The History of the Lands of Cunninghamhead, Perceton and Annick Lodge in Cunninghame
|A 'Bour Tree' is the Ayrshire name for the Common Elder tree, Sambucus nigra, often found in the older and more biodiverse local woodlands.|
The Hunter family papers as published by the Scottish Record Society include 16th - 17th century references to Bourtreehill in connection with a family of Lynns who were the Lords of Lynn in nearby Dalry, the location also of Lynn Glen and Lynn Falls. Another mention of the Lynns in Bourtreehill can be found in a 1608 testament. The record of Lynns of Bourtreehill is as follows: On 7 Nov 1522, Robert Hunter resigned lands of Highlees [Dundonald] to John Lyn of Boutrehill. On 2 May 1528, John Lyn of Bowrtrehill (Sic) witnessed an instrument in Glasgow concerning the Montgomeries. On 21 January 1548, John Lyn of that Ilk and Bowtrehill conveyed the lands of Highlees to Archibald Crawford as guardian for the heir of Hunterston. On 8 Feb 1568, Laurence Lin of Bourtrehill witnessed an instrument executed by John Lin of that Ilk, superior of Highlees. Lawrence Lyn in Bourtriehill was widowed in 1608, a testament being recorded on 17 Oct of that year for his wife, Bessie Wallace. In 1621 William, son of John Cuninghame of Cunninghamhead holds the property and by 1661 it is in the hands of Hugh, later Earl of Eglinton.
In 1685, and 1696 the barony belonged to Sir James Montgomerie of Skelmorlie, from whom it was purchased in 1748 by Peter Montgomerie, merchant in Glasgow whose son, James Montgomerie, sold it to Robert Hamilton of Rozelle, prior to 1748. Robert Hamilton of Rozelle was born 5 January 1698 and was the eldest son of Hugh Hamilton of Clongall, merchant in Ayr. He and his younger brother, John, ancestor of the Hamiltons of Sundrum, were long resident in Jamaica, where they possessed the estate of Pemberton valley, and acquired very considerable wealth. Robert died 4 June 1773, aged 75. He was succeeded by his eldest daughter, Jean, the Countess of Craufurd, who died 6 October 1809. Her sister, Dame Margaret Hamilton Cathcart, widow of Sir John Cathcart of Carelton, who died in 1785 then succeeded. She died in 1817 and the property devolved upon her nephew, Archibald William, Earl of Eglintoun through the marriage of Hugh, twelfth Earl of Eglinton to his cousin Eleonora, youngest daughter of Robert Hamilton.
Alexander Guthrie of Mount in Kilmarnock purchased Bourtreehill in 1847 and it passed to his daughter, Christina in 1852 (Dobie 1876). Christina married the Hon. D.A.F.Browne, who became Lord Oranmore and Browne in the Peerage of Ireland. Nothing now remains of Bourtreehill House, however remains of outbuildings are still visible. In 1776, plate 45 of G. Taylor and A. Skinner's 'Survey and maps of the roads of North Britain or Scotland' shows Bourtreehill and gives the Countess of Crawfurd as proprietor. This was a valuable Barony, lying partly in the Parish of Irvine and partly in Dreghorn.
In the 18th century, the Earl of Crawford, whose house in Kilbirnie burned to the ground, rescued his wife and daughter and took residence in Bourtreehill House. The building was demolished in the 1960s. The woodland policies with many specimen trees and a good quailty ground flora are still of significance today (2007).
Above the station in 1860 was a cottage, called Standalane, lying on the left hand side of the old road to Springside, which is now closed, as a new road has been made closer to Irvine for traffic safety reasons. Standalane's position in 1897 is shown as being almost on the mineral line; The OS maps after this date do not show it at all. The name 'Standalane' is quite common and was applied to dwellings which lay just outside and thus separated and 'standing alone' from villages or small towns, in this case Crossroads. In 1776, plate 45 of G. Taylor and A. Skinner's 'Survey and maps of the roads of North Britain or Scotland' shows 'Standalone' marked.
The old sandstone parapet of the bridge overlooking the site of Cunninghamhead railway station has many niave carvings on it, made over the years by local children and pupils from the local village school as they waited and watched the old steam and diesel trains going by.
