The name Chapelton is relatively recent as Pont's Map of 1604 does not show such a place name; however, he does show a Templeton in approximately the right place between the Annick Water and the river Glazert. Other Knights Templar temple-lands were to be found at the Templehouse and Fortalice in the old village of Darlington near Stewarton, Templehouse near Dunlop, at Templetounburn on the outskirts of Crookedholm and at several other places in the area, such as Temple-Ryburn and Temple-Hapland.
In 1312 the Knights Templar order, whose Scottish headquarters had been at Torphichen, was disbanded and its lands given to the Knights of St. John who today run the St John Ambulance amongst other activities. Lord Torphichen as preceptor obtained the temple-land tenements and the lands passed through the hands of Montgomerie of Hessilhead to Wallace of Cairnhill (now Carnell) in 1720, before passing out of the hands of the aristocracy. A tenement is a grant of land which has a building on it and is held in tenure by the tenant
The farms in the area used the Chapelton name in 1829 (Aitken) and Armstrong's 1775 map shows and names a Chapel. The name change from Templetoun to Chapelton may have resulted from the end of the official existence of the temple-lands sometime after 1720 or as a result of the breaking up of the ownership of these lands at around this date or possibly slightly earlier. Thus the name Templeton was in use in 1604 in 1654., but not by 1775 The will of Katherine Muir / Mure, dated 1665, relict of William Hepburn of Chapeltoun in the Parish Of Stewarton, implies a change of name at an earlier date. This Chapeltoun may be the modern day Chapeltoun Mains.
Paterson (1866) states that on the lands of Langshaw (now Lainshaw) there was a chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and that it had an appropriate endowment. After the reformation the endowment was appropriated by the patron and the chapel allowed to fall into ruins. Temple-lands did not pay teins to maintain the local church and they were therefore a highly prized and lucrative asset.
In 1616 the patronage of the chapel and the lands of Peacock Bank were in the hands of Sir Neil Montgomerie of Lainshaw as granted 'clare constat' by the Earl of Eglinton, but by 1661 the patronage was once again held directly by the Earl of Eglinton as indicated below. The site of the chapel was called Chapelton in the 17th. century and Chapel by 1874. The same information is given by Paterson in 1866, Groome in 1885 and Barclay.
|The name Chapeltoun derives from 'Chapel & Toun'', indicating that a small settlement existed around the church in much the same way as many 'Kirktons' exist as at Kilmaurs-Glencairn kirk.|
It is relevant here to note that Dobie lists three families with the name Tempiltoun in the Kilmaurs valuation role of 1640 whilst no other Cunninghame parishes have this name listed. One of the oldest graves in Kilmaurs-Glencairn churchyard, dating from the 17th. century, is that of a Tempiltoun. The family Bible of the Templetons is held by the Forrests of Byres Farm, who are direct descendants.
The Topographical Dictionary of Scotland in 1846 states that "About a mile from the town (Stewarton), on the farm of Chapelton (now Chapeltoun Mains), were recently dug up the foundations of an ancient chapel, of which however, no authentic records have been preserved."
In January 1678 Robert Cunynghame, druggist / apothecary / surgeon in Edinburgh, is stated to be the heir to Anne, daughter of Sir Robert Cunynghame of Auchenharvie. She was his cousin German and part of the inheritance was 10 merk land of Fairlie-Crivoch, with the chapel lands and glebe of Fairlie-Crivoch. No other chapel is in the locality, so this most probably refers to the Chapel at Chapelton. He also owned much of the lands of Lambroughton. Crivoch was a barony and the lands had been split into Lindsay-Crevoch and Montgomerie-Crevoch. Fairlie Crevoch is probably the property close to the old Crivoch Mill at Kennox.
The chapel can never have been very large and was abandoned at the time of the Protestant reformation in Scotland led by the ex-Roman Catholic priest John Knox (1514 to 1572). Interestingly is not marked as a ruin on the 1775 Armstrong map, but as a small mansion house, implying that a Chapel House existed somewhere in the vicinity, in addition to the 1775 Laigh (possibly later named Chapelton). It has been stated that this site was just called 'chapel' at this time and this is the name given on Armstrong's map.
No evidence for the site of the priest's dwelling exists, however the site of the old Templeton/Chapelton House suggest itself. If the Laigh marked on the 1775 map refers to Laigh Chapelton then the antiquity of the site is further enhanced as it is the only other named site in the vicinity of the chapel.
The history of the monastic settlement and the chapel of Saint Mary at the Chapel Crags beside the Thugart stane/T'Ogra Stane/Thurgatstane/Thorgatstane/Field Spirit Stane/Ogrestane near Dunlop is a parallel example to the Chapel on the Chapel Hill. The pagan stone is still exists, long, broad and high, but no evidence of the Christian sites is visible, apart from the inconspicuous Holy Well in the field bordered by the burn. Bayne states that the stone may have been a Rocking or 'logan stone' at one time and it is recorded that the farmer was not permitted to plough within a set distance of the stone, presumably because of a tradition of pagan burials around this monument, which is a 'glacial erratic' in origin. It was still worshiped up until "the times of popery" according to McIntosh.
