Timothy Pont

Timothy Pont was the son of Robert Pont, a well known minister of the Church of Scotland just after the Reformation. It is probable that Timothy himself was born around 1580. Timothy was educated for a life in the Church and from 1601 until 1608 was the minister for the Parish of Dunnet, in Caithness. He was more interested however in turning his mind towards mathematics and geography and decided to give up his parochial life to pursue a grand project. Timothy Pont became the first man to accurately map the entire Kingdom of Scotland.

This venture was undertaken in a time of limited transport, and much of the country was so inaccessible that it had to be done on foot. He personally crossed the country surveying all the counties and isles, and making drawings of many monuments of antiquity, many of which no longer exist, making his sketches the only point of reference we have for them today. Much has been made of his travels across the lochs, bogs and mountains of the Highlands, an area which was crawling with bands of brigands and packs of wolves in the early 17th Century, but it is his survey of the northern part of Ayrshire, Cunninghame, which is the most complete. He must have gone over the district at some length and extensively lists as many as 348 place names. In fact it was Pont who placed the now forgotten town of Ellerslie in Ayrshire, near Kilmarnock, lending credence to the claims of Ayrshire being the birth-place of  Sir William Wallace. Going by the names of some of the people that he mentions in the survey, it was probably undertaken sometime between 1610 and 1620. 

The exact date of Pont's death is as uncertain as the location of his burial place, but we do know that the Bishop Nicholson remarked his death was to "the inestimable loss of his country". Pont's work was put at the disposal of the Blaeus, Dutch topographers, by Charles I, in order to aid them complete their great work 'An Atlas of the World', in 1655. 

Pont on Kilwinning 
"The structure of the Monasterey wes solid and grate all of free stone cutte. The Church faire and staitly after ye model of yat of Glasgow vith a fair steeiple\of 7 score foote of height zet ftanding quhen I myselve did see it". 

Pont on Irvine 
"Irrwyne Toune this is the head burrough and chieffe porte of ye country of Cunninghame the port and harbry being now much decayed from quhat it wes anciently being ftopt vith fhelwes of fand wich hinders the neir approach of fhipping, the toune is a free Royall burghe and is gowerned vith a prowest and his Ballies, in it is a fair church, and the Ballie Courts of Cunninghame art her keipt by the Earl of Eglintoune and hes deputts. Neir to ye toune the Riuer Irwyne is ouer passed by a faire ftone Bridge, neir to wich wes formerly a frierrey of ye order of ye Carmalitts founded of old by the Laird of Foulartone de eodem. Ther is plenty of falmons takin in this Riuer,…" 

Pont on Kilmarnock 
"Kilmernock Toune and Kirke is a large village and of grate repaire. It hath in it a veekly market. It hath a faire ftone bridge ouer the Riuer Marnock vich glydes hard by the faid toune till it falles in the Riuer Caldur. It hath a prettey church from vich ye village Castle and Lordfchipe takes its name. it wes bulte by the  Locarts Lards of it and dedicate to a holy man Mernock as vitnesess ye records of Kilvinin abbay. The Lord Boyd is now Lord of it, to quhosse predicessors it hath belonged for maney generations…". 

Pont on Largs 
"Lairgs near this toune did ye Scotts obteine a memorable victory vnder Alexander ye 3d againft  Acho king of Noruay quhosse armey the vterly ouerthrew, it is a brughe of Barroney. It is a fine plot extended one ye bank of ye grate ocean. Laying low. It hath alfo a small porte for botts one the mouth of the Riuer Gogow. Vpone the North fyde of ye toune, ther is called by the vulgar ye Prisson-Fold quher ther wer a grate nomber of Danes enclofed and taken prisoners at ye batell of Largis. Heir is alfo a parochiall churche of ye same name. heir adioyning the  Lord Boyd hath diuers lands called Noddisdaile." 

Pont on Saltcoats 
"Salte-cottes quher falt is made. It belongs to ye Earle of Glencairne." 

Pont on Newmilns 
"Neumilles a fair and veil bult duelling decored vith plefant gardens and orchards, it belongs to ye Lord Loudoun,…" 

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