Castle, Castle Inn

Place-names:Castle (a village), Castle Inn
Other namesCastlegrove, Castlefarm
Suggested Meaning:village built up around site of Cumnock Castle
First elementPlace-Name element : castle, a reference to Cumnock Castle.
However these lands of Castle appeared to have arisen as alternative to the name of Little Mains of Cumnock.
Blaeu Coila (1654):N/A
OS Name Books (1855-57):Castle , Inn [Castle]
Location:Ordnance Survey (1895)
Early Forms
Lityl Maynes of Cumnock (1684)

1. Castle

Place-Name: Castle village

The Ordnance Survey Name Book (1855-57) entry for Castle (village) reads -.

One of the five villages of New Cumnock, so called on account of its being built about Black Bog Castle. It was formerly called the “Castle village”

The OS Name Book defined the five villages as Castle, Pathhead, Mansfield, Bridgend and Couplagate. (N.B. Bridgend also known as Afton Bridgend and Couplagate as Couplaliggate).

Map 1: Villages of New Cumnock | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

The Castle village developed around the site of Cumnock Castle, the ancient seat of the Barons of Cumnock that once stood on the castlehill overlooking the confluence of the Afton Water and River Nith. The castle was also referred to as Black Bog Castle [1].

The Rev. Mr James Young, minister of the parish of New Cumnock (1758-1795) in compiling the First Statistical Account of the parish (1790, published 1793) [2] noted ‘two villages, having been built near the church, and on Afton-water ‘. The church at the time was of course the original parish church built in 1659 on the castlehill, adjacent to the site of Cumnock Castle and the two villages were those of Castle and Afton Bridgend recorded in the OS Name Book (1855-57).

According to the returns to Dr. Webster in 1755, the number of souls was 1497; though, when the present incumbent was settled, about 1757, the number was little more than 1000. It may now amount to about 1200, two villages, having been built near the church, and on Afton-water, where there was but one house in 1757. There may be 40 births, near as many deaths, and about 10 marriages per annum.

New Cumnock, County of Ayrshire, OSA, Vol. VI, 1793

The church at the time was of course the original parish church built in 1659 on the castlehill, adjacent to the site of Cumnock Castle and the two villages were those of Castle and Afton Bridgend recorded in the OS Name Book (1855-57).

Old Castle of Cumnock

Part of the buildings of Cumnock Castle survived long after it had stopped functioning as a baronial seat. During the Covenanting times the names of ‘Patrick Gemmel in the old Castle of Cumnock, John Tennant and James Wilson at the Old Castle of Cumnock’ appear on a proclamation ‘for the apprehension of persons, who were supposed to have been under arms, or to have harboured those who were’ issued on the 5th May, 1684, by Charles II [3].

Patrick Gemmel, was one of the followers of the Covenanter preacher Richard Cameron, all of whom had a price on their heads, dead or alive, following the declaration at Sanquhar on 22nd June 1680, at which they disowned ‘Charles Stuart, who hath been reigning or rather (we may say) tyrannizing on the throne of Britain these years past‘. The Government’s response was swift and on the 30th June 1680 the Privy Council issued a warrant ‘for the apprehension of notorious Traitors and Rebels against Us and Our authority’ including ‘Patrick Gemmill, sone-in-law to Charles Logan, messenger at Cumnock Maines’ [4], known today as Castlemains.

Logans of Littlemains

In October 1684, parishioners of Cumnock (Old and New) were interrogated (questioned) under oath, by the authorities and were to give the names of any parishioners that were involved in non-conformist activities such as – failing to attend church, failing to have children baptized at church or attending conventicles. One of those questioned was the aforementioned Charles Logan, married and aged 50 yeirs or thereby, now residing in Litle Maynes of Cumnock. The minister also provided the list of heritors, or landowners, in the parish of Cumnock (Old and New) which included the Laird of Logan, where the lands of Logan stood to the east of the parish church of Old Cumnock. It is probable that Charles Logan was a kinsman.

