|Blarene Hill, Blarene Burn, Blarene Level|
|Suggested Meaning:||plain of the birds|
|element||Gaelic blair ‘plain, field’|
|element||Gaelic eoin ‘birds’|
|element||Standard Scottish English hill ‘hill’|
|element||Scots burn ‘stream’|
|element||Scots level ‘A drift or roadway along the strike of the strata’|
|Blaeu Coila (1654):||Blaireyin, Blaireyin hill, Blareyn b.|
|OS Name Books (1855-57):||Blarene Hill, Blarene Burn, Blarene Level|
|Location:||Ordnance Survey (1892-1960)|
|Other Early Forms:|
|Blareyn, Blarene (1523), Blareene (1535), Blaireine (1608), Blaireyin, Blareyn (1654l), Brochloch of Blarein (1706).|
The property of Blarene no longer exists but the place-name still survives in the form of Blarene Hill and Blarene Burn.
Craufurd of Leffnories
The lands of Blarene were held by the Craufurds of Leffnories in the 16th/17th century and several early forms of the place-name are found in the following records associated with the family.
The first dates from 1523 when William Craufurd of Leffnories was the ‘lord of the lands‘ 
657. Instrument narrating that John Blak, junior, . . . mark offered to give John Blak in Blareyn, three “soums” (“summas”) of animals, namely two within enclosed and ditched places and one on the outside in the common, one acre of arable lands and a dayswork (“dietam”) of meadow belonging to him in the lands of Blarene for the space of one year, and this if the sons of the said John Blak, senior, are willing to give him as much of their parts in said lands, which the said John Blak, senior, wholly refused to receive.
Done at the mansion of Blarene 16 May 1523. Witnesses, Andrew Campbell, Andrew Blak and William Craufurd, lord of the lands.Protocol Book of Gavin Ros, N.P. 1512-1532, Nos. 657
This transaction between the Black family identifies John Blak, senior as the tenant in Blareyn/Blaren and that it took place at the mansion of Blarene, which in this context is Scots mansion ‘dwelling place’ , rather than some grand house.
Some 12 years later a letter to William Craufurd, fear Lefynories, i.e. Scots fear ‘owner’ , lists other lands he held in what is now the parish of New Cumnock, namely – Farden, Auchingee, Dalricket (Ricard), Straid, Blarene, Dalleagles, Whitehill, Change, and Littlemark .
26 May 1535 letter to him fear of lands of Lefynoreis of gift of nonentries of 2 merk lands of Ferding, 2 merk lands of Auchinge, Ricard, 2 merk lands of Straid, 2 merk lands of Blareene, 2 merk lands called [Dal]Leglis, Quhithill, 2 merk lands of Chang, Litill Merk (barony Cumnock vic Are) held by him of dec Jamess Dunbar of Cumnok as superior now in crown’s hands by reason of nonentry at his dec.Stuart Clarkson [RSSRS/ii#1681]
Forward to the 17th century when William Craufurd, grandson of the above William, is the owner of Lefnoreis  –
— 6 May 1607 (sasine 8 Jul 1608, reg 10 Aug 1608) charter to William Campbell of Garralland, Katherine Campbell spouse in 2 merk lands of Blaireine (barony Cumnock) by him fiar of Lefnoreis witness Matthew Craufurd, (brother)Stuart Clarkson CC/v.28]
Blaeu Coila Provincia (1654)
Blaeu’s map shows Blareyn b.rn (Blarene Burn) rising in Blaireyin hill (Blarene Hill) and flowing north, first past the property of Blaireyin on the west bank and then Brokloc (Brockloch) on the west bank before continuing its journey to meet with the Lein burn (Lane Burn).
Barony of Afton
In later years the lands of Blarene formed part of the Barony of Afton in the parish of New Cumnock, created in 1706 for Sir William Gordon of Earlstoun, 1st Baronet of Afton and appears in the form of Brochloch of Blarein in the barony charter [6 ]. The mansion of Blarene no longer existed and the major property was Brochloch of Blarene, now simply known as Brockloch .
Gaelic blair ‘plain, field’ Gaelic eoin ‘birds’
Sir Herbert Maxwell in ‘The Place-Names of Galloway’ quotes two sources reflecting the primary and secondary meanings of the common place-name element Gaelic blar -
- “Blar, a plain, a field ; a dispute, contention, a battle” – O’Reilly 2. “Blar, a battle, engagement, battle-field” – Macalpine . The primary meaning is an open field, solum arboribus liberum – ground clear of trees; the word acquired the secondary meaning through ground of that nature being best suited for open fighting.
Maxwell also listed a host of place-names in Galloway with the first element Gaelic blar including Blairderry, Blairfin, Blairmoddie, Blairmore and Blairshinnoch all of which share the form blair -, the same as two of the early forms Blarene, namely Blaireine (1608) and Blaireyin (1645).
