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Fullarton Woods, Troon

The Fullarton family's possession of extensive lands including Troon Point went back the Middle Ages. Colonel William Fullarton of Fullarton was born in the family mansion of Fullarton House in 1754 and played an active part in the expansion of the British Empire. Having raised a regiment on his estates for overseas service he was sent with it to India, and during much of the 1780s he participated in conflicts between the forces of the British East India Company and Indian rulers. He captured a number of towns, and was eventually given command of an army of 14,000 men. During periods of peace, he engaged in diplomacy with native princes.  Returning to Britain, he wrote an influential pamphlet criticising the East India Company's ruthless treatment of Indians, both rulers and ordinary people, and advocating more humane policies. For a time he devoted himself to agricultural improvement. He befriended Robert Burns, who made a complimentary reference to him in his poem 'The Vision'. In 1802 Colonel Fullarton was appointed the senior member of the commission governing Trinidad, recently captured from Spain. Trinidad had been under the control of General Thomas Picton, and Fullarton conducted an enquiry into allegations of brutality and torture against Picton which resulted in his trial in England. (Acquitted on a technicality, Picton became one of the Duke of Wellington's foremost commanders and was killed at Waterloo.) Heavily in debt due to his overseas service and further raising of troops, Colonel Fullarton sold his estate in 1805 to the Marquess of Titchfield (who would succeed his father as 4th Duke of Portland) and died in London in 1808.

Although he played a part in enlarging the British Empire, Colonel Fullarton believed that those who had been subjected should be treated fairly and humanely, and it is notable that he did not enrich himself as so many others did. Fullarton House and the surrounding woods were acquired by Troon Town Council in 1928. The house was demolished in 1966 and its site is now a car park, but the stable block survives as private housing.

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