At the beginning of the next century the following records of the baptisms of the children of James Logan and Margaret Montgomerie appear in the parish register –

  • 1708 May 16 Sarah Logan, Castle
  • 1710 Aug 27 Mary Logan, Castle
  • 1712 Sep 21 James Logan, Little Mains
  • 1715 Sep 18 Anna Logan, Castle
  • 1719 Feb 01 Marion Logan, Little Mains

The names Castle and Little Mains (‘of Cumnock’, now dropped) seem to be interchangeable as it reasonable to presume that the children were all born at the same place. James Paterson in the ‘History of the Counties of Ayr and Wigton’ quoting Robertson (‘Ayrshire Families’) noted that ‘George Logan of that Ilk, had two sons, Alan who succeeded and James supposed to have been of Castle Cumnock, whose eldest son William, purchased Camlarg in Dalmellington parish in 1741‘ [6,7]. This is clearly a reference to our James Logan of Little Mains and is another example of the names of Little Mains and Castle being interchangeable.

  • George Logan of that Ilk, is probably the Laird of Logan that appeared in the aforementioned list of heritors. Paterson also identified that he had two other sons, eldest son William who would succeed as William Logan of that Ilk and younger son, Hugh. However, there is no mention of Charles Logan of Little Mains. Could he have been a younger brother of George Logan of the Ilk?

James Logan died in July 1729 two years later the Will & Testament of ‘James Logan in Littlemains of Cumnock within the parrochin of New Cumnock‘ [Scotland’s People] reveals that in 1695 he married Margaret Montgomerie, daughter of Hew Montgomerie of Boreland [and Margaret Hamilton] and together they had a son, and presumably heir, ‘Hew Logan, some time in Little Creoch, now in Littlemains of Cumnock‘. William Logan in Beoch (later of Camlarg) is also mentioned in the will and it seems he may have been their second son.

  • Note the baptisms of Hew Logan and William Logan (some time between 1695 & 1706) pre-date the keeping of the existing register of baptisms in the parish of New Cumnock. William Logan married Agnes McAdam daughter of John McAdam of Craigengillan and the baptisms of four of their children born at Beoch (1730-1734) appear in the parish records, prior to him acquiring the lands of Camlarg in 1741.

The baptism records of the children of Hugh Logan and Marion McMillan show the first three were baptised at Creoch (1725-1729), while after the death of James Logan, the following nine children were all baptised at Little Mains (1731-1744).

  • 1725 Feb 10 Margaret Logan, Creoch
  • 1727 Jul 02 Mary Logan, Creoch
  • 1729 Nov 16 Elizabeth Logan, Creoch
  • 1731 Feb 07 Sarah Logan, Little Mains
  • 1733 May 13 William Logan, Little Mains
  • 1735 Apr 08 William Logan, Little Mains
  • 1736 Jun 06 Agnes Logan, Little Mains
  • 1737 Sep 25, William Logan, Little Mains
  • 1739 Jul 22, Janet Logan, Little Mains
  • 1741 Mar 20, John Logan, Little Mains
  • 1743 Jun 01, James Logan, Little Mains
  • 1744 Jun 17 Susanna Logan, Littlemains

The Logan connection in terms of tenancy of Little Mains / Castle appears to end with this branch of the family. It seemed that the name Little Mains had persevered with no reference to Castle. However, some years later the baptism records of the children of John Howat and Janet Gemmell, once again suggest that the farm-name of Little Mains and Castle were interchangeable –

  • 1754 Feb 26 William Howat, Little Mains
  • 1755 Jun 02 Helen Howat, Little Mains
  • 1759 Oct 07 Elizabeth Howat – no place given
  • 1762 Sep 24 Andrew Howat, Castle

To understand how the Castle village developed on the lands of Littlemains (or Castle) we turn now to another branch of the Logan family, namely the Logans of Knockshinnoch.

Logans of Knockshinnoch

In 1709, Thomas Logan, born at Newmylne of Straiton in 1647, purchased the property of Knockshinnoch and Culcreoch in the parish of New Cumnock from Hugh Douglas of Garallan & Knockshinnoch. Together, he and his second wife Jean Thomson had six children, including his eldest son and heir James Logan (b. 1708) and William Logan (b. 1717). James inherited the lands of Knockshinnoch following his father’s death in 1720 and these in turn, passed to his eldest son John Logan (b.1746) in 1790 [8].

