Alexander Cuninghame inherited and married Marion Porterfield of Duchal. Alexander Cuninghame of Corsehill was given the dignity of a Baronet in 1672. Sir David Cuninghame is the last of the family to be recorded as dwelling at Corsehill Castle (Pont 1876). In 1820 the lands included Bonshaw, High and Low Chapelton, Lainshaw, Kirkwood, Sandielands, Bankend, Gallowayford, and Corsehill. In 1832 Sir Thomas Montgomerie-Cuninghame of Corsehill and Kirton-holme (near Lanark) was the eighth baronet. The Montgomery-Cuninghame of Corsehill Baronets are still extant, with John Montgomery-Cuninghame of Corsehill and Kirton-holme, 12th. Baronet now representing the family.
Steven states that William Dean held the feu for the area of Templehouse, now more commonly called 'Darlington'. The 1860 OS map does record the site of Templehouse which had a small fortalice associated with it. Its site was at Darlington, the village which lay just beyond Stewarton on the Kingsford road before the East Burn. This area continued to be called Templehouses for many years after the stones were removed by local people for building purposes. Corsehill Castle is shown in one old print of 1691 by Gross as Corsehill House and substantial remains existed until the railway was constructed and most of the ruins were
|The name Corsehill derives from Cross Hill. In the early days of Christian Scotland crosses, usually wooden, were erected in prominent positions and religious observance would take place when the priest visited. Later churches were built and the crosses abandoned.>|
Ravenscraig and Corsehill Castles were separate entities, and a vague memory of Templehouse and its fortalice at Darlington on the lands of Corsehill farm, may have caused some extra confusion as in the King’s Kitchen tale of the location of the Baronial residence. An area opposite the site of Templehouses was known as 'The Castle'. and this may reflect the existence of the castle or fortalice here (Hewitt 2006). An old road also crossed the river here and ran up to Robertland Castle and Nether Robertland (Lainshaw 1779). Many references can be found to Corsehill in old records, none for 'Ravenscraig', but several for 'Reuincraig', although as stated, this is very unlikely to be anything more than a description of a ruin that was also probably called 'Corsehill', 'ruined Corsehill', then 'reuinedcraig' and finally 'ravenscraig'.
Archibald Adamson in his 'Rambles Round Kilmarnock' of 1875 only records three castles, these being Robertland, Auchenharvie and Corsehill. He makes no mention of the name Ravenscraig, calling the site he visited Corsehill. Aitken only marks Crosshill Castle in 1829 on the west side of the Corsehill Burn. The first OS maps show only the existing castle site.
To sum up, the map in Pont's 'Cuninghame' of 1604 - 8 shows two buildings, "Reuincraige" and "Corshill", at approximately NS 417 467 and NS 422 465 respectively, and Dobie comments that the two have often been confused, but that "Reuincraig" stood on the W of the Corsehill Burn and "Corsehill Mansion" on its E. "Reuincraig", he says, was so modernised about 1840 that it was difficult to realise that it had been ruined in 1608, while the ruins of "Corsehill" were removed about the beginning of the 19th century and only foundations could be traced when he wrote. He also thought that "Reuincraig" (i.e. Ruin Craig) was not an original name. If Dobie is correct, the ruins published as "Corsehill Castle" on the OS 6", must be those of "Reuincraig", both because they are standing remains, and because they are on the W bank of the burn. Macgibbon and Ross, describing "Corsehill Castle" at the end of the 19th century as a very ruinous mansion, evidently of late date and apparently of the L-plan, and ascribe it to the period 1542-1700, must be referring to "Reuincraig". Grose, in 1791, published an illustration of "Corshill House", but does not give its exact position. As, however, he mentions that "at a small distance from this ruin are some small remains of a more ancient building belonging to the same family", he is also probably referring to "Reuincraig", the "small remains" being those of "Corsehill".
General Roy's Military Survey of Scotland (1745 - 55) marks 'Ravenscraig' as 'Old Corsehill' and also marks the 'new' Corsehill on the other side of the burn, thereby apparently confirming that they both had the same name and one replaced the other, although only 'Old Corsehill' is still in any way visible, just the foundations of 'new' Corsehill being apparent in 2007. The same map shows buildings named 'Temple' in the area of 'Templehouse'.
David Cunninghame was the last to occupy Corsehill and he then lived at Doura Hall near Kilwinning where he had proposed building himself a new Corsehill House.
A tunnel is said to run from near Ravenscraig Castle down to the Annick Water just up stream of Lainshaw Castle. The tunnel was crawled through by the grandfather of a local man. This tunnel may be related to the drainage of the nearby, flooded quarry, the Water Plantation area and other Lainshaw estate lands.
In another version of the story, it is stated by Frederick van Bassen (Douglas 1764) who was a Norwegian historian, that the saviour of Malcolm was actually a Malcolm, son of Friskin, however in other respects the story is the same. This story does not fit with the historical record, however it is of ancient origin and a grain of truth must in some way relate it to real events.
