16. John Allan

John Allan of Westland

Residence: Catrine

The lands of Meikle Westland and Nether Westland lie in the east of the parish on the south bank of the River Nith. Although they sit side by side they were under different ownership. In 1833, Nether Westland was one of the many properties owned by the Marquis of Bute while Meikle Westland was owned by the Allan family.

Polshill, Meikle Westland and Nether Westland

Robert Allan of Over Catrine and Westland.

In the land tax roll of 1803 for the parishes of Old and New Cumnock the proprietor of Westland is recorded under the name of Allan. This is Robert Allan who also appears in the land tax roll for the parish of Mauchline (including the parish of Sorn) as the proprietor of Catrine Farquhar* and the same Robert Allan of Townhead of Catrine whose name appears on the Horse Tax and Dog Tax rolls of 1798 in that parish.

* The Farquhar family had owned Over Catrine since the late 16th until the late 18th century and when Robert Farquhar, the last of that line, passed the lands were sold in 1790 to Robert Allan. It was sometimes called Townhead of Catrine, probably to distinguish it from the other Catrine. [History of the County of Ayr (1847), James Paterson]

Five years later Robert Allan put both Over Catrine and Westland up for sale.

To be sold by public roup, within the Royal Exchange Coffeehouse, Edinburgh, upon Wednesday the 3d of August 1808, at two o’clock afternoon.

The LANDS of OVER CATRINE, with the PERTINENTS, lying in the barony of Kylesmuir; – and also the LANDS of OWNKEIRN or WESTLAND, with the PERTINENTS, lying in the barony of Cumnock, and shire of Ayr.

 [Caledonian Mercury, 1808 – Courtesy of Rhonda Hyslop Queen]

By 1816, according to the Cess Roll of Ayrshire, the lands of Catrine Farquhar (Over Catrine) are in the hands of Archibald Buchanan Esq.of Catrine Bank (as in topographical feature and not savings bank)  while those of Westland, New Cumnock are owned by John Allan, nephew of Robert Allan.

Courtesy Scotlands People

Although Robert Allan sold off Over Catrine he appears to have remained there as a tenant until 1822 when he passed away. The 1822 copy of Disposition Assignation and Settlement document Robert Allan to John Allan (originally prepared in 1817) reveals some legal dispute between nephew and uncle.

“Considering that John Allan, grocer in Kilmarnock my nephew, having obtained a lease of Westland from me the said Robert Allan, for the ninety-nine years from and after the terms ___________ at the yearly rent of £12 and I having failed to put him in possession of said lands, in terms of my obligation he prosecuted an action of damages against me, before the Sheriff of Ayrshire, and obtained decreet therein for £500 stg in name of loss and damage sustained prior to Whitsunday 1815, and interest since that term, and of the further sum of £100 stg yearly, during the currency of the lease, in consequence of the possession being withheld from him.”

However, a deal is struck with his nephew, i.e. “All of which John Allan has agreed to give up these on my granting these presents in manner underwritten …..”

  • “I hereby assign, dispone and make over to the said John Allan, All and whole of the principal sum of £1000 sterling and interest and penalty due and to become due thereon, contained in and due by a Bond in my favour, granted by Archibald Buchanan Esq of Catrine bank dated the seventh day of October 1808”. [The bond probably reflects the date of the sale of Over Catrine to Archibald Buchanan
  • “I hereby give grant  assign, dispone to and favour of the said John Allan and make over to the said John Allan, All and whole of the Two Merk land of old extent Oun Kiern, alias Westland”.

Other points of interest in the document identify Hugh Hamilton as the tenant of Westland  with a present rent of fifty-two pounds and two years of his missive remaining. The property is also referred to as Waistland on a few occasions.

Meikle Westland

John Allan of Westland

John Allan was born on 6th August 1789 ‘betwixt Matthew Allan and Jean Cochrane at Holehouse Miln, Sorn‘ where Matthew was the brother of Robert Allan of Westland. He married Jean McWhinnie in 1812 and was a grocer in Kilmarnock in 1817 at the time his uncle Robert Allan drew up the ‘Disposition Assignation and Settlement’ .

It appears that he was already recognised as the proprietor of Westland at that time since his name appears in 1816 Cess Roll of Ayrshire with Thomas Hamilton as the tenant and the rent now £60 6s 8d.

John Allan of Westland died on 20th September 1836 residing in Catrine and described as ‘farmer at Hunterston‘, presumably Hunterston Farm formerly in the parish of Ochiltree and now in the parish of Stair.

Following John Allan’s death the property was later acquired by Thomas McMichen Crawford, Esquire of Grange, Maybole. In the 1855 Valuation Rolls one of the tenant farmers of the Crawford’s of Grange is Robert Allan in Milton of Grange, which may only be a coincidence. The Hamiltons are no longer tenants in Westland, their place taking by Archibald Brown. His name can still be seen in the remains of a water-wheel in the upper reaches of Garepol (Polshill) Burn where clay was slapped and pumped down the to the Meikle Westland Tileworks.

Tileworks Waterwheel
  • Proprietor Allan / Land Tax Rolls 1803:  Westland
  • Proprietor John Allan / Cess Rolls 1816:  Westland
  • Proprietor Thomas M Crawford Esq of Grange / Valuation Rolls 1855:  Westland

“Own Kiern”

The 1822 copy of Disposition Assignation and Settlement document Robert Allan to John Allan (originally prepared in 1817) refers to “All and whole of the Two Merk land of old extent Oun Kiern, alias Westland”.

The name Westland is an alias for the name Oum Kiern which may be a forerunner for the modern-day Over Cairn which is sandwiched between Nether Westland and the boundary between Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire. Indeed the term Cairn may be a reference to a boundary cairn.

Westland, Nether Westland, N. Keyirs, O. Keyirns

It would appear that at some time the property now known as Meikle Westland came under different ownership from that of the modern days properties of Over Cairn, Nether Cairn and Nether Westland.


Nether Westland



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