Meanwhile in 1756, William Logan had purchased a parcel of lands in the parish of New Cumnock including – ‘the forty shilling land of Meiklemains, the merkland of Nether Dalhanna, the twenty shilling land of Littlemains, the lands of Over and Middle Parks‘ [9], and thereafter he was known as William Logan of Castlemains.

Map 2: William Logan’s lands | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

William Logan served as Sheriff Substitute of Ayr for a time as well as one of the Road Trustees for the county for 22 years (1767-1789) [10 McClure ]. Unfortunately, he was one of the many partners in the Douglas & Heron Bank, Ayr that failed in 1773, forcing him to eventually sell his New Cumnock lands.

In the Land Tax Rolls of 1803, his nephew, the aforementioned John Logan of Knockshinnoch is listed as the proprietor of Littlemains, while John Buchan Esq. (Writer to the Signet) is listed as the proprietor of Meiklemains, Middle Park, Little Park and Nether Dalhanna.

John Logan died on 9th March 1816, leaving debts of over £10,000 while the annual rents of his land was just over £1100 [8]. Five years later, ‘An Act for vesting the Estates of John Logan, late of Knockshinnoch, in the County of Ayr, in Trustees, to be sold, and the Proceeds thereof and of his Personal Estate to be applied in Payment of his Debts an the Provisions made for his Children, 23rd June 1821′ [11] provides an insight into how the lands of Little Mains in the past had been feued by John Logan’s great-uncle the aforementioned William Logan of Castlemains.

……..’all and whole the Lands called Castle or Little Mains, being part of the lands of Meiklemains of New Cumnock, and others, feued by Hugh Logan of Logan, from William Logan of Castlemains and Grizel Ferguson his Spouse’.

An Act for vesting the Estates of John Logan, late of Knockshinnoch, 1821

Of particular interest in this extract of the Act is confirmation that the name Castle was still considered as an alternative to Little Mains. This was also reflected in the New Cumnock Heritors Minutes of the period [12] –

According to the minute book of the heritors of New Cumnock, it appears that the proprietors of the parish met at the old castle, in September,1784, in order to define the march between the glebe and the farm land of Little Mains or Castle

Rev. John Warrick, History of Old Cumnock (1899)

Hugh Logan of Logan, the infamous ‘Laird of Logan’, was the grandson of the aforementioned Alan Logan of that Ilk, brother of James Logan in Little Mains of Cumnock. He was born and resided at the family’s Logan House in the parish of Old Cumnock. ‘The Logans of Logan, claimed kindred with their neighbours of Knockshinnoch, calling them cousins, but the latter would not admit the relationship‘ [8]. The exact relationship between Hugh Logan of Logan and William Logan of Castlemains is not clear. The Act also included the names of a number of people who had feued parts of the lands of Little Mains from Hugh Logan of Logan [11] –

…..’as the said Lands of Castle or Little Mains were possessed by William Wylie, Thomas Campbell, William Farquhar, John Crichton, Hugh McCrone, James Gemmell, John Howat, Andrew McCree, James Reid, Janet McCree, John Shaw, William Howat, John Crichton and Gilbert McAdam Esquire, All Feuars and Tenants therein, in order that the same might be sold, and the Price thereof applied to the Purposes of Trust.

An Act for vesting the Estates of John Logan, late of Knockshinnoch,1821
  • N.B. John Howat and William Howat may be the family of the Baptism Records at Little Mains (1754-1762). Gilbert McAdam Esq. was the father-in-law of John Logan of Knockshinnoch and former owner of the lands of Carcow, Ashmark and Laight [9].

Fortunately, several hand written copies of the transactions between Hugh Logan of Logan and some of the feuars of the lands of Little Mains can be found in the records of the Knockshinnoch estate, and below is a table of those transactions over the period of 1770-1782 [13 knock estates].