In April 1586, Hugh, 4th. Earl of Eglinton was travelling to Stirling to join the court having been commanded to attend by the King, accompanied only by a few domestic servants. He stopped at Lainshaw Castle to dine with his close relative, a Montgomerie who was Lord of Lainshaw and who's Lady was a Margaret Cunninghame of Aiket Castle, with sisters married to John Cunninghame of Corsehill and David Cunninghame of Robertland. It seems that a plot to kill the Earl as an act of revenge had been organised and the Lady, or some say a servant girl who was also a Cunninghame, climbed to the battlements after the meal to hang out a white table napkin and thereby spring the plot. Thirty Cunninghames attacked the Earl at the ford and cut his servants to pieces with swords and other weapons, the Earl himself being finally dispatched with a single shot from the pistol of John Cuninghame of Clonbeith Castle. His horse carried his dead body along the side of the river, still known as the 'Weeping', 'Mourning' or 'Widows' path. Kerr, with local knowledge, states that the site of the crime was recently (1936) built over by a factory, so the site of the ford in question may not have been at the entrance to the Lainshaw Estate at David Dale Avenue, but at the Kirk Ford instead. The murdered Earl was eventually taken to Lainshaw Castle, but in the meantime a wave of bloody revenge swept over Cunninghame and elsewhere. Cunninghame friends, relatives and adherents were killed without restraint.
The Earl of Glencairn showed his lack of involvement by taking no action against the Montgomeries and by leaving his kinsmen to the full weight of the law. Aiket was killed near his home; Robertland and Corsehill escaped to Denmark. Clonbeith was traced to a house in Hamilton, possibly Hamilton Palace and hacked to pieces by Robert Montgomerie and John Pollock of that Ilk. Clonbeith had hid within a chimney. Both Robertland and Corsehill were pardoned on the insistence of Queen Anne of Denmark upon her marriage to King James VI of Scotland, despite his earlier vow to bring them to justice. Robertland was employed as one of her Majesty's master stablers. The properties of the guilty parties had been confiscated and given to the Montgomeries, however the estates were eventually returned in ruinous condition.
Lady Margaret Montgomerie was said to have fled to Ireland, however it seems that she remained close by, living with an estate tenant, one Robert Barr and family at Pearce Bank (Peacockbank) farm, now High Peacockbank. She was eventually permitted to return to her husband and home, however she never again left the grounds of Lainshaw Castle and she avoided any contact with the Montgomerie family for the remainder of her days.
William Robertson relates a very different tale, stating that Cunninghame of Robertland spent two years developing a friendship with Hugh and despite warnings from the third Earl it eventually Hugh held Robertland in high esteem and close friendship, giving the opportunity for him to be caught off guard and cut down when attacked by sixty Cunninghame horseman. His servants had all left him to his fate. The site of this action is not recorded. Blair gives this version as well, stating that Cunninghame of Robertland was 'a very dear friend' and loved Earl Hugh 'as his own bedfellow'.
George Robertson gives yet another, 'traditional' version, in which Cunninghame of Clonbeith is stated as being at best an accessory, although he is still caught and killed in Hamilton. Here the Earl is on his way to a visit to the laird of Robertland Castle, but stops first for a meal at Lainshaw. The Laird of Lainshaw tries to dissuade him from continuing his journey, but to no avail and on his way back from Robertland he is met and murdered by Cunninghame of Aiket at a place called the Windy-path in Stewarton. He was shot and although dying he was able to stay in the saddle until he reached the Annick Ford where he fell from his horse and expired immediately. The Windy-path has been called the Mourning-path since that day. The date of this event is given as 12-05-1589, a date that does not fit with the 1586 date of the first version given.
Steven states that "The ruins, nearly levelled by the hand of time, of the Castle of Robertland formerly stronghold of the Cuninghames, Baronets of Robertland, are situated behind the modern mansion of Alexander Kerr, esq. of Robertland. this stronghold, it is say, was destroyed by fire in a feud between the Montgomeries of Eglinton and the Cuninghames; in revenge for which, one of the Cuninghames shot the chief of the Eglintons, while riding home, near to Bridgend, at the east end of the town of Stewarton, where a path is still shown, called the " Weeping Path," along which he rode,until he came to the ford of the Annock, at Bridgend, where he fell dead off his horse. This took place on the 12th April 1586. in the person of Hugh, fourth Earl of Eglinton."