This farm is shown on Pont's / Blaeu's 1654 map and it is close to the River Annick (previously Annock or Annack Water) in the area once known as Strathannick. The name may refer to the appearance of the long strips of land which were typical of the 'rig and furrow' ploughing system. Langlands Farm overlooks the confluence of the Annick and the Glazert at Water Meetings; two high-arched bridges provide the road crossing. Langlands was owned at one time by the Sword family who ran the Western SMT Bus Company in the mid 1900s. They had a large collection of Hackney horses with an exercise track and other facilities at Langlands (Smith 2006). A rare example of a pear tree grows near the farm. The invasive weed the Japanese Knotweed is taking hold in the hedgerows in these parts (2006).
|The word Scroag or Scrog in Scots means a gnarled or stunted tree or tree stump. Specifically it can mean a Crab Apple tree or Scrog-Apple as they were known.|
In 1832 Thomson's map shows a ford and a lane running down from Ramstane, which can still be made out and the natural bedrock dyke of the river bed here made this an obvious site for a ford. The 1860 OS shows a lade running across the 'peninsula' of land made by the 'U' bend, with a dam across the river below Langlands farm forming a mill pond. At this date the mill is known only as Fairliecrevoch, being a clothmill with a track running down to it from Barnahill and a footbridge across the river from Ramstane.
Steven states that the representative of the family of Ross now the Earl of Glasgow, has inter alia the title of Lord Boyle of Stewarton, and at this date, January 1842, has now only about twelve acres in the parish, formerly called Crivochmill, but now commonly called Scrogmill where was till late, a meal - mill, now converted to a wool - spinning mill.
The 1923 OS marks the site and the ford, but does not name it as a mill and the 1963 OS indicates a single building at the end of a rough track which would originally have been the miller's dwelling. Very little remains today (2006) other than the vague line of the lade, the ruins of the miller's house, the foundations of the mill and the lade water outlet area beside the river. The name change may have occurred as the mill at Fairlie-Crevoch by Kennox had been abandoned and could now be used here next to the farm of that name. Scroaggy is a name still used for this area by local farmers (Hastings 2006).
A very substantial metal bridge with concrete abutments crosses the Annick nearby. It is now without its wooden decking and was presumably built by the Sword's when they owned both Barnahill and Langlands farms. The map rather improbably shows the track from this bridge running up to join the mainroad near the point where the lane runs down towards Aultonhead and Aulton Farms. The track can still be seen below the hedge with a gradient that would be too great for most vehicles and a dangerous proximity to the river. The exit to the road was at a dangerous bend and this route must have been abandoned after only a relatively short period of use.
This 'Butt and Ben' is an old site, first recorded in 1775. The name can probably be translated literally as no obvious alternative seems to exist in old Scot's. Thomson's map records it as Ramston in 1832. A lane, still visible, ran down to the River Annick here, the line it took being still clearly visible. A dyke here formed a suitable site for a ford and stepping stones, which are likewise still discernible. The lane from the ford ran up to Barnahill and to old Scroaggy or Failliecrevoch Mill, whilst another lane didn't cross over and instead followed the river and came out at what is now Cunninghamhead. A favourite swimming pool, called 'Toad Hole' is found near here (Hastings 2006). The house was destroyed by fire in the 1990s but was rebuilt on the same site. James Speirs and his spouse Mary Caldwell (possibly Galdwell) farmed 'Ramstone' in the early 19th. century. James died aged 80 in 1831 and Mary died Mary aged 87 in 1841. They are buried with some of their desecendents in the Kilmaurs-Glencairn church cemetery.
East Balgray had been another of the Sword family farm and it was also used to house the John C. Sword collection of 160 Scottish motorcars as well as horse drawn carriages and motorbikes (An Illust. Descript. Cat. Vet. & Vint. Motor Cars). It had been hoped to open 'The Museum of the Sword Collection of Transport' at East Balgray using John C. Sword the collection, however the level of estate Death Duties made this impossible to achieve (Neill 2006). An auction had already taken place to sell off duplicate or unrepresentative vehicles and eventually the whole collection was sold off and dispersed
|Girgenti was a town in Sicily 'named' for the famous ancient Greek ruins of Agrigentum. The name of the town has been changed to Agrigento.|
William Broom, an Ironmaster in Glasgow was the owner in Dobie's time (1876) and then the estate was purchased by a Glasgow businessman for private use then sold, in 1900, to Glasgow Corporation as a reformatory for females. After less than 10 years as such, it was sold again and transformed into a privately owned training centre for homeless boys between the ages of 14 and 20. It was next sold to The Scottish Labour Colony Association who continued its use as a training centre. In 1918 it changed hands yet again and this time it returned to farm use. The owner was now a Mr Muir who was the great-grandson of Mr Thomas Reid of Stacklawhill who had owned the estate in 1827. The farm was next sold in 1932 to a Mr Sword who took considerable interest in the outbuildings, had the tower restored and the clock repaired. The house itself was demolishe din the 1940s. A Mr and Mrs Smith owned and worked the farm from around 1960.
The road running up from Irvine to Cunninghamehead and on to Stewarton was made into a turnpike by the 'Ayr Roads Act of 1767' (McClure 1994) and the opportunity was taken to move its route to make the road as convenient as possible for travellers. The date of construction is unclear as the 1775 map doesn't show a new route. Toll house were at intervals and one was on the right as the road joins with the Stewarton to Kilmaurs road opposite the site of the old Lainshaw Mill and the other toll house. Cunninghamhead Toll house was at the corner where the road runs down to the mill (1860 OS).