The topography of the area is typical of the sort of site chosen for early ecclesiastical establishments and the building of chapels or churches on pagan sites is a classic example of the way that Christianity supplanted pagan beliefs and practices. Both these religious sites are also in sheltered valleys, with ample running water and they are hidden from view.
As stated the 1775 Armstrong map of Ayrshire clearly shows a 'Chapel' marked, so it was known to exist at this time, however the remains would have been mined/removed over the years by local farmers and used for building work, etc. The remains of the chapel would have been hard to locate by the early 18th. century. Arrowsmith's 1807 map shows Chapel marked near Linshaw (Lainshaw) and no Laigh mentioned, whilst Ainslie's 1821 map shows a Chapel and a Laigh. It is likely that the term Chapel on most maps could be referring to a dwelling or farm and not the Chapel on the mound.
The 1856 ‘Name Book’ of the OS states that part of the house of Chapelton (NS 395 441) is believed to have been a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Though parts of the building are of great age, it is not certain that this was the chapel; it may have been the residence of the chaplain, while the chapel stood near Chapel Hill. This Chapel Hill is a circular artificial hill. About 1850, Mr. J McAlister raised it to its present height by taking the earth etc. that had slid from its sides, and putting it on the top. While doing this, a quantity of human bones was found near the base on the S and E sides, and also some stones which from their appearance Mr. McAlister thought had been exposed to fire, suggesting that the old chapel was destroyed by fire. Mr. R Miller, a former proprietor, stated that when the present road past Chapel Hill was being made, a quantity of bones was found, giving the idea that there had been a burial ground here..
Smith, the well known antiquarian, in 1895 describes the mound as being 22 paces in diameter, high on the low side and high on the high side. He states that it is well cared for and that a flight of steps, not clearly visible today, ran up from its base to the top. However significantly he makes no reference to any remains of the chapel itself. The 1897 25" to the mile OS shows a path at the Chapelhill House side of the mound and a possibly a curving path or steps up. Smith also states that the mound was repaired some fifty years before, which fits in with the approximate dates for the likely construction of the Chapelton (old) house, by or for James McAlister who is given as the owner of Chapelton at around this time, and it is stated in 1874 that the chapel ruins were found some 40 years before, i.e. around 1834. The 1846 record states that they had been found recently however (Topo Dict Scot).
In 1842 it is recorded that "Near the farm house of Low Chapelton, above a mile below Stewarton, on the right bank of the Annock, there appears to have once been a chapel, the ruins of which were lately dug up, when the proprietor was engaged in planting trees. There are now no records remaining of the place of worship."
A visit by the OS in August 1982 stated that “It is difficult to make any accurate assessment of this feature. It has obviously been altered and landscaped beyond any recognition of its original form, and in its present state has an ornamental appearance. Situated on the edge of a natural N-S scarp line at approximately 60 m, it is possible that this was at one time just a slightly raised promontory, but as such, it is almost certainly not a motte and would be more typical of a homestead position in this region.”
The name 'Jockey's Cap' originates from the days when the annual 'Stewarton Bonnet Guild Festival' included horse racing - like the 'Irvine Marymass' Celebrations still do. The mound was the perfect site for viewing the 'racecourse' set out on the field below 'Chapeltoun Mains'. The shape of the mound is reminiscent of a jockey's cap.
Charles S. McAlister and Janet had four children. They bequeathed the part of the Barony of Bollingshaw named Chapelton to their younger son James, who never married and died in 1857.
No date is given for when James Somerville obtained Chapelton, however we know from Dobie that James McAlister, nephew of the aforementioned James, was the owner in 1874. This James McAlister, the nephew of James Somerville, also never married. Chapelton had been re-acquired into the Bollingshaw Barony for him by his Father, Charles McAlister.
The formal name change from Templeton to Chapelton did not occur as a result of the rediscovery of the St. Mary's Chapel ruins by the new landowner, James McAlister, for it had clearly never been truly lost as such. However the discovery may help provide an approximate date for the reconstruction / extension of the house at Laigh Chapelton. Paterson says in 1866 that the chapel discovery was some years before, evidence from Dobie gives us the date of 1836 and Smith's evidence gives the date of 1845. Aitken shows only a Laigh Chapelton Farm in 1829 and all this suggests that the 'old' Chapelton House and estate were developed in around 1830 to 1850. The early to mid 1800s is a time during which many country houses were built, modernised or extended and OS maps show the increasing importance of the Laigh Chapelton estate around this time, with the development of formal gardens (from the 1858 OS), new driveways, etc.
Chapeltoun (Chapleton, Chappleton, Chapeltown, etc.) Mains farm changes its name from simple Chapelton, which Laigh Chapelton now adopts as the site of the new mansion house, sometime between 1829 and 1858. This suggests that at this time Chapelton Mains was the home farm prior to the building of what is now Chapelhill House in around 1911, as judged from the OS maps. A small building appears near the site of Chapelburn Cottage from 1858. The area around the front of the farm is referred to as 'Black Sawneys Park'; 'Sawney' being an English term for 'Alexander'. At one time it effectively meant a 'Scotsman', as with the use of the name 'Jock'.