MacGachen (1844) gives a confused version in the rare collection of prose and verse named the 'Ayrshire Wreath'. The action takes place at the 'Bridge of Annock', erroneously located over the Carmel Burn! The Earl's manservant is named as Archie Mucledrouth and Cunningham of Aiket is stated as having fired the fatal shot and as having been hunted down and 'cut to pieces' in Hamilton. Many of the Earl's retainers are said to have been killed, the 'stream' running red with their blood, giving a fisherman, a maiden and some children a nasty shock. Otherwise the story is much the same as the Robertson version.
|The name Lainshaw was derived from the Scots words Lang and Shaw. The meaning is a long strip of woodland rather than a large wood or forest.|
One of the earliest references to Lainshaw, Langshaw or Langschaw is the grant of land to Alexander Home of Holme by King James in 1450. Castleton, Gallowberry, Whitelee, Crennachbrare, Robertland and Magbiehill (Magby Hill in 1775) were also included in the grant. Thomas Home inherited, but he died without issue and it passed to the Eglinton family, namely Neil or Nigel Montgomerie of Langshaw who was the second son of the first Earl of Eglinton. He was killed at Irvine in 1547 through the feud with the Mowats of Busbie and Lord Boyd. His son, John, married Margaret,daughter of Lord Boyd. John Montgomerie died without issue and his brother Neil became the third Laird.
In 1745 the Laird of Langshaw died suddenly from drinking bad wine. When the 9th Laird, James, died in 1767 his eldest sister, Elizabeth inherited. She had married Alexander Montgomerie-Cuninghame of Kirktonholme, son of Sir David Cuninghame of Corsehill. Her second husband was J.Beaumont Esq.(Paterson).
The 10th Laird was their son, Sir Walter Montgomerie-Cuninghame, who lost a fortune as result of the American War of Independence. William Cunninghame of Bridgehouse and (afterwards Lainshaw), the 'Tobacco Lord', had made a fortune in America between 1748 and 1762. In 1776 'Linshaw' is shown on road map as occupied by Bowman Esq. In 1779 he leased Lainshaw and proceeded to improve the Estate under an agreement whereby the Montgomeries could reclaim the estate only if they could reimburse William for the cost of his improvements.
They were never able to do so. William's son, William Cunninghame the Younger inherited the estate in 1799 but did not take up residence until 1804. During his time the house was remodelled extensively. He was a religious eccentric, which led to various court actions and his publishing a wide range of eccentric books, including one against swearing. He never married, having heard his childhood sweetheart utter unacceptably bad language (Milligan & Barclay). On his death in 1849, the estate passed to his younger half brother, John, who in turn was succeeded in 1864 by his son William, a Captain in the 79th Highlanders (Jamieson) and married to Louisa Ormond. He had four sons and two daughters. He held the Crimea Medal, with clasps for Alma, Balaclava and Sebastopool, together with a Turkish Medal.
The estate map of 1779 shows a band of woodland running around the estate curtilage. This strip had a carriage-way running through its middle and this links with the ha-ha at the chalybeate spring field. Wide wooden bridges with stone abutments close to the Annick Bridge in Stewarton and close to the walled gardens allowed a complete circuit of the estate curtilage to be made. Only the abutments of these bridges remain.
Near the main entrance is marked a building or buildings called 'Castle-salt', the reason for the name is not known. It could be that the name 'salt' is a corruption of another word, such as 'soiled' or 'soil', as in the 'night soil', i.e, the midden where the night soil was placed before being taken away for use as fertilizer. A ducument held in the Scottish National Archive mentions a 'Cattle salt' in Stewarton. In the Laigh Kirk graveyard there is a memorial to Robert Cunningham, erected by James Cunningham of Castle-Salt in 1827. A Mrs. Bracket lived at Castle-salt in 1820, the valued rent being £16. The land around Lainshaw Primary school was known as 'Picken's Park' and its trees were felled circa 1950, the trees being taken to Bickethall Farm for sawing, etc. Picken was a common local name at the time. Robertson records in 1820 that fields had been drained at considerable expense by filling ditches with stones.
In 1779 the estate farms included Gilmill, Kirkmuir, Righead, Parkside, Irvinehill, the Kilbryde Farms, Gouknest, Magbie-hill, Gaimes-hill, Bankend of Bollingshaw, Sandyland of Bollingshaw, Canaan and Clerkland. The rental income from the estate was £1628 per year, a considerable sum (Lainshaw 1779). James Kerr was the 'Baron Officer' at Lainshaw until his death on the 4th July 1880. His wife was Barbara Barclay and they were buried at the Laigh Kirk.
James Boswell of Auchinleck House, the famous biographer and friend of Dr. Samuel Johnson was married to his cousin Margaret Montgomerie in Lainshaw Castle.
James Forrest of Mid Lambroughton recorded the rare Bird's Nest Orchids and the Lesser Wintergreen plants as growing in the estate woodlands in the 1930s. Locally the woodlands, marked as Anderson's Plantation on some maps, are known as the 'Wendy woods' for some forgotten reason.
Lochridge or Lochrig belonged to the Arnot family for nearly 400 years. The family played their part in local issues over the years until Mathew Arnot Stewart, the last direct representative of the family, sold the estate to David Provan, a surgeon, in 1830.
