister there for 51 years, lifting the Church from serious debt and dwindling attendances to one of double the size capable of raising £2, 200 at a bazaar in 1904.



From his earliest days on the shore with his father, David Landsborough had taken a keen interest in natural history. In addition he studied geology, palaeontology,  archaeology and local history. Several of the new species of animals and plants which he discovered are named after him. He accumulated important collections including shells, fossil plants and communion tokens and wrote several books on a variety of subjects.



He was President (later Honorary President) of the Kilmarnock Philosophical Institution and in 1884, when the Glenfield Ramblers Society was formed he became their first Honorary President.


His scientific pursuits were rewarded in 1901 when he was given the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law byGlasgowUniversity. Later in 1901 he reached his jubilee in the ministry and in addition to the special church services there was a civic function at the Corn Exchange. For many years after his retrial in 1902, David Landsborough enjoyed good heath but in 1912 the 'Grand Old Man of Kilmarnock' died. A year later in 1915 a memorial plaque to Landsborough was unveiled on Craigie Hill. Part of his collections form an important part of the Natural Sciences collection at the Dick Institute in Kilmarnock.