A small property set in of the 5 Merk lands of Chapelton, named Wattshode or Wattshod is mentioned as far back as 1723 in the Chapeltoun Mains legal papers. Armstrong records a 'Wetshode' in 1775. In 1598 the word 'Wattshode' was some sort of fabric, frequently described as blue. It could be the personal name 'Watt', however 'hode or hode' doesn't appear in the dictionary. A shelter belt beside the track up to Bogflat and signs of nettle growth restricted to the possible site of a building suggests that Wattshode stood in this four acre field behind Cankerton (previously Cantkertonhole). General Roy's map of 1747 - 55 marks only Watshode and Chapletoun by name.
A farm originally called Chapelton Moss Head by Thomson in 1828 or Mosshead of Chapelton, is later called just Mosshead and was situated in the fields of Bottoms Farm with its entrance just after the bridge over the Chapel Burn. All traces of it above ground have vanished, whilst Bogside cottage is still represented by building debris at the edge of the field near the entrance to the Bogflat Farm, which has itself been lovingly rebuilt in the last few years (circa 2004). Stewarton Old Parish Records show Hugh Parker and his spouse Susanna Wardrop living at Bogflat in 1809 when their daughter Annabella was born. The Parkers were still in residence at the time of the 1841 census. Neighbours Susanna Wardrop Parker of Bogflat Farm and Agnes Wardrop Watt in Parkside Farm were sisters. Bogside had a rental value of £10 in 1820 and the proprietor was Robert Stevenson. John Earl and Isobel his spouse were residing at Bogside in 1827. In 1881 an Alexander Muir, aged 38, a general merchant lived at Bogflat with his wife Margaret and sons David and John. A building named Bog is marked on Armstrong's 1775 map and this was most likely Bogflat for we know from a Marriage stone from Bogflat, now in the Stewarton Museum, that a dwelling was there in 1711 with a 'JR' recorded and the other initials unfortunately cut off
Windwaird is the name given by Aitken in 1829 to a house on the Torranyard to Stewarton road, not far from the fairly recently created entrance for pedestrians to Lainshaw House that runs through the Anderson Plantation (a name marked on the maps but not generally known to the local farmers). This building is called Parkside on the OS maps, first shown on the 1832 map, it is marked on the 1960, but not the 1974 OS. Stewarton Old Parish Records show Alexander Watt and his wife Agnes (Wardrop) in Parkside when their daughter Mary was born in May 1809. In 1809, neighbours Susanna Wardrop Parker in Bogflat Farm and Agnes Wardrop Watt in Parkside Farm were sisters. The last family to live here were the Muir's, relatives of the Muir's of Gillmill (also Gillmiln) Farm. Interestingly in 1616 the "lands of the Waird, etc." were conveyed to David Cunninghame of Robertland by William, Lord Kilmaurs (McNaught 1912), but any connection with this site is unproven. A waird is a feudal land tenure right conferred through military service obligations of tenants (see Definitions and Scot's words). Wardpark near Lochridge is spelt Wairdpark in Pont's map of 1604. Cankerton is rarely indicated by name and was the home of James Orr, farmer who died in 1859 aged 43. His wife Mary Brown had died in 1845 aged just 25. Another John Orr farmed here with his spouse Janet Wilson. He died on the 21st January 1847, aged 68 and she died on the 16th October 1889, aged 79, having moved into High Chapeltoun to live with her brothers. Husband & spouse were buried at the Laigh Kirk, Stewarton. Cankerton, originally Cankertonhole, was also found locally as a surname, but the etymology is unclear, a 'canker' usually meaning a 'blight / fungal disease' of trees or cereals.
High Chapelton is first marked on the 1829 and the 1858 maps, together with a limekiln and a ford over the Annick. An old track is seen running from the farm to the field containing the 'grain barn' near Laigh Castleton; ploughing in this field has not turned up any stones, building or otherwise therefore suggesting a building constructed from wood. James Wilson and his spouse Mary Steven farmed at High Chapeltoun in 1760, when she died, aged 56. They were buried at the Laigh Kirk in Stewarton. Mary Reid of High Chapelton and Stacklawhill was born here on 20 January 1827, daughter of Thomas Reid of Stacklawhill. His wife was Mary Wilson of High Chapelton. The memorial stone is in the Stewarton cemetery. The rental value in around 1820 was £137.
The 1858 OS shows two buildings on the site, very close to each other but not physically connected. One building probably being the old Laigh Chapelton Farm and the other, on the right, being the residence built for James McAlister. The photograph (Davis 1991) seems to be of the side of the house facing onto the road and the Chapel Hill. The 1851 OS shows formal gardens with a boundary wall, paths and a
central feature, possibly a pond. The 1897 OS shows one large building with wings and extensions which appear to be porches and possibly a conservatory. By this date the formal gardens are absent, as in the 1911 OS. The ha-ha (see section is not shown in the large scale map of 1897 OS, but appears to be present in the 1858 and the 1911 editions. No footbridge can be made out, however the OS maps have a number of errors and omissions, especially the exact outlines of buildings which are often only 'approximations'. Between 1858 and 1897 a main driveway has been constructed into the grounds from nearly opposite the Chapel Hill and a formal path with steps leads from the position of today's main entrance down to Chapelton House.