Feuars of lands of Littlemains

In each of these transactions the specification of the location of the lands that were feued followed a fixed template and fell into two main categories, i.e., those lands that lay to either the east or the west of the ‘high road’ that runs from the Bridge of Nith to the Old Mill.

For those that lay on the east of the road, then the western boundary was the high road while the eastern boundary was the Water of Afton. Typically, the north and south boundaries were lands feued to someone else, or still held by Hugh Logan of Logan.

For those that lay on the west of the road, then the eastern boundary was the road while the western boundary was a churchyard dyke and the north and south boundaries were other feued lands.

Map 3: Knockshinnoch Feus | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

An extract from the ‘Feu Contract betwixt Hugh Logan Esq. of Logan and James Lennox, cooper, New Cumnock, 1770′ is given below [13] –

That piece of ground being part of the lands of Littlemains in the parish of New Cumnock and shire of Ayr which lies on the east side of the High road that leads from the Bridge of Nith to the Old Mill in said Parish, consisting of one rood of land or thereby extending along the said Road for sixty two feet in front and so backwards towards Water of Afton and bounded by the piece of ground feued out to William Farquhar on the south, said Road in the West , the piece of ground possessed by John Howat on the north and the ground intervening between the said water and the subject hereby feued out on the East parts as the same as already laid off and presently possessed by said James Lennox*.

Knockshinnoch Estate Feu Book, No.1
  • *N.B. not to be confused with James Lennox of Greenhead [14]

A schematic (not to scale of course) of the above feus is shown below

Schematic of Knockshinnoch Estate Feu Leases (Robert Guthrie)
Kirkton of New Cumnock

It is interesting to note that in three of the feu contracts referenced above, i.e., those of Thomas Campbell, merchant, John Crichton, shoemaker and James Reid, shoemaker* all are identified as living at the Kirkton or Kirk Town of New Cumnock which certainly reflects the Rev. James Young’s observation of a ‘village being built near a church‘.

  • *Thomas Kirkland in the New Cumnock School Fellows Annual Magazine (1898) notes that ‘the stones which cradled the well of the castle were used in 1785 for building the property of James Reid, shoemaker (great great grandfather of our hall keeper, which property now belongs to Thomas Gibson, shoemaker, Castle.’ [15]

Clearly the name Kirkton was short-lived, unlike that, for example, in the Ayrshire village of Fenwick, where Kirkton to this day refers to lands in the vicinity of the town’s 17th century church.

Castle / Castle village

The name Castle ultimately prevailed, no longer as an alternative to the name of Little Mains farm but applied more broadly initially to those properties being built on the ‘twenty shilling lands of Little Mains’ and through time to the major thoroughfare in the village of New Cumnock, stretching from the Old Mill to the Nith Bridge . In turn the name Little Mains disappeared from the landscape and records of the parish going forward,

An early reference to Castle is found in the New Cumnock School-Fellows’ Annual Magazine (1898) in a quote from John Muir’s Diary [15,16] –

  • 1786 March 23rd, Death, Ann Farquhar, tailor, Wyllie’s mother in Castle
  • 1794 Marriage, Andrew Wylie to Agnes Baird, both living in the Castle

It is interesting to note the form ‘the Castle‘ which is common use to this day, albeit the formal name is Castle. The first two references to Castle, as a village name as opposed to a farm name, that appear in the Old Parish Records of Baptisms are –

  • 1797 March 26, Mary L. daughter to John Murdoch and Marion Kerr in Castle
  • 1796 March 14, Margaret L. daughter to John Crichton and Jennet Baird New Cumnock
  • 1798 January 21, Agnes L. daughter to John Crichton and Jennet Baird in Castle’
  • 1799 August 11, John L. son to John Crichton and Jennet Baird in Castle’

However, it should be noted that the birth place of later children of Crichton & Baird families is recorded as New Cumnock. Similarly the birth place of 12 children baptised (1801-1818) following the aforementioned Wyllie & Baird marriage ‘in the Castle‘ is also recorded as New Cumnock. Early indications that the names Castle and New Cumnock applied to villages were synonmous.