Robertland Castle was held by a cadet branch of the Cunninghames and is now a ruin with little more than a few stones and a motte visible. The stones from the old castle were used to build the walls of the walled garden. In 1526 James V gave Robertland to Henry Kempt, a favourite, however the lands were in the ownership of Lord Semple by 1556. It was a Barony and David Cunninghame of Bartonholme was the ancestor of this family. David Cunninghame of Robertland, married to Margaret Cunninghame, took part in the slaying of Hugh, Earl of Eglinton at the Annick ford (see Murder at the Annick Ford) and was exiled to Denmark. He was pardoned on the occasion of the marriage of King James VI and Anne of Denmark, a stone in the garden over the doorway bears the Royal Arms of Scotland and commemorates this wedding.
The old castle had been a massive square structure six storeys high. The cattle and horses were accommodated on the ground floor, the servants on the second, and the family occupied the upper flats. The keep was surrounded by a moat which could be easily flooded by the Swinsey Burn. Many carved stones were recovered from the moat and preserved in the wall surrounding the garden. These stones include a Gargoyle, a rounded projectile of sandstone, and also a stone with a mason's mark. The garden wall has a stone with the date 1597 and the Latin sentence, Vita post fine eraverit (There will be life after the end). In the gable of the home farm are the letters D.M.C. and the date 1018.
The son of this David, a David also, was Master of the king's Works in Scotland after the death of William Schaw. He may have been an architect and followed the court of James VI to England, having first been knighted in 1604 and then made Surveyor to the Works in England between 1604 and 1606. Sir James Murray of Kilbaberton replaced him in 1607. Sir David Cunninghame was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1630 and his son was a Commissioner of Supply. Diana Cunninghame was an only daughter of another Sir David. She married Thomas Cochrane of Polkelly and much of the estate was sold at around this time. After many more generations Sir William Cunninghame of Auchinskeith acquired the property through marriage to Margaret Fairlie of Fairlie.
In 1770 the lands and Barony were sold, including the Superiority of Halket, Hazelbank and Water-Land. A pigeon house was a feature of the mansion outbuildings and coal, lime and free-stone was easy to come by. The estate had been enclosed with hedges and ditches in about 1764 (Glag. Journ. 1770). Pigot gives Alexander Kerr Esq. as resident at Robertland in 1837, having purchased it and Haysmuir Farm in around 1822. He was a native of Stewarton who had spent some years in America, he was one of the 'Tobacco Lords.' He was married to Diana Barr (born 31st January 1786 & died 9th June 1868, aged 65) and he lived from 22nd March 1775 to 5th May 1847, dying at the age of 73 and buried at the Laigh Kirk in Stewarton. Robertson records that in 1823 "the remarkably lofty house of six stories has lately been demolised". Sir William Cunninghame Fairlie is at this time designated as of 'Fairlie and Robertland'.
Robertland House was designed in 1820 by David Hamilton (see Dunlop House) for Alexander Kerr. In March 1914 the house was empty and awaiting a buyer. Two suffragettes broke in through a conservatory window and set the building alight. The Fire Brigade had much trouble obtaining water and the front was burnt out. The rear wing and outbuildings were saved and the front was rebuilt. The suffragettes left two postcards indicating that this was done as revenge for acts carried out against Mrs.Emmeline Pankhurst and to help force the church to act independently against the state on this issue of votes for women (Milligan). The footprints were followed through the snow towards Fulshaw where they had parked a car and made good their escape.
The Estate was sold in 1913, consisting of , with 71 acres as woodland and as moss, 26 farms were present, and shooting rights wer held for Glenouther Moor. Nether Robertland, Fulshaw, Clonherb, Broadmoss, Cauldhame, Braehead, Hairshaw, Lintbrae, Overhill, Burnfoot, Pokelly (East & West), Clunch (High & Low), Derclabboch and others were part of the Robertland Estate at the time of the sale. James Forrest of Mid Lambroughton was a noted botanist and he recorded the rare Adder's tongue Fern in the Swinzie Burn glen at Robertland in the 1920s.
In the Stewarton Laigh Kirk graveyard is an extraordinary tombstone memorial to Jane Watt, the spouse of Andrew Picken of Robertland, who died in 1857. The tombstone is horizontal, at least by and made of cast-iron.
In 1670 Sir Alexander Cunninghame had some of his horses seized for payment of a debt and brought to Irvine cross to be sold. Sir Alexander had complained to the Earl of Eglinton who was Bailie of Cunninghame without success, so he got together a party of twenty men, well mounted, with swords, pistols, and plate sleeves and went to Irvine to recover his property. Alexander Kennedy had threatened some of the crowd with his gun and was knocked off his horse by the townsfolk. John Reid, a towns officer emerged from the tolbooth with his halbert and attcked Kennedy, who died nine days later. Several shots were fired before Robertland's party rode off. John Reid was not punished for his actions.
In 1848 the Scottish Journal records that a number of years ago the foundation of a ruin of considerable extent was removed by the late proprietor. Mr. G. Howie, of Dunlop in 1856, stated that he remembered seeing a small portion of what was said to be one of the walls about 70 or 80 years ago. It was a sort of bank, quite crumbled down and overgrown with grass. Since then, the ruins of a building of considerable extent have been removed and the ground cultivated. On the southern side of the hill there are the remains of a wide ditch or fosse, locally known as the 'Cuckoo slide.' Paterson in 1866 states that the foundation of a ruin was removed some years ago by a late proprietor.