The gate to the field below the mound has three sandstone gateposts laid horizontally, two of them are exceptionally large and could be the ornamented gateposts from the old entrance and driveway to Chapelton (old) House. The actual drive is now represented by the curling pond behind the walled up entrance and the OS maps show an entrance here until at least 1911. Chapeltoun Mains has only one gatepost and both High Chapeltoun and Chapelhill house have none. These changes probably reflect the requirement to have access for large modern farm machinery. The gateposts are machine cut sandstone and the same design is found elsewhere, such as at the Kennox lodge, Cankerton and opposite Peacockbank Farm (previously Pearce Bank) near Stewarton, near the original entrance road to Lochridge. In 1775 Armstrong's map shows the road going no further than Lochridge (formerly Lochrig). A wind-pump is shown situated above Chapeltoun House on the 1923 OS map.
During demolition it was noted that the stonework in the lower story of Chapelton (old) House was noticeably older than the upper story as would be expected if Laigh Chapelton had developed into Chapelton when it acquired an owner with greater financial means, Mr. James McAlister (or MacAlester), who added first a new 'mansion house', later an upper story to the old farm, developed the ornamental gardens and probably built the bridge over the river with the associated 'ha-ha' (see the section on the estate gardens and landscape).
Michael Davis records that Hugh Neilson, the owner of 'Summerlee Iron Company' had the present mansion house designed in 1908 by Alexander Cullen, an architect from Hamilton. The family moved into the house in 1910, however The gate-lodge was not built until around 1918, having been designed by Cullen, Lochhead and Brown. R.W.Schultz had proposed a terraced garden in 1911, but it is not known to what extent the existing terraces reflect this design. The pillars at the base of the main flight of steps incorporate old ornamental worked sandstone, presumably from the Chapelton (old) House. A separate conservatory building existed in front of the house at one time according to the OS map. The name 'Chapletoun', with the extra letter 'u' was presumably adopted for the new mansion house.
Hugh Neilson was a keen player of the bagpipes and the music could be heard at many of the surrounding farms, drifting up from the estate gardens. He was also very fond of curling and as soon as the weather was cold enough he would invite all the locals down for a match and a dram at his curling pond (Hastings 1995). It is believed to have been restored when the house was a hotel, using concrete and tarmac.
The Chapeltoun Estate was never very large, incorporating Chapeltoun Mains, High Chapeltoun, the home farm (now Chapelhill House), Chapelburn Cottage, Mosshead of Chapelton Farm, Bogside cottage and Bogflat. Cankerton (Cankertonhole) and Bloomridge (Bloomrig) were part of the Kennox Estate.
Bogside cottage was lived in by Mr. Troop and his family and later on by a Mr. McGaw who worked at Chapeltoun Mains. He was the Chapeltoun House gardener. Mr. Thow (pronounced Thor) a forester, lived with his family at the Bogflat Farmhouse. A chauffeur, a Mr. McLean lived at Chapelburn cottage and Firbank existed as a small copse with a possible (unrecorded) standing stone, the bungalow was built in the 1970s.
An incident remembered by Mrs. Wilson is that of Mr. Neilson challenging a young man from Kilmaurs to a fist fight because he had found that the man was courting one of his housemaids.
The 'mansion' house of 1910 has had a number of changes of use after it was a private house, being the headquarters of an insurance company and a hotel under several different owners, before becoming a family home again around 2004. The Lobnitz family of Chapeltoun House moved to High Clunch. The Third Statistical Account of 1953 still records Chapeltoun as being one of the six main estates in the parish of Stewarton.
In the woodland policies of Chapeltoun House is the Monk's Well (OS 1974), fountain or spring as indicated on the OS maps going back as far as 1858. Its present appearance is probably as a Victorian or Edwardian 'whimsy' or 'folly' with a large, thick sandstone 'tombstone appearance' with a slightly damaged cross carved in relief upon it and a spout through which the spring water once passed into a cast iron 'bowl'. It seems unlikely from the workmanship that this stone and cross have anything to do with the old chapel, but one possibility is that it came from over the entrance door to Laigh Chapelton as the custom was for a Templar property to have the 'cross' symbol of the order displayed in such a fashion. On the other hand it could have been made for the Chapelton (old) House to associate the building with the Christian history of the site. The stone is unusually thick and has been clearly reworked to pass a spout through it.
A finial from Chapelton House is used as a feature in the gardens. Apart from pure ornamentation the finial can also function as a lightning rod, and was once believed to act as a deterrent to witches on broomsticks attempting to land on one's roof. On making her final landing approach to a roof, the witch, spotting the obstructing finial, was forced to sheer off and land elsewhere.
The OS record that in the 1970’s a Mr. H.Gollan of Chapeltown stated that the 'Monk's Well', was believed to have been associated with the chapel. In July 1956 the OS state that the 'Monk's Well' is a spring emerging through a stone pipe, situated in a stone-faced cutting in the hill slope. Above the spring is a stone slab with a cross in relief.