In 1782 Neil Snodgrass of Cunninghamhead petitioned the road meeting at Stewarton for compensation. In adjusting the line of a road, a piece of his improved land had been taken; he had been given in return the land occupied by the old line. His loss amounted to the money he had expended on improving the land given up to the new road. Many of the local dignatories were present, including The Earl of Loudoun, John Dunlop of Dunlop, Sir Walter Montgomerie of Corsehill, Major Alexander Dunlop of Aiket, etc. His case was carefully researched and he was awarded compensation of £40 5s. 9 3/4d. with interest, as well as a further 50 shillings as the Fee and Wages for a herd for his cattle for five months during which his grounds were laid open by the alteration of the road (McClure 2002).
The name 'Turnpike' originated from the original 'gate' used being just a simple wooden bar attached at one end to a hinge on the supporting post. The hinge allowed it to 'open' or 'turn' This bar looked like the 'pike' used as a weapon in the army at that time and therefore we get 'turnpike'. The term was also used by the military for barriers set up on roads specifically to prevent the passage of horses. Other than providing better roads, the turnpikes settled the confusion of the different lengths given to miles (Thompson 1999), which varied from 4,854 to nearly . Long miles, short miles, Scotch or Scot's miles (5,928 ft), Irish miles (6,720 ft), etc. all existed. 5280 seems to have been an average! Another important point is that when these new toll roads were constructed the Turnpike Trusts went to a great deal of trouble to improve the route of the new road and these changes could be quite considerable. The tolls on roads were abolished in 1878 to be replaced by a road assessment, which was taken over by the County Council in 1889.
Red sandstone milestones were positioned every mile. Only one survives in the hedge opposite the entrance to the upper Law Mount field, indicating Stewarton and Irvine 6 3/4 miles, another was positioned opposite the entrance to Mid Lambroughton farm and as with the others the only remaining clue is a 'kink' in the hedgerow as seen near Langlands Farm. The milestones were buried during the Second World War so as not to provide assistance to invading troops, German spies, etc. (Wilson 2006). This seems to have happened all over Scotland, however Fife was more fortunate than Ayrshire, for the stones were taken into storage and put back in place after the war had finished (Stephen 1967-68).
The Minutes of the Turnpike Trust of 27 may 1780 state that the road from Stewarton westwards to Crevoch (Crivoch, two miles to the west of Stewarton on the minor road running past Lainshaw towards Crossgates - Crivoch was on the road running south from Kennox), had for more than 13 years been totally neglected, not one penny of Statute Money or repair of any kind have been expended. In the Winter Season and during wet weather the road was impassible, even for travelling on horseback, nor could carriages of any kind pass along it.
Only a Newton farm is marked on the 1775 map and a by 1860 a Newtonend Farm is shown just beside the railway, but it is no longer marked by 1897.
|The name 'Paddocklaw' was originally 'Puddocklaw', which is Toad Hill or Burial Mound in Scot's.|
Overton, previously Overtoun or Evertoun (1775)) is surprisingly not on the 1821 map, however it is shown on Thomson's map of 1820. The 1895 OS shows the main line railway and a mineral or freight line branching off near Cunninghamhead railway station and running close to Overton with a branch running parallel to the road to Southhook just in front of the shelterbelt plantation. These lines are gone by 1912 and only some low embankments remain today. In 1860 a miners row, coal pit, school and fireclay works were all located near the point where the Capringstone Burn passes under the road at what is now the Meadow Wood Community Woodland site. Overton Row is marked on the 1912 OS, but by 1928 only the school building remained, only the foundation being visible today (2007). William McKerrell and his aunt Janet are two names that can be linked with the settlement, having been born there. A colliery near Southhook and a brickworks and a coal pit are shown at Springside on the 1912 OS. The road down to Overton seems to have had a small Belvedere of trees in 1832.
The Barony of Kilmaurs was composed of the lands of Buston (now Buiston), Fleuris (now Floors), Lambroughton, whyrrig (now Wheatrig), and Southhook (otherwise Southwick, Southook, Southuck, Southeuk, Seurnhouck, Seurnbenck or Hooks (1775)) and therefore this area was associated with the Lands of Lambroughton. On Thomson's 1820 map an East and a West Southhook are shown, but only on Ainslie's map. A Little Southhook is shown on the 1960 OS. A brickworks with this name used to exist in the area, using local clay and coal.
James Hunter farmed here in the 1840s with his wife Margaret Young. He died in 1844 and was buried in Dreghorn Parish churchyard. Their son died when his ship, taking him from Quebec to Dundee, sank with all hands.