According to Blaeu (see Map 1) the property of Blaireyin was situated on the west bank of Blareyn b. upstream from Brokloc and on the lower slopes of Blaireyin hill, although the accuracy of Blaeu can often be questioned. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to identify a possible location of the mansion of Blarene on Ordnance Survey map below. It is also reasonable to discount Gaelic blar ‘battle, battle-field etc.’ as the first element of Blarene – no tales of Wallace and Bruce facing the occupying English forces and their Scots allies on these slopes! As such, the first element is Gaelic blar ‘plain, field’ and fits well with the landscape.
Blaeu conveniently recorded the name Blaireyin as Blair eyin which strongly suggests that the second element in Blarene is Gaelic eoin ‘birds’ . It may be no coincidence that Knocknide Hill, Gaelic cnoc nid ‘hill of the nests’  sits adjacent to Blarene Hill.
Place-Name: Blarene + Standard Scottish English hill ‘hill’
The Ordnance Survey Name Books (1855-57) entry for Blarene Hill reads –
A hill on Straid farm. Mr James Sloan is of opinion that the names have been derived from the wind blowing round it.
The hill takes its name from the former property of Blarene. Part of Blarene Hill may lie on the lands of Straid, which also formed part of the Barony of Afton. It is interesting to note that James Sloan, farmer at Brockloch, considers that the name Blarene may have been derived from the wind blowing round the hill, presumably blow round or more probably blaw roon!
Place-Name: Blarene + Scots burn ‘stream’
The Ordnance Survey Name Books (1855-57) entry for Blarene Burn reads –
A Stream rising about half a mile South of Blarene Hill, and running north by Burnfoot into the Lane Burn
The stream takes its name from the former property of Blarene and Scots burn ‘stream’ . In turn Blarene Burn gave its name to Burnside Cottage  and Burnfoot farm , both of which would later give there names to the mining communities of Burnside and Burnfoot.
Blarene Level (coal)
Place-Name: Blarene + Scots level ‘mine roadway’
The Ordnance Survey Name Books (1855-57) entry for Blarene Level reads –
A Coal Mine on Straid farm near Blarene Burn
More specifically the coal-mining term level is defined as ‘a roadway along the strike of the strata, i.e. at right angle to the dip’ .
The Blarene mine formed part of the coal reserves of the Barony of Afton. In 1769 Catherine Gordon succeeded to the estates of Afton and Stair and the following year she married Colonel Alexander Stewart, grandson of the Earl of Galloway. Her husband attained the rank of General (later Major General) and Catherine Gordon thereafter was known as Mrs. General Stewart, the famous patron of Robert Burns. General Stewart formed the Afton Mining Company to work the minerals in the Gordon-Stewart’s Afton estate. Following the death of General Stewart (1795) and Mrs Catherine Gordon-Stewart (1826) the Afton Estate passed on to their daughters. At the time of the compilation of the Ordnance Survey Name Book (1855-57) the lands were held by her grandson William Allason Cunninghame, Esquire of Afton and Logan.
In 1866 the Lanemark Coal Company obtained a lease to work the Afton minerals including those in the vicinity of the Blarene Level establishing the Afton No. 1 pit, although it was known locally as the Burnfoot Pit. New housing was built nearby for the miners and their families and it was called the Burnfoot Row – the connection between the Burnfoot of Blarene Burn no longer obvious.
| Protocol Book of Gavin Ros, N.P. 1512-1532, Nos. 657|
| Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. | mansion|
| Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. | fear|
| Stuart Clarkson [RSSRS/ii#1681]|
| Stuart Clarkson CC/v.28]|
| New Cumnock History | Catherine Gordon Stewart|
| New Cumnock Place-Names | Brockloch|
| Sir Herbert Maxwell ‘The Place-Names of Galloway’ | blar|
| Edward Dwelly ‘Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary’ | eoin|
|New Cumnock Place-Names | Knocknide Hill|
| Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd.| burn|
| New Cumnock Place-Names | Burnside Cottage – pending|
| New Cumnock Place-Names | Burnfoot (of Blarene) – pending|
| James Barrowman, Mining Engineer, Secretary to the Mining Institute of Scotland, 1886 | A Glossary of Scotch Mining Terms|
|Reproduced with the Permission of National Library of Scotland|
|Images used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.|
|Map 1: Joan Blaeu (1645) Coila Provincia, [or], The province of Kyle / auct. Timoth. Pont | Blaireyin|
|Map 2: Ordnance Survey Maps – Six-inch 2nd and later editions, Scotland, 1892-1960 (1894) | Blarene Hill & Burn|
|Map 3: Ordnance Survey, One-inch to the mile maps of Scotland, 2nd Edition – 1885-1900 (1895) | Blarene Burn|
Use of these digitised maps for non-commercial purposes is permitted under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-SA) licence.
|Map 4: Ordnance Survey Maps – Six-inch 1st edition, Scotland, 1843-1882 (1857) | Blarene Level|
|Map 5: Ordnance Survey Maps – Six-inch 2nd and later editions, Scotland, 1892-1960 (1895) | Afton No. 1 pit|
|Ordnance Survey Name Books|
|By Permission of Scotland’s Places|
|Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49| Blarene Hill|
|Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49| Blarene Burn|
|Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Blarene Level|