Pont states that the ancient strong Dunlop Castle situated by the Clerkland Burn was protected by a moat or fosse of water and had 'goodly' orchards. Smithrecords that the 'Airn Yett' of the old castle was still preserved and its details published. It was also called Hunt Hall because the Dunlops were huntsmen to the De Ross family (Paterson 1866). The whole estate was sometimes referred to as Hunt Hall. The De Ross family were vassal to the De Morvilles, Overlords of Cunninghame. The De Morvilles backed John Balliol's claim to the crown and forfeited their lands to the Boyds, later the lands were held by the Cassillis family.
The native chiefs, although displaced from Boarland Hill were not exiled, instead they established themselves at what is now Dunlop House. The name Boarland survives in the names of Borlandhill, Over Borland, North Borland and Low Borland. The name Boarland could refer to the presence of wild boar, however a 'Boor' also meant a serf and Norman lords often apportioned lands near their castles for their servants. The Borland or Bordland also meant the land that was specifically used to furnish food for a castle.
The first recorded Dunlop is William de Dunlop of 1260, followed by a supporter of Edward I, Neil Fitz-Robert de Dulap of 1306. His estates were forfeited due to his support for John Balliol, as were those of the De Rosses. The family regained there lands by the mid 15th. Century and by that time we have 'of that Ilk' replacing the Norman 'de'. Sir James Dunlop of that Ilk held the estate in 1596 and married Jean, daughter of Somerville of Cambusnethan, descended from Lord Somerville. This may go some way to explaining why the Somerville family came to purchase lands at Montgomery-Crivoch and Bollingshaw in the 1800s to establish the Kennox Estate. Francis Dunlop was a witness to the disposition of the Scottish Regalia in Edinburgh Castle after the Union of the Crowns. James Dunlop of 1634-1670 married Elizabeth, daughter of Cunninghame of Corsehill and was an outstanding leader of the covenanters. John Dunlop 1748-1784 married the daughter of Sir Thomas Wallace of Craigie. She was the patron of Burns already referred to. John Dunlop Esq. MP was resident at Dunlop House in 1837 and Pigot describes it as one of Ayrshires' handsomest mansions, with the Ogrestone or Thurgatstane lying within its estate boundaries. The house was designed in 1831-34 by David Hamilton for Sir James Dunlop of Dunlop. The house is an unusual Scottish-Jacobean style, but the gate lodge is more typical of Hamilton, with strap work, classical and manorial features (Milligan). The last Baronet was Major Sir James Dunlop of 1839-1858 who died unmarried.
The last of the Dunlop to be born at Dunlop were John (1904) and Alexander (1906) Houison Crawfurd. Mrs.Houison Crawfurd is remembered for producing the first tubercular-free cattle in Ayrshire. The house was let to a number of tenants, the Henderson family of the Anchor Line being the most notable. In 1933 the house was sold to Ayrshire County Council as a home for mentally defective children.
The Clerkland Burn rivulet runs past the mansion, dividing the parishes of Stewarton and Dunlop.
In the 1600s Dunloppe had two fairs a year for the sale of dairy stock, one on the second Friday of May; and the other called Hallowday, on the 12th. of November.
Dunlop cheese, a sweet milk cheese, was first made by Barbara Gilmour who went to Ireland to escape the covenanting prosecutions. Her stone cheese press was said to be preserved at 'The Hill' Farm in the 1860s, but the existing press is dated after her death. The cheese became World famous and created a cottage industry with cheese merchants from Kirktoun buying up the cheeses and taking them to Glasgow for sale. The cheese making used up excess fresh milk and the coming of the railways reduced the need for cheese manufacture. Dunlop cheeses are still made at Clerkland Farm.
Dunlop had a cricket club near Mains of Aiket beside the railway.
Tam Giffen was reputed to be a warlock from the Dunlop Parish and many anecdotes are told of his marvellous doings in the 1860s. Tam couldn't get over the flood swollen Lugton Waster so he just ....came through below it. On another occasion he was prevented from helping the Devil blow a man off the thatched roof he was repairing by the man uttering God save me and had to make do with blowing off the man's wig and bonnet; finally he once entered a blacksnith's house by flying down the chimney. Tam died in odd circumstances, supposedly being murdered by the fairies for giving away their secrets.
There has been a modern day military use of Dunlop Hill, for in the 20th-century, between the two World Wars, a Royal Observer Corps post was built into the west facing side of the hill. The personnel tracked enemy aircraft movement up the Clyde towards Glasgow. Development of more sophisticated radar tracking techniques after World War 2 made the facility redundant.
Braikenheuch Hill, meaning the 'Bracken Crag', about a mile and a half from Dunlop, is said to be the site of the death of one of the Cuninghames of Aiket, killed by a Montgomerie during the times of the feuds between these families. The area is now known as the 'Brechna Braes' and is situated at the 'Millennium Woodland' site near to the kirk.