William Pagan, Castle or Littlemains

Returning to ‘An Act for vesting the Estates of John Logan, late of Knockshinnoch (1821)’, the list of Logan’s tenants at that time were –

  • John McKnight – Carcow, Ashmark, Dunshill, Liglaff and Culcreoch
  • William Wilson – Mains of Knockshinnoch
  • John Logan – Laight and Legate
  • William Pagan – Castle of Littlemains*

*should read Castle or Littlemains in line with other text, ‘all and whole the Lands called Castle or Little Mains’

Those tenants with ‘Small possessions set on long Tacks‘ also included William Pagan and among others the aforementioned John Crichton, William Wyllie, James Reid (shoemaker), Andrew Brown, John Hair in Muirfoot.

William’s grandparents were William Pagan and Jane McMillan who had raised their family at Creoch, New Cumnock (1742-1752). His grandfather later farmed at Castlemains, where he passed away in 1786.

William’s parents were Alexander Pagan and Jean Logan, sister of John Logan of Knockshinnoch and together they had eight children Ronald (1776, Darmalloch, Old Cumnock), Archibald (1778, New Cumnock), William (1779, NC), Thomina (1781, Mains, NC), James (1782,NC), George (1785, Kyle, Auchinleck), Margaret (1786, NC) and Martha (1788, NC). Unfortunately of the six children born in New Cumnock, only the birthplace of Thomina is recorded, that of Mains, i.e Castle Mains. William was born only two years earlier and it is likely he was born there too. Certainly in his adult years William looked after the running of Castlemains farm and the family’s shop nearby for a time [17].

By the 1830’s, Charles Buchanan Esq. had acquired the lands of Knockshinnoch and Littlemains [Scotland Places Land Tax Roll] and in 1837, he leased a piece of land to John Hair, farmer at Muirfoot in order to establish ‘a village common or green‘, later known as Castle Green [19], which formed part of the ‘lands of Castlefarm‘ [see below]. The following lease also makes a reference to ‘several feus belonging to said William Pagan‘ [18]-

Lease betwixt Charles Buchanan Esq. and John Hair, of a piece of ground between the feus of the Water of Afton as a common for the use of the Village for 999 years. Tack Duty 10 /- no composition due on entry of heirs – Lease dated 9th December 1837 and 25th Apr 1838.

Lets to the said John Hair …. for the use of the village of New Cumnock except as to the grass as aforementioned All and whole that piece of land measuring two roods and thirty two falls being part of the lands of Castlefarm adjacent to New Cumnock lying on the east side of said village of New Cumnock* and bounded as follows viz On the North by a piece of ground claimed and at present possessed by George McKnight in Old Mill, on the East by the Water of Afton, on the South by a stone dyke extending from the corner of William Pagans feu to the water of Afton, the road to the farm of Castlemains passing through the same and on the West by several feus belonging to said William Pagan, Mrs Campbell the said John Hair and George McKnight carter lying within the parish of New Cumnock and shire of Ayr, …

Knockshinnoch Estate Feu Book, No.2

*N.B. village of New Cumnock at the time was synonomous with village of Castle.

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The following long term lease between Charles Buchanan Esq. and William Pagan makes references to Pagan’s existing feus and those of his tenants, as well as it seems Pagan’s plans to build houses as part of the development of the Castle village.

Copy of Tack between Charles Snodgrass Buchanan Esq. and William Pagan for 999 years from Martinmas 1837. Dated 9th Dec. 1837 & 25th April 1838.

….all and whole lands that piece of ground with houses built thereon, marked No. 10 in the articles of sale of the Estate of Knockshinnoch bounded in the north by the said William Pagan’s former feu, on the east by the village common or bleaching green, on the south by the Ministers Glebe and on the west by the Public road leading to Dumfries the road to the farm of Castlemains passing through the same, as now possessed by the said William Pagan and his tenants,…

….the said William Pagan obliges to uphold & keep in good order during the tack the haill houses built or to be built upon the said piece of land and to leave them at the expiration thereof in a sufficient tenantable condition, as also the dykes inclosing the same in a sufficient fencible condition –

Knockshinnoch Estate Feu Book, No.2

Today there is no trace of the houses built by William Pagan, which were demolished in the 1960’s creating a gap site. A relatively recent housing development is shown on the right.