A well is marked near the Chapelton (old) House which became a pump later and may now be represented by a surviving stone lined well with steps leading down to it. The water from this well was used to fill the Curling Pond which was built by the Neilsen's on the site of the original driveway into the old house/farm.
At the top edge of riverside meadow are to be found a couple of sizeable glacial erratics, which were dug out during the construction of the sewerage treatment plant. The remains of the abutments of a footbridge across the river are visible where the garden boundary hedge meets the Annick and Florence Miller remembers the bridge as still standing in the late 1920s. This presumably Victorian or Edwardian feature would take people across to the area now thick with rhododendrons (R.ponticum), typically planted by estate owners. On the Lambroughton side of the river is a substantial wall with a wide ditch in front, built with considerable labour and of no drainage function. This structure was probably a Ha-ha (sometimes spelt har har) or sunken fence which is a type of boundary to a garden, pleasure-ground, or park so designed as not to interrupt the view and to not be seen until closely approached. The ha-ha consists of a trench, the inner side of which is perpendicular and faced with stone, with the outer slope face sloped and turfed - making it in effect a sunken fence. The ha-ha is a feature in many landscape gardens laid and was an essential component of the "swept" views of Lancelot Capability Brown. "The contiguous ground of the park without the sunk fence was to be harmonized with the land within; and the garden in its turn was to be set free from its prim regularity, that it might assort with the wilder country without". Most typically they are found in the grounds of grand country houses and estates and acted as a means of keeping the cattle and sheep out of the formal gardens, without the need for obtrusive fencing. They vary in depth from about 5 feet (Chapeltoun House) to 9 feet (Petworth).
The old driveway to Lainshaw House off the Stewarton to Torranyard road also has a 'ha-ha' on the side facing the home farm before it reaches the woods. The name ha-ha may be derived from the response of ordinary folk on encountering them and that they were, "...then deemed so astonishing, that the common people called them Ha! Ha's! to express their surprise at finding a sudden and unperceived check to their walk." An alternative theory is that it describes the laughter of those who see a walker fall down the unexpected hole. A seat may have been situated by the ha-ha and the woodland view would have been, and indeed still is, very attractive as this area is clearly an ancient woodland remnant. The stone boundary wall stops in line with the ha-ha.
The Chapeltoun Bridge over the Annick and is a carefully designed sandstone structure complementing the scene. 'Stepping stones' are marked on the 1897 OS map as being located just downstream from here. The name Annick, previously Annock, Annoch (1791) or Annack Water, possibly derives from the Gaelic abhuin, meaning water and oc or aig meaning little or small. The valley which this river runs through was once called Strathannock. Immense labour has been expended building walls on either side of the river and even the Chapel Burn bed is 'cobbled'.
'Fossilised' linear bands of stone deposition in gardens which were part of this 'boundary' field suggest that the old Rig and furrow system was used hereabouts, however extensive modern ploughing has hidden the 'tell tale' signs. The amount of stone clearance in the 'Lambroughton Woods' bearing plough scoring, illustrates the extent of the ploughing. Other fields in the area still show these unmistakable signs of cultivation and place names such as Lochrig (now Lochridge) and Righead Smithy preserve the history of the practice.
Although giant hogweed is taking hold along the Annick (2006), however the riparian (water side) flora is still indicative of long established and undisturbed habitats. The rare crosswort, (a relative of the goosegrass or cleavers) is found nearby. The river contains, amongst others, brown trout, sea trout, salmon, eels, minnows, and stickleback. The water quality is much improved since the Stewarton cloth mills closed and the river no longer carries their dyes and other pollutants as shown by the presence of freshwater limpets and shrimps, together with leeches, caddis fly larvae and water snail species.
Kingfishers have been seen just downstream and the estate's woodland policies and river contain, amongst others, tawny and barn owls, herons, mallard, ravens, rooks, treecreepers, buzzards, peewits or lapwings, roe deer, mink, moles, shrews, grey squirrels, hares, hedgehogs, foxes, badgers, pipistrelle bats and probably otters. Migrating Canada and Greylag Geese frequent the nearby fields on their way up from the Caerlaverock or coming down from Spitsbergen in the winter. Duncan McNaught in 1895 records that he found a kingfisher's nest at an arms length inside an earthen burrow at Chapelton on the Annick.
The estate woodlands contains typical species, such as copper beech, horse-chestnut, yew, bay-laurel, oaks, ornamental pines, and a fine walnut. Several very large beeches and sycamores are also present. The Glenfield Ramblers recorded two especially rare species in the area of the Lainshaw Estate, the Lesser Wintergreen and the Bird's Nest Orchid. Unfortunately no precise details of the site were recorded.
The hedgerow trees accepted today as part of the familiar landscape were not planted by farmers for visual effect, they were crops and the wood was used for building and fencing and the millers needed beech or hornbeam wood for mill machinery, in particular for the sacrificial cogs on the main drive gears. It is not generally appreciated how much the Ayrshire landscape has changed its character, for even in 1760-70 the Statistical Account it is stated that "there was no such thing to be seen as trees or hedges in the parish; all was naked and open".
