18. William Farquhar

William Farquhar of Riggfoot

Residence: Riggfoot (often recorded as Rigfoot)

William Farquhar was born at Riggfoot in June 1755 the son of Hugh Farquhar of Jean Wilson. According to the available Old Parish Records, he had two elder siblings – John (b. 1751) and Jean (b.1752).  Although it is unclear what became of his brother John his sister Jean married John Riddall, farmer at Lanehead in the parish.

Rigfoot on banks of River Nith (1775)

William married Elizabeth Rankine (before or after?) he moved to farm at Glenmuirshaw in the upper reaches of the Glenmuir in the parish of Auchinleck. In 1814 he found himself a spot of bother and ended up in the toolboth at Ayr!

Ayr Tolbooth

On Monday the 28th of August came on before Archibald Bell, Esq. Sheriff-depute of the county of Ayr, and a special Jury, the trial of William Farquhar, farmer at Glenmuirshaw, parish of Auchinleck, accused of altering the date of an invoice of six barrels American tar, and one puncheon palm oil, got from Messrs Cowan and Sloan, merchants there, from the date of Oct. 7 1811, to Oct. 7. 1814, with the intent to show that a puncheon of oil, got from the same house in 1814, was deficient in weight to the value of £1 5s 10d , and thereby to defraud them to that amount. Some objections to the charge were made by James Campbell, Esq. Counsel for the prisoner, which being answered by James Ferguson, Esq. Counsel for the Crown, were overturned by the Judge. The trial then commenced, and the pannel* pleaded Not Guilty. After the examination of a number of witnesses, the Jury unanimously found the pannel Guilty, and he was sentenced to three months imprisonment in the tollbooth of Ayr, and to pay a fine of £50 Sterling. [1] The Scots Magazine Volume 77, 1815

[* pannel is equivalent of defendant]

It is unclear when William Farquhar acquired the lands of Riggfoot, probably inherited from his father or elder brother. He is identified as the proprietor in the Cess Tax Roll of 1816 in which the value of the properties Dalleagles (James Cuthbert Esq,), Rigfoot (William Farquhar) and Braehead & Dalricket (George Ranken Esq.) was reported as a sum of all three and individually, presumably since all were once part of the lands of Dalleagles. (These were later disjoined on 30 April 1822).  The Ranken properties of Dalricket and Braehead sat on the south banks of the River Nith as did the neighbouring property of Riggfoot; perhaps William Farquhar’s wife Elizabeth Ranken was related to this family.

Dalricket , Braehead and Rigfoot on the Nith

At the opening of the parish church William Farquhar of Riggfoot was 77 years old. He passed away six years later at Riggfoot while his wife Elizabeth Rankine lived on there until 1853 and the couple lay to rest together in the Auld Kirkyard.

William and Elizabeth had no children and the lands of Riggfoot were inherited by their nephew William Haddow, the son of William Haddow and Margaret Rankine.

In memory of William Farquhar and Elizabeth Rankin of Riggfoot

William Haddow of Riggfoot

William Haddow had worked as the shepherd and the overseer for William Farquhar at Glenmuirshaw.  He married Margaret Falconer in Dundee and together they had one son, William Farquhar Haddow.  Margaret outlived both her husband (d. 1877) and her son (d.1899) and when she passed away in 1905 the lands were acquired by New Cumnock Collieries Ltd. Generations of the Mackie family lived there as tenant farmers.


A magnificent headstone once marked the Haddow family lair in the Auld Kirkyard, but sadly now lies in pieces. Some of the panels can still be seen including that to William Haddow and to William Farquhar & Elizabeth Rankine, remembered on the Haddow headstone.


The abandoned property of Riggfoot was demolished in 2012 as part of the extension to the Greenburn Surface Mining operation by Kier Construction Ltd. (Mining Division). A standing building survey, to include photographic and written records of the buildings was carried out prior to their demolition .

Riggfoot Farm : Courtesy of CFA Archeaology


[1] The Scots Magazine Volume 77, 1815

[2 ]Mitchell, S. (2012) Riggfoot Farm, Dalricket, New Cumnock, East Ayrshire Desk-Based Assessment and Standing Building Survey. CFA Archaeology Ltd: CFA Archaeology Ltd, CFA Report No. 1993.

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