Wallace’s Monument, the Wallace Tower, or the Barnweil Monument was built in 1856. It is dedicated to the memory of William Wallace. This gothic structure is located on Barnweil Hill in South Ayrshire and predates the 1869 Wallace Monument at Stirling.
The Wallace Monument is in a prominent situation in Ayrshire, in a circular enclosed area of ground with a group of trees surviving from the original extensive plantings. The Ayrshire monument was built to commemorate William Wallace at the time of an upsurge in the Scottish desire for self-determination. The story is that the name derives from an occasion when Wallace, standing on this elevated site, remarked that the Barns of Ayr (containing English soldiers) `burn weil’ is an invention, the reason for the name actually being that it is situated close to the remains of the medieval parish church of Barnweil in Ayrshire, a parish that suppressed in the 17th century.
The Ayr Advertiser of 12 October 1854 carried an advertisement calling for designs for the monument to be submitted to W F Love of Beith by 1 January 1855. The Ayr Advertiser of 30 October 1856 stated that the monument was designed by William Dobie of Beith, and was built by Mr Snodgrass. The Dobies were a well-to-do professional family with antiquarian interests. No evidence has been found of any call for public subscription. Robert Snodgrass senior, son of William Snodgrass, mason of Beith, practised as an architect-builder in Ayrshire. The Ayrshire land was donated by Brigadier-General James George Smith-Neil of Barnweil House in 1855.
William Patrick of Roughwood and Woodside near Beith in Ayrshire is also said to have erected the monument. Dobie states that after repeated attempts to arouse public sympathy in its favour he built the tower at his own expense.