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  • Photograph 1 (2013) shows a clear view from the Castle Green to the Castle Hotel (previously known as Castle Inn).
  • Postcard 1 (date?) is a close-up of the white-washed building on the left, with Castle Inn across the road. The pedestrian on the pavemement is just about to reach the junction, on the left hand-side, of the path from Castle to Castle Mains farm (via ford and later stepping stones).
  • Postcard 2 (date?) is looking north with the white-washed buildings on the right.
  • Photograph 2 (1960s) shows one of the whitewashed buildings still standing with the ground floor showing a shop window. The nieghbouring white-washed building has been demolished. On the left hand side of road there is a sign post ‘To the Car Park’ on Castle Green.
Maps 4: John Hair & William Pagan leases (OS Map 1856) | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

The following sources make a reference to William Pagan

  • 1825 Pigot Directory: William Pagan is listed as a cattle-dealer and a Mr. William Pegan is named as the Post Master [20]. In the 1837 Pigot Directory William Pagan is listed as a farmer and Mr. William Pagon is named as the Post Master [21]. It is possible that these were all the one and the same William Pagan, who seemingly doubled up as the Post Master.
  • 1841 Census: Although the name of this William Pagan appears to be missing from the census record his eldest brother Archibald (62) and youngest brother George (56), farmer are living together in one of the 40 households recorded at Castle, now home to 155 residents.
  • 1851 Census: William Pagan (72), farmer appears as the head of the household living with his brother George (66), farmer and his eldest sister Ronald (75) in Castle; all three siblings were The number of residents at Castle increasing to 240.
  • 1855 Valuation Rolls: Neil Snodgrass Buchanan had succeeded to the lands of Carcow, Knockshinnoch & Laight along with the remainder of ‘Castle or Little Mains’ properties and their associated tenants recorded as –
  1. Castle Lands – N.S. Buchanan
    • Castle Meadow Hay – N.S. Buchanan
  2. Castle Inn – John Bryan (see Castle Inn below)

The 1855 Valuation Rolls also recorded some 20 other proprietors in Castle (albeit recorded as New Cumnock village), including William Pagan, whom as well as owning his own home also leased out property/properties to ‘sundry tenants under £4‘. The rolls also revealed that William Pagan farmed the Marquis of Bute’s lands of Burnton and Hillhead in the parish of New Cumnock while George Pagan farmed Waterside on the banks of the River Nith, part of M.T. Carmichael’s Castlemains estate.

William Pagan passed away on 4th August 1858, aged 79 years at his home in Castle. News of his death made the papers after George Pagan had found a letter written by Robert Burns in his brother’s possessions [22] –

A REMINISCENCE of BURNS – The Ayr Observer states that the following original letter of the immortal bard was recently found amongst the papers of the late Mr William Pagan, New Cumnock and is now in the possession of his brother. It appears to have been written to Burns from the Castle Inn, New Cumnock whilst soujourning for a night in that hostelry; and although a mere note, is interesting and highly characteristic of the warm-hearted poet.

The Scotsman , Saturday, 25, 1858

The letter in question was addressed to Thomas Campbell, Pencloe in the upper reaches of Glen Afton and penned by Burns in August 1786. Chris Rollie in ‘Robert Burns and New Cumnock’ explains that the letter was sent from John Merry’s Inn, Cumnock and not the Castle Inn, New Cumnock, as initially thought by many. Burns expressed his intention to visit Campbell and John Logan of Knockshinnoch & Laight but ‘a conjunction of circumstances conspired against me‘. George Pagan later sent the manuscript to Peter Hately Waddell [9], author of the ‘Life and Works of Robert Burns’ .

