High Williamshaw is a fine looking building which stands on the left hand side of the Old Glasgow Road near the old Kingsford School.
The original house dates from the late 18th century, around 1771, when the lands were sold off by the Robertland Estate on the other side of the road. It is a two storey and attic house, with crow-stepped gabling and 19th century additions to the rear forming a U - Plan.
The family who lived in Williamshaw until the 1950's were called Donaldson, the most famous of these being Thomas Leverton Donaldson (1795-1885). He became an architect and married a lady by the name of Leverton hence the double-barreled name. He designed a number of large houses, and churches, including the one below. He then joined with other architects to form the British Institute of Architects (now the R.I.B.A.) He may also have assisted in the design of the new Kingsford primary school.
By the early 1970's the house was falling into disrepair, the elderly couple were moved into Lainshaw Old Folk's Home and the House was put up for sale.
The late Allan McDougall, former provost of Stewarton, who was handling the sale, was kind enough to allow a Society delegation to tour the empty house. It was a scary experience! On the ground floor on entering there was a living room to the left with an old fashioned range for cooking, and there were black charred marks above it on the wall. There was another room to the right facing the front, while another room at the back had the only water supply in the house - one sink at the window with one tap (there was no gas or electricity and we could not even find any sign of a toilet). The floor in the entrance hall was still laid with its original stone flags, and the back door faced the front door with a wooden stair in the right hand corner with a metal handrail which led to the upper floors.
It is worth noting that the ground floor lay-out is a fancier version of the old farm cottages with a single passageway and a but and ben on either side) On the first floor on the left hand side was a large room running the whole length of the building from front to back, with large windows looking out over the Ayrshire countryside BUT there was also a large crack in the gable wall, through which more countryside could be seen! This, coupled with the fact that the stair treads leading to the attic were rotten through in places made us decide we had seen enough.
The house was bought by a Mr Webster, and it has passed through several hands till we reach the fine restoration we can enjoy to-day.
Busbridge Church, Godalming, Surrey - designed by T.L. Donaldson.