Aiket Castle itself was originally a square tower typical of the residences of the lesser feudal norman barons, originally surrounded by a moat. The name is derived from 'Oak Wood'. The family were descended from the Cunninghames of Bedland, who were cadets of the family of Glencairn.
Alexander Cunninghame is the first recorded as living at Aiket. Three Aiket daughters were married to participants in the tale of the murder of the 4th Earl of Eglinton.'
This Lea or Law hill, high, in the Lugton area of Dunlop Parish is supposed to be a 'moot' or trial hill. The arrangement of stones on its summit does not appear to be accidental and a grass covered cairn is very noticeable. A farmer from East Halket (pronounced 'whoreket') removed one of these to facilitate his ploughing. One stone on the summit has a vertical hole drilled to the depth of four feet or so, presumably to be used for ‘slot’ for a flagpole or such-like. Near Aiket Castle is another Court Hill. Halket is called Hawkhead by Thomson on his map of 1832. Halket Loch, now drained, covered about ten acres and was drained in the 1840s. It is shown on the early maps of Ayrshire.
|The name 'Craignaught' is derived fron the Gaelic words 'Craig' (Rock) and 'Nochdta' (Naked), together literally mean 'Bare Rock' hill.|
Sir Thomas Boyd was surprised on the night of 9th. July, 1439, whilst riding past Craignaught on his way north and although outnumbered, he and his followers fought on, even taking agreed rest periods indicated by the sounding of a horn. The remaining Boyds placed themselves back to back, they closed up their ranks, and, forming a circle, they grimly set themselves to beat back the Stewarts or else die where they fought. Eventually and inevitably Sir Thomas Boyd was killed, whilst fighting Sir Alexander Stewart himself, stabbed in the back by a Stewart soldier, and a large number of his followers were also killed. The name is given as Sir Robert Boyd in at least one version of the tale.
The results of this encounter led to killings and counter killings which involved a great part of the West of Scotland. Boyd's wife had previously dreamed all of that which came to pass and died of grief within days of her husband death. The 1860 OS marks 'Boyd's Hill' and 'Boyd's slack' (Scots for a narrow pass) to the north of Craignaught on the old lane to Grange Farm, now named South Grange.
Boyd's Hill has been undamaged (2007) by the quarrying and domestic waste disposal operations at Craignaught and the Boyd's slack is also clearly identifiable.
|The name may be a corruption of 'Whaup Land'; a 'whaup' being Scots for a curlew.|
The Laird of Hapland was the ruling elder in the Parish of Dunlop in 1649 and was a captain in the Scots army when Cromwell was in Scotland, for which his lands were sequestrated. The last of the male line died when he fell off his horse when returning from Stewarton about 1765 or 1770. Lillias Porterfield married William Somerville of Kennox. Their youngest child, a daughter, married Colonel McAlester, Laird of Loup, in Kintyre. A descendent built Chapelton House near Stewarton. Hapland is near Dunlop. In 1820 the estate was of and the proprietor was Lieutenant-General Alexander Trotter. The old mansion house was demolished around 1876 as it was not in keeping with the modern age. A new steading was built at the site, possibly the 'Newhouse' marked on the OS maps. Some of the old tree wind-breaks and policies of the estate can still be made out. It seems likely that Temple-Ryburn had it's name changed to Hapland at around this time as the OS of 1858 shows Ryburn in the same position as later maps (1897, etc.) show Hapland.
The Thurgartstone is just outside of Dunlop on the Lugton Road in the valley of the Black Burn. It is in a sheltered spot, with ample running water and well hidden from immediate view. In the middle of a field near the Chapel Crags is the Thurgatstane or Ogrestane, also known as the Thorgatstane, Field Spirit Stane, T'Ogra Stane, Thugart Stane, Ogirtstane, Ogart stane, Horgar Stane, Fiend's Stane or Thougritstane. It is a glacial erratic stone, composed of blue augitic porphyrite and is quite unlike the 'native' stone of the district, weighing about 25 tons and measuring about twelve feet by eight feet as measured above ground. It is set near the site of the pre-reformation St.Mary's Chapel and has long been associated with pagan ritual practices.
Few places have so many different names attached to them. One explanation is that the stone is 'Thor's Great Stone', another is that is "Thou Great Stone" or just '"grit stane", whilst 'The Stone of the Ogre' may reflect some forgotten legend of how the stone came to be in this position. Some names may be spelling errors perpetuated by or from Ordnance Survey and other maps. Another explanation of the name is that it is derived from 'Tagairtstane,' meaning the priest's stone. This 'Druidical' stone may have been a 'rocking or logan' stone at one time, but it is now firmly set in the 'rubbish' and soil.
It is recorded that even as late as "the time of Popery" the devotees of that religion, in doing penance, used to crawl on their knees round this stone and cry, O thou grit stane from a belief that the Deity was in a peculiar manner present at that hallowed relic. Farmers from Brandleside Farm were bound to protect, by not removing it or ploughing within a set distance of the stone, possibly because of a tradition of pagan burials around this monument. Some recollections of May Day events being held at the site are current and the site is listed and protected by Historic Scotland. A fine view of Dunlop or Borland Hill, the site of Dunlop Castle once held by the De Ross family, can be seen from the stone.
