Suggested Meaning:black farthing land
1st element:S. black
2nd element S. farding ‘farthing land
Blaeu Coila (1654):Blakfwrdingh, Blakfarding b.
OS Name Books (1855-57):Blackfarding
Location:Ordnance Survey (1885-1903)
Earlier forms
Rewach? (1342) Blackfarding (1631), Blakfwrdingh, Blakfarding b. (1654), Blackfurthy (1855 Valuation Rolls), Blackfarthing (1855)

Blackfarding ‘black farthing-land’

In a sasine of 12th May 1631 ‘the merkland of Blackfarding‘ is recorded as one of the properties making up the 9 merk-lands of the Cathcarts estate Waterhead [1].

Map 1 Blackfarding | Reproduced with the permission of The National Library of Scotland

1st element: Scots black ‘black’

Black is a common place-name element in the parish of New Cumnock and is found in names such as Blackcraig, Black Hill, Black Loch and Blackwood. Presumably it is a reference to the dark colour of the land.

2nd element : Scots farding ‘farthing land’

Blackfarding is one of three ‘farthing-land’ names in the parish of New Cumnock with the other two being the nearby Fardine and Fardenreoch. Since the first element of the name is English, it is likely that the second element is Scots farding ‘farthing’ [2] rather than Gaelic fairdin [3].

The Ordnance Survey Name Book entry for Blackfarding also recognises Blackfarthing as an alternative spelling.

Map 2 Blackfarding | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

The merkland of Blackfarding was one of the “9 merklands of Waterhead” and remained in the Waterhead estate and in the ownership of a branch of the Cathcart family [4].

In 1763 the lands of Blackfarthing along with the ‘the house of the Water’ are included in the sale of the two merkland of Drumelland* [5]

ALL and WHOLE , The two merkland of DRUMELLAND , RIGG and LOANHEAD, comprending the house of the Water, and Blackfarthing, with the house, yards and pertinents of the same

The Caledonian Mercury 24 Aug 1763

*Drumelland is not a name familiar to the parish of New Cumnock. There is a property of that name in Maybole, Ayrshire and perhaps this is a misprint. This is probably a reference to the two-merk land of Drumcallander-rig and Lanehead which part of the Waterhead Estate [4].

Blackfarding farmhouse does not appear on the Ordnance Survey maps of the late 19th century, however the lands continued to be recorded in the Valuation Rolls (including 1940 the latest rolls available on line) paired with the farm and lands of the House of Water.


[1] The Scottish Jurist: Containing Reports of Cases Decided in the …, Volume 15| page 6
[2] Dictionary of the Scots Language |farding
[3] Malcolm MacLennan, Gaelic Dictionary
[4] New Cumnock Place-Name | Waterhead Castle and Waterhead Farm
[5] British Newspaper Archive | Caledonian Mercury 24 Aug 1763
Reproduced with the Permission of the National Library of Scotland
Map 1 | Blaeu Coila Provincia (1645) | Blackfarding
Map 2 | Ordnance Survey (1885-1903) |Blackfarding
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49| Blackfarthing
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