Growing up in Dalhanna Drive, New Cumnock the usual route to head down the town was by way of the shortcut in the spare ground at the back of the drive to join up with the Temple Brae at the first set of the cross barriers.
Heading down the brae just before the next set of cross-barrriers stood a sturdy solitary stane and behind it a wee gudgick (gooseberry) bush. The gudgicks seldom got the chance to grow and ripen and were raided by passers-bye and gorged when the size of hairy peas and as sour as last week’s milk!
At the bottom of the brae was Peter and Pina Luni’s Afton Cafe on the left hand-side and Afton Lea Bed & Breakfast of the right, which was formerly the church manse attached to the adjacent Reformed Presbyterian Church. The church was built in 1866 , replacing an earlier Meeting House and some 10 years later the church joined up with the Free Church of Scotland . Now the Afton Free Church and later the Afton United Free Church the congregation left the church and in 1923 to join that of the Arthur Memorial United Free Church on the castlehill. The vacant church was purchased by the Masonic Lodge and served for some years as the Masonic Temple, and coined of the name Temple Brae. The church , demolished in the 1970’s and replaced with Bridgend Gospel Hall.
What was the purpose of the Gudgick Stane?
Before the houses were built at Dalhanna Drive the short cut that runs behind Dalhanna Drive was once part of the path from the Afton Bridgend to the former Cairnhill Farm.
This aerial photo of the 1940/50’s shows the new housing development on the right including the lower part of Dalhanna Drive, which later would be extended up the hill and parallel with the short cut and stopping at the head of the Temple Brae.
The Ordnance Survey map of the late 19th century shows the path from the Free Church manse to Cairnhill farm. This farm was part of the Mansfield estate and George Caldwell and his family lived here for many years before relocating to Rottenyard farm in the other side of the parish and also part of the Mansfield Estate. One of the family, Steel Caldwell emigrated to Australia and died there in 1892 at his residence of Cairn Hill, Bland, New South Wales.
The Gudgick Stane with two man-made holes drilled into its surface (one on the top and one on the side facing the brae) may have acted as a gate-post for a gate at the entrance to the original path to Cairnhill and the other path that goes straight ahead and overlooks Greenhead.
It would be great to hear from anyone that can remember this path before the Temple Brae was built to serve the new houses at Dalhanna Drive and that can shed any light on the Gudgick Stane.
- Maps – National Library of Scotland http://maps.nls.uk/index.html
- Alex Jess (aerial photo of Temple Brae)