The chapel can never have been very large and was abandoned at the time of the Reformation in Scotland led by the ex-Roman Catholic priest John Knox (1514 to 1572). The stones were robbed / mined by locals and the last remaining stones were taken away by a farmer in the 1830’s. It stood on a rock from which a beautiful stream of water gushed into a small rivulet, this originally being crossed by steps, called the Lady's steps before the Chapelhouse Bridge was built. A carved relic of the old chapel, supposed to have been the font for holy water, was for some years used a trough for the pigs until it was finally broken up and used as building material. The 1858 OS map locates the Lady's Steps near Hapland Mill on the Stewarton side of the town, crossing the Glazert. Patterson and Bayne, both local people writing in 1866 and 1935 respectively, place the steps at Chapel Crags. The first Statistical Account of Ayrshire also places the steps at Chapel Crags. It seems odd to name these steps after a chapel that is a significant distance away in another valley, so a cartographers error may explain the situation as recorded in the first OS Name Book. A field near the 'Druid Stone' is called Templecroft and the first Celtic ‘Culdee’ church may have been situated here, later replaced by the Roman Catholic Chapel. Ironically the pagan or Druidical stone is still there, but no sign of the Christian sites are visible, apart from the inconspicuous holy well in the field bordered by the burn.
The church was probably built in around 1766, however by 1834 it was dilapidated and demolition followed, resulting in the construction of the Dunlop parish church that we see today. Parts of the original building are in use as tomb stones. Barbara Gilmour, famous for introducing the production of Dunlop Cheese, is buried in the churchyard. Major McAlester of Kennox, then a heritor, obtained the 1792 bell and Miss McAlester and Mr.Charles G. S. McAlester returned it to the Kirk Session in 1935 to honour the centenary of the present church.
Hans Hamilton was the first Protestant vicar of the church. His son James was created Viscount Clandeboye and Baron Hamilton for his many services to James VI in establishing and maintaining Protestantism in Ireland. His five brothers also established estates in Ireland. A handsome mausoleum was constructed in 1641 over their graves by James and this was so ornately painted and gilded in the Roman Catholic manner that it attracted the sobriquet of 'The Picture House'. The flat tombstone of Hans Hamilton was originally on the floor, but this was later removed and placed on the south wall. It was much neglected and vandalised even in 1699, but in 1734 it was given some much needed repairs. Around 1849 Colonel Mure of Caldwell had further repairs carried out. The marble statues of Hans and his wife have now been removed to a place of safety for their protection (2005).
Viscount Clandeboye also built and invested a school, now known as Clandeboye Hall and used by the church for events. Carved above the door was the date 1641 with the statement This school is erected and endowed by Iames Clandeboyes, in love to this parish in which his father Hans Hamilton was pastor 45 years in King Iames the sixt his raigne. The carving was removed when the school was sold as a private dwelling.
The Rev William Gebbie was the last minister to come into the parish under the old system of patronage, in this case that of the Earl of Eglinton. William was a fervent evangelist and the 'Dunlop Revival' shook the whole parish until the reverend was charged with heresy in the early 1860s! He remained as minister until 1883.
Near 'Kirkhill' outside Stewarton are several Kilbrides. Bride, Brigit or St Brigid was originally a Celtic Goddess linked with the festival of Imbolc, the eve of the first of February. She was the goddess of Spring and was associated with healing and sacred wells, therefore the antithesis of the Carlin. Carlin's Tooth is the name of a rock outcrop in the borders between Knocks Knowe and Carter Fell. Three farms named 'Carlingcrags' are to be found above Darvel in East Ayshire.
A Carlin Stone is situated on Whitelee Moor near Craigends farm, below Cameron's Moss. The nearby Carlin burn eventually runs into the Hareshawmuir water.
When the stage coach passed through Lugton on its way to Glasgow in 1830s, the hamlet consisted of only four houses: the hotel or inn, the smithy, and two toll houses. The Lugton Inn was sadly destroyed by fire in the early 2000s. In around 1850 iron ore was found nearby and Messrs. Merry & Cunninghame, Ironmasters, built a row of houses for 200 people. A brickworks was later established to use up the blaes bing produced in the mining of the iron ore, but it closed in 1921. A lime works had existed near Lugton as far back as 1829: it is shown on Aitken's map of Cunninghame.
Robertson in 1820 refers to Macbeth-hill as being part of the Corsehill lands. Troilus Montgomery became Laird of MacBeth-hill or Magbie hill in Peeblesshire.
Timothy Pont in 1604 - 08 records that so thickly was the district about Stewarton and along the banks of the Irvine populated for a space of three or four miles (6 km) "that well travelled men in divers parts of Europe (affirm) that they have seen walled cities not so well or near planted with houses so near each other as they are here, wherethrough it is so populous that, at the ringing of a bell in the night for a few hours, there have seen convene 3000 able men, well-horsed and armed."