The Glazert burn, previously Glazart has otters and the rare freshwater mussel (source of freshwater pearls). The name may come from the celtic, glas in Gaelic meaning grey or green and dur meaning water. It is recorded by Dobie in 1876 as being a favourite resort of fishermen and this is still very much the case today (2006). Another River Glazert, runs through a considerable part of the parish of Campsie, emptying itself into the Kelvin, opposite the town of Kirkintilloch.
A number of small woodlands are marked as 'fox coverts', such as below Chapeltoun Mains and near Anderson's Plantation, left for foxes to breed and shelter in safety. The local Eglinton hunt used to meet at Chapeltoun House.
Wheeled vehicles were unknown to farmers in the area until the end of the 17th. century and prior to this sledges were used to haul loads as wheeled vehicles were useless. Roads were mere tracks and such bridges as there were could only take pedestrians, men on horseback or pack-animals. The first wheeled vehicles to be used in Ayrshire were carts offered gratis to labourers working on Riccarton Bridge in 1726. In 1763 it was still said that no roads existed between Glasgow and Kilmarnock or Kilmarnock and Ayr and the whole traffic was by twelve pack horses, the first of which had a bell around its neck. A mill-wand was the rounded piece of wood acting as an axle with which several people would role a millstone form the quarry to the mill and to permit this the width of some early roads was set at a 'mill-wand breadth'.
The Stewarton to Torranyard (Torrenzairds in 1613) road was a turnpike as witnessed by the farm name Crossgates (Stewarton 3 and Irvine 5 1/4 miles), Gateside (near Stacklawhill Farm) and the check bars that are shown on the 1858 OS at Crossgates and at the Bickethall (previously Bihetland) road end to prevent vehicles, horse riders, etc. turning off the turnpike and avoiding the toll charges. A small toll house is shown at Crossgates, now demolished, on the left when facing Torranyard. In Scots a 'bicket' is a 'pocket', an appropriate description of the area the farm lies in. A modern cottage nearby is called 'Robelle' after the farmers Robert and Isabelle from Bickethall.
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, which had 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. Another point is that when the toll roads were constructed the Turnpike Trusts went to considerable trouble to improve the route of the new roads 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.
Colonel McAlester was a member of the Turnpike Trust and no doubt exerted considerable influence over the route of the turnpike and other matters. John Loudon McAdam was very actively involved with Scottish Turnpikes, living at Sauchrie near Ayr until he moved to Bristol to become Surveyor to the local Turnpike Trust in 1826.
None of the toll road milestones are visible because they were buried during the Second World War to prevent them from being used by invading troops, agents, etc. 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. The milestone near Bloomridge Farm and Kirkmuir Farm are likewise missing, presumed buried.
Close to Kirkmuir (previously Laigh Kirkmuir), a farm occupied by William Mure in 1692, is the Freezeland plantation on the turnpike as marked on the 1858 OS. Nowadays it is a smallholding without a dwelling house. The origin of the name is unclear, although 'furz' or furs' is old Scots for gorse or whin, however the existence of this small patch of fenced off land may be linked to the reference in Thomson's 1832 map to a fold, either for sheep or cattle. It could have been a pen for strayed stock or be connected with the tolls on the turnpike in some way or a 'stell', the Scot's word for a partial enclosure made by a wall or trees, to serve as a shelter for sheep or cattle. A building may have existed here. Kirkmuir was farmed by John Brown (died 21st August 1880, aged 54) and his wife Catherine Anderson (died 27th August 1895, aged 72). James Walker (died 11th December 1926, aged 86) and his wife Mary Woodburn (died 27th April 1899, aged 57) also farmed Kirkmuir. They were all buried in the Laigh Kirk graveyard. Righead was a tollhouse at a later stage, however it was built as a 'butt and ben'. Skirmshaw is the name of some fields nearby in 1797, although no building appears to be present at that time. Picken's Park was across the road from Righead, behind the estate tree boundary. Picken is a fairly common local name (see Kirkhill). Kirkmuir was originally a farm on the Longridge Plantation near Highcross Farm (Thomson 1832), later becoming Little Kirkmuir and being marked but not named by 1895, before ceasing to be recorded at all on the OS maps by 1921.
A 'Kirkhill' dwelling is last marked on the 1858 and 1895 0S, below Kirkhill and near to South Kilbride. Andrew Picken was the farmer here in 1867, when his spouse, Ann Blair died, aged 59; she was buried at the Laigh Kirk in Stewarton. It was close to a small burn running from Water Plantation above Stewarton, in a sheltered glen, typical of early religious settlements and the Kirkhill itself, which was wooded in 1858, is an excellent viewpoint. A track led up to it from Gillmill Farm and it had an entrance near that of South Kilbride. Robert Stevenson farmed at Gillmill and died on the 27th May 1810, aged 48.
The plethora of religious names in this area - the Kirkmuirs, Kirkhill, High Cross, Canaan and the Kilbrides, suggest that at some point in the distant past a possible pr-Christian and Christian site was located here. No documentary evidence remains and the earliest record is for Kirkry in 1654, now Kilbride. 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. Interestingly the Carlin Stone at Commoncrags in Dunlop is associated with the 'old winter hag', the antithesis of the goddess Bride. The name Canaan at Kirkmuir was in use as early as 1779.