Greenwood near Irvine was still known as Templeland Farm and plantation in the 1860s, the name Greenwood being restricted to a small cottage. A secondary school and Teachers' Resource Centre are now present at the site. On the opposite bank of the Annick from Annick Lodge is the Friersmill Holm. The Reid Friers were the Red Friars, better known as the Knights Templar. In 1820 Robertson gives Colonel Hamilton as the proprietor of Temple Lands with a rental value of £6 13s. 4d.
The mill in this vicinity would have belonged to the order before their dissolution and the proximity of Templeland makes this doubly likely. In 1312 the Knight's Templar order, who's Scottish headquarters had been at Torphichen, was disbanded (Barber 1996) and its lands given to the Knight's of St.John (Dobie 1876). Lord Torphichen as preceptor obtained the temple-land tenements and the lands then passed through the hands of Montgomerie of Hessilhead and Wallace of Cairnhill (now Carnell) in 1720, before passing into unrestricted ownership.
The term "rebus" refers to the use of a pictogram to represent a syllabic sound. One example is that of a seal with a barrel (or tun) engraved on it, the barrel transfixed with an arrow. This becomes 'A Tun Pierced' or Piercetun, Piercetoun, Pearston or Perceton. The origins of the name Perceton is unclear and the use of rebuses was so popular at one time that the name may have some obscure link with this fashion for pictoral puns (Roberts 2006).
John Boyd Dunlop, the inventor of the pneumatic tyre was born in a farm at Dreghorn.
To prevent the Covenanters holding 'Conventicles', King Charles II moved highland troops, the 'Highland Host' into the westland of Ayrshire. "They took free quarters; they robbed people on the high road; they knocked down and wounded those who complained; they stole, and wantonly destroyed, cattle; they subjected people to the torture of fire to discover to them where their money was hidden; they threatened to burn down houses if their demands were not at once complied with; besides free quarters they demanded money every day; they compelled even poor families to buy brandy and tobacco for them; they cut and wounded people from sheer devilment." The cost of all this amounted to £1,505 17s 0d in Dreghorn & Pearceton (Sic) parish alone.
Lawthorn Wood is a Scottish Wildlife Trust Nature reserve and from the old maps it seems to have been part of a swathe of woodland which ran on either side of the road to Glasgow in the heyday of the Eglinton Estate.
In 1820 Dreghorn Parish had only five people qualified to vote, these being the proprietors of Cunninghamhead, Annock Lodge, Langlands (2) and Warwickhill!
On one of the hills at Hessilhead, previously Hazlehead (1820), there was a druidical rocking stone which due to people digging beneath it, has ceased to rock! (Robertson 1820).
Aiton in 1811 mentions "a curious notion that has long prevailed in the County of Ayr, and elsewhere, that the wool of sheep was pernicious to the growth of thorns".
A large and well preserved prehistoric cairn is present at Lawthorn (Smith 1895). Its name is suggestive of a court hill or burial mound. It is 21 paces in diameter at the base, in diameter at the top and high. It is largely composed of boulders and a large one made of graywacke, long, is partly buried on the top edge facing south (Smith 1895).
A dwelling with the unusual name of Little Sea is indicated as lying between Ruddinghill (now Roddinghill) Farm and Fairleycrivoch (now Fairliecrevoch) Farm on the Thomson 1832 map. It is not shown on the 1860 or subsequent OS maps.
A dwelling named Dambuck or Damback lay close to the railway embankment near West Balgray (just Balgary in 1832), it is last named on the 1860 map, but the site is still shown on the 1921 OS. Limekilns are a feature of some farms in the area, indicated in 1860 at Fairliecrevoch and Barnahill.
Frederick the Great of Prussia visited Irvine and made a trip to Perceton before returning to Potsdam.
Limekilns seem to have come into regular use about the 18th century. Large limestone blocks were used for building but the smaller pieces were burnt, using coal dug in the parish (Topog Dict Scot) to produce lime which was a useful commodity in various ways: it could be spread on the fields to reduce acidity, for lime-mortar in buildings or for lime-washing on farm buildings. It was regarded as cleansing agent.
John Hasting's of West Lambroughton in 1995 recalled when the road was tarmaced as this made walking to the school awkward in hot weather as the tar melted and stuck to the soles of his feet. In those days, the 1900s, children in particular still did not wear shoes, except for church on Sundays.
The Wallace family were blacksmiths for several generations, living and working at Crossroads in the 19th century. They are buried at the Dreghorn parish churchyard.
Potatoes were first heard of in Scotland in 1701 when the Duchess of Buccleuch recorded in her household book the purchase of a peck at 2/6d. They were served occasionally at the Earl of Eglinton's table in 1733 (Gauldie 1981).