Above Kirkwood near Dunlop is a property called 'Ravenslie', not far from 'Ravenscraig' castle. In 1820 David Cunninghame was the proprietor at a rental of £39 13s. 4d. Ravens are still found in the district.
The 'Leddy o'Clumbeith' is a ghost story told by Dr. Duguid circa 1840 in the 1820s. A servant girl from the farm of Clonbeith was making her way to the Blair Tavern to keep a tryst when she fell into a mine shaft, horse and all, and was killed. Others say that her 'lad' killed her and then jumped into the shaft after her. Her ghost haunts the fields around Auchentiber.
A new gravitational water supply was opened for Dunlop in 1896, fed from a spring at Sidehead, the old water supply having been condemned.
In the 1600s Stuartoune had fairs on the first Thursday of January, the first Monday of May, and the last Wednesday of October. A weekly market on Thursdays is recorded as being not well attended.
In 1820 only six people were qualified to vote as freeholders in Stewarton Parish, being proprietors of Robertland (Hunter Blair), Kirkhill (Col.J.S.Barns), Kennox (McAlester), Lainshaw (Cunninghame), Lochridge (Stewart) and Corsehill (Montgomery Cunninghame). Dunlop had only two people qualified to vote by right as freeholders.
The Draffen Stone used to be located in a field near the house of the same name. Due to a housing development it has been moved to a site in front of Draffen House. It is not known whether this stone is merely a 'rubbing stone' for cattle or a menhir. It is not recorded by Historic Scotland.
Braehead House in Stewarton is a rare example of a 'Bank' from the times when private houses were used, rather than purpose-built premises. The windows of the strongroom still have their iron bars in place.
The 'Stewarton Sickness' refers to the powerful religious revival that started in 1625 and continued to involve Stewartonians in strong religious attitudes until comparatively recent times.
Lainshaw Mill, below the railway viaduct, was famous for the large Rowan Tree growing out of its chimney. The mill ceased grinding corn in the 1930s and was completely demolished in the second half of the 20th. Century after a disastrous fire, the fate of many an old mill. In the 1860 William Eaglesham was the miller, with his wife Helen Wilson. He died aged 70 and is buried in the Laigh Kirk graveyard. The Lainshaw viaduct was opened on August 3rd. 1868, but did not actually have track and trains running over it until March 1871. Colonel Mure of Caldwell, Caldwell performed the opening ceremony.
The Lairds of Corsehill were the Deacons Heritable of the Bonnet Court of Corsehill which regulated the activities of the Stewarton bonnet makers.
David Dale was a native of Stewarton, born in 1739, son to a grocer in the town. He started life as a cowherd and went on to fame and fortune. He was brought up in a two story thatched house at the 'cross' in Stewarton. Given the strong weaving community in the town it is ironic that he set up his factory at New Lanark, amongst other places. He was very generous to good causes, giving away up to £50,000.
The first Corsehill Queen is said to be King Malcolm III second wife, Queen Margaret, niece of Edward the Confessor of England. This Malcolm III, also known as Canmore, was also Lord of Corsehill. She was canonised and St.Margaret's Chapel is the oldest surviving building at Edinburgh Castle, Highlanders however called her the 'Accursed Margaret.'
One of the Lady Robertlands of Robertland Castle was a practical Christian, mingling with the poor of the district, distributing alms and tending the sick. Lady Elizabeth Montgomerie's ghost is said to haunt Lainshaw Castle, wandering the corridors wearing a green dress and carrying a candle. She was implicated in the plot that resulted in the murder of the Earl of Eglinton.
Dunlop Cattle are supposed to have originated here or within the parish, bred by Dunlop of that Ilk from improved stock from Holland in around 1550 to 1700 or later. The breed, also known as Cunninghame or Ayrshire cattle are pied, white and brown, short in leg, long in the horn, straight in the back: the bulls are fiery in temper and the cows are peculiarly placid and docile. They produce milk which is very high in butterfat.
The Gaelic, An t-sagairt, the priest (See Thurgatstane), gave rise to the Scottish Name Taggart. Sherpa Tenzing was wearing a Stewarton balaclava when he set foot on the top of Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary.
The 1779 Lainshaw estate map shows the Glebe meadows running down from the Laigh Church to the river and as far as the Old Stewarton Road at Kirkford.
In 1797 Magbie Hill above Stewarton has a field called 'Stone Field' which may record a standing stone now long destroyed or possibly moved as the nearby farm has two large boulders in front of it. Coal pits are marked in the vicinity of Magbie Hill, possibly explaining the name, as 'mag' was a term used for poor quality coal. The nearby 'Water Plantation' was known as 'Magbie-hill Plantation'.
Dunlop and Stewarton both stand on the old turnpike, completed from Glasgow by Lugton, to Kilmarnock, Irvine and Ayr in 1820 at the cost of £18,000.