High Cross was occupied by the Harvies in 1951, who had purchased the farm from the Nairnshaw Estate in 1921. According to Strawhorn they had reconditioned the old thatched farmhouse in 1915 and added a gravitation water supply, bathroom, telephone and electricity. The farm buildings are now (2006) abandoned and the site awaits a new use.
A well recorded as Bloak Well was first discovered in 1800, around 1826 (Paterson 1866) or 1810 or 1800, by the fact that pigeons from Lainshaw House and the neighbouring parishes were found to flock here to drink. Mr. Cunningham of Lainshaw built a handsome house over the well in 1833 and appointed a keeper to take care of it as the mineral water was of some value owing to healing properties attributed to it. The well was located in the middle of the kitchen.
The Chapel Burn rises near the Anderson Plantation in the fields below Lainshaw Mains and it is marked as a chalybeate or mineral spring on the 1911 6" OS map. Bore holes nearby suggest that the water was put to a more formal use at one time, supplying cattle troughs or possibly even for a stand pipe as mineral water was popular for its supposed curative properties. According to the opinion of the day, it could cure ‘the colic, the melancholy, and the vapours; it made the lean fat, the fat lean; it killed flat worms in the belly, loosened the clammy humours of the body, and dried the over-moist brain. The main spring here has been covered over and the water piped out to the burn.
The chalybeate spring (otherwise known as Siderite, a mineral consisting of carbonate of iron, FeCO3 - 48 percent Iron) described here is not the only well / spring in the area which is identified as being a mineral spring, for there is still a cottage named Saltwell in what was the hamlet of Bloak. This information is stated by the Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, however Mrs. Florence Miller of Saltwell recollects that this well was never known specifically as the Bloak Well. The present building was purchased from the Cunninghames of Lainshaw in the 1920s, having been built between 1800 and 1850. It is thought that the salt well now lies beneath the floor of the building and various physical features of the building suggest that it is the structure built by the Cunninghames. The well was first discovered by the fact that migrating birds, especially swifts and swallows, flocked to it. It is of unknown composition and is not listed as chalybeate. The cottage was a 'but and ben' and it is a 'handsome' building as described by Paterson. A Redwells Farm is located nearby at Auchentiber, the etymology of tiber itself refers to a well.
In 1930 the Kilmarnock Glenfield Ramblers' Society record a Ramble during which they walked past the well known local spring, its waters rich in iron, on their way to the Kennox Estate, having already visited the Lainshaw Estate. This must be the source of the Chapel Burn.
James Wilson of High Chapelton and John Miller of Laigh Chapelton went to court over the matter of the march dyke built between their lands by the father of James. The document makes it clear that such inclosures were unusual at the time and although John's father very reluctantly agreed to the march dyke being built with a straightening of the old boundary, he did not pay anything towards its construction or for its maintenance, despite the march being of a level of construction which required skilled ditchers to be employed for the task.
The ill-feeling seems to have spread into the next generation for James records that John has cut 'march' trees down in the past and has thrown thorns and brambles from the march into the High Chapeltoun's hayfields. The irony is that John of Laigh Chapelton is suing James for cutting down trees from the march dyke and requires money to plant new trees and to compensate for the inconvenience he has been put through. We do not know the outcome, however the action is described as "trifling and frivolous". The clue to the ill-feeling may be in the term 'straightening' which may imply that John's father agreed to a new march which may have resulted in some small loss of his lands.
The rental value of High Chapelton was £137 in 1820 and Laigh Chapelton was £180. The memorial stone to the Miller family of Chapelton (Chapelton is the spelling on the tombstone) is very well preserved at the Laigh Kirk, Stewarton. John Miller died on the 3rd December 1734, aged 30 and his spouse, Jean Gilmour died on the 24th November 1747, aged 42. Their son James died on the 1st November 1793, aged 60 and his spouse, Margaret Gilmour, died on the 1st April 1802, aged 61. Their son John is the one involved in the dispute, he passed away on the 25th December 1825, aged 59. His spouse was Grizel Gray who died on the 7th January 1855.
The march dyke is clearly marked on the 1885 OS map, following the course of the bank above the water meadow from the riverside and then running up as a 'v' shape towards High Chapeltoun before coming back down to join the lane near the Chapel mound. It doesn't follow the line of the natural ridge above the waterside meadow.
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" (hawthorn or whitethorn and blackthorn or sloe).
|The name Crevoch most likely derives from the Scots Gaelic for place of the trees, indicating that a substantial wooded area existed in the locality in times past.|
The mother of the late Mrs. Minnie Hastings of West Lambroughton Farm had been one of the last occupants of the house at the Crevoch Mill site. The family name was Kerr. A track led from Crivoch up to Bottoms farm and this gave access through to Chapeltoun. The full name of Bottoms farm is Bottoms at Point Crivoch. The Dusky Cranesbill, a rare garden escape, was recorded by the Glenfield Ramblers' at Crivoch mill in the 1850s and was still growing at the site in 2004.
In 1735 John Cummin, a schoolmaster, is recorded as living at Crivoch.
Close to the cists site is the Mound Wood on Kennox Moss, an oval shaped artificial structure made of piled turf and surrounded by a well constructed drystone wall. It has not been investigated archaeologically. An access track ran up to it at one time.
The Gallowayford Farmhouse is now (2006) just a jumble of stones, however John Shields and his spouse Jean Guthrie farmed here in the mid 1800s. Jean died on the 4th October 1887, John died 22nd September 1908. They lost a daughter, Isabella at the age of 4 in 1862. James Miller farmed here previously, dying on the 3rd April 1813. They are all buried at the Laigh Kirk in Stewarton. General Roy's map of 1747-55 clearly shows Gallowayford & Irvinhill.
Bonshaw (formerly Bollingshaw or Bonstonshaw) was a small estate and barony of the Boyd's, a cadet of the Boyds, Lords of Kilmarnock.
Near Stacklawhill is the site of the discovery of celts (axe heads) and earthenware in 1875. John Craufurd Taylor is recorded as living at Stackly hill in 1735. Mr Muir of Bonnyton farm was the great-grandson of Mr Thomas Reid of Stacklawhill farm who had owned the Bonnyton estate in 1827.
Bankend Farm near the Annick is marked on the 1775 Armstrong's map, however it shown as a ruin as far back as 1858. Its name was transferred to the farm of Sandilands sometime after 1923 and the name Sandielands (1820), Sandilands or Sandylands dropped, 'apart' from the cottage nearby which uses the name Sandbank. Nothing of old Bankend remains on the site, the rubble now being located on the riverbank. A Hugh Watt lived here in the 18th-century. The Sandilands family, with the title Lord Torphichen, held the temple-lands and this would have included "the chapel lands and glebe of Fairlie-Crivoch." The soil in these parts is not sandy and the land ownership may very well be the explanation for the origin of the placename given the connection between the Sandylands or Sandilands family and the former Knights Templar estates.
A ford crossed the river at this point, the road then running up the hill to West Lambroughton. This was an important crossing as no bridge, road or ford existed at Chapeltoun until possibly the time of the building of Chapelton House in the 1850s.
Given as 'Klonbyith' by Pont in the 1690s Clonbeith was then the property of William Cuninghame, scion of this cadet branch of the Glencairn Cuninghames through those of Aiket Castle. John Cuninghame shot and killed the Earl of Eglinton in 1586 and was caught and 'cut to pieces' in Hamilton, possibly at Hamilton palace..
The Cowlinn burn runs down to join the Lugton Water at the site of Montgreenan castle or the Bishop's Palace. A dwelling called Cowlinn is marked on the Thomson's 1820 map and a Clonbeith Mill was nearby.
Aiton in 1811 comments on the growing of carrots by William Cunningham of Lainshaw as an 'excellent article of food for the human species'. This was one of the first estates to grow them in quantity.
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).
The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is a neo-classical building in Royal Exchange Square in the Glasgow city centre, which was built in 1778 as the townhouse of William Cunninghame of Lainshaw, a wealthy tobacco lord. The building has undergone a series of different uses; It was used by the Royal Bank of Scotland; it then became the Royal Exchange. Reconstruction for this use resulted in many additions to the building, namely the Corinthian pillars to the Queen Street facade, the cupola above and the large hall to the rear of the old house.
Shoes were only used for Sunday best and for many of the younger folk going bare foot was the order of the day. The family at High Chapeltoun were one of the last to do this on a day to day basis.
The Royal Mail re-organised its postal districts in the 1930s and at that point many hamlets and localities ceased to exist officially, such as Chapeltoun, Lambroughton and other areas in Stewarton district.
James Boswell of Auchinleck House, the famous biographer and friend of Dr. Samuel Johnson was married to his cousin Margaret Montgomerie in Lainshaw Castle. He had gone to Ireland with Margaret, with the intention of courting another wealthy cousin, however he fell in love with the penniless Margaret and married her instead. The room they were married in was one floor above the room in which the Earl of Eglinton was laid after he was murdered by Cunninghame at the old brig or ford on the Annick Water near the entrance to the castle on the Stewarton road. David Montgomery of Lainshaw married a daughter of Lord Auchinleck.
John Kerr of Stewarton built the first practical beehive in the World in 1819, octagonal in shape with a bee-space and a queen separator introduced by 1849. The shape was thought to be closest to the natural tree-trunk shape which bees were thought to favour. L. L. Langstroth is often credited with these developments, however an examination of the records shows that John Kerr, a cabinet maker, was the first to use these features in a working hive. Beeboles and straw skeps were used previous to these developments and here the bees had to be killed to obtain the honey. Running from Anderson's Plantation across the hill and back down to the old driveway near to the walled garden is a wall or dyke replacing a tree lined hedge shown in 1858. The wall or dyke is very unusual in that it is made from roughly equal sized rounded whinstones and it is held together by cement. A great deal of expense and effort would have been needed to build this long section of dyke, which seems to have been in place by 1911.
The estate wall running from near Freezeland to near the Law Mount was built by unemployed labourers in the early 19th. Century.