George Pagan

The following sources make a reference to George Pagan

  • 1861 Census: George Pagan is described as ‘Fundholder and Farmer of 80 acres’, presumably managing William’s estate and still farming at Waterside. He was still living at Castle with his sister Ronald, who passed away two years later.
  • 1865 Valuation Rolls: The Trustees of N.S.Buchanan own Carcow & Ashmark, Knockshinnoch and Laight along with the remains of the former ‘Castle or Little Mains’ properties of which their associated tenants were –
  1. Castlefarm – George Pagan, farmer
  2. Castlefarm – James Young, innkeeper
  3. Castlefarm – George Milligan
  4. Castlefarm – season tenant
    • Meadow Hay – Trustees N.S. Buchanan
  5. House & Castle Inn – James Young, innkeeper (See Castle Inn below)
  • 1871 Census: George Pagan now described as a Retired Draper. Indeed, as a young man George followed in his father Sandy’s footsteps with door-to-door selling of material for dresses, curtains and bed linen. In his early 20’s he left home for Lancashire and “joined the growing numbers of men called ‘travelling Scotchmen’ who used their knowledge of selling cloth from house to house on credit” [17]. On his return to New Cumnock he acquired the Wool Mill & Offices at Mansfield Village and combined the running of that business with farming at Waterside.
  • 1874 Valuation Rolls: The Trustees of N.S.Buchanan own Ashmark, Coalcreoch, Liglaff, Knockshinnoch and Laight along with remains of the former ‘Castle or Little Mains’ properties, of which their associated tenants were –
  1. Curling Pond Park – James Young, innkeeper
  2. Grass Park – Alexander Kirkland
  3. Mosspark – George Milligan, carter
  4. Grasspark – George Pagan
  5. Meadow Hay – Trustees
  6. House & Land of Castle Inn – James Young, innkeeper
  7. Shop – Charles Mader?, watchmaker
  8. Shop – James Brown, saddler
  9. Shop – Miss Young, dressmaker

This would be the last entry of George Pagan in the Valuations Rolls as he passed away at his home in Castle, New Cumnock that year, aged 89. The Pagan family plot lies against the northern wall of the Auld Kirkyard

Pagan family plot Auld Kirkyard, New Cumnock (Robert Guthrie 2010)
  • William Pagan late in Kyle died in 1785 and Jane McMillan his spouse died in 1795
  • Alexander their son (d.1817), aged 74 & his spouse Jane Logan (d.1831), aged 84
  • Archibald Pagan their son (d.1844), aged 66
  • William Pagan their son (d.1858), aged 79
  • Ronald Pagan their daughter (d.1868), aged 86
  • George Pagan their son (d.1874), aged 89
Traders and Private Persons of the Castle Village

In early 1876 the following petition was ‘numerously and influentially signed’ and sent to Lord John Manners, the Postmaster-General in Benjamin Disraeli’s Conservative government [23]-

To the Right Hon. Postmaster General, the petition of the undersigned traders and private persons of the Castle Village of New Cumnock – humbly showeth, that the Castle Village is the chief place of business for the town and parish of New Cumnock, there being thirty shops and places of business in it, that is 570 yards distant from the post office and 400 yards from the letter box as shewn in the accompanying sketch: that owing to Postal arrangements and country habits, the larger part of the letters are written and posted at night; that this village is not lighted at night, by means of public lamps: and that it is situated in a high and exposed district, where winter storms are very violent : consequently to go and come a quarter of mile to the nearest letter box is both inconvenient, annoying wasteful of time, and injurious to health. For these and other reasons, may it therefore please your Lordship to take the foregoing into your favourable consideration and grant us a Letter Box in the centre of the Castle Village, and your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, &c., &c. signed at New Cumnock this 29th day of January , A.D. 1876.

The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, February 17, 1876
Newspaperclipping of the Castle village merchants
Castle (north & centre)

The petition appears to have been successful and certainly in the Ordnance Survey map (1895) the Post Office (P.O.) is shown at the centre of the heavily populated part of Castle, across from the Kirk Port, while to the rear of Post Office now stood the new Gas Works. The ford to Castle Mains farm now supported with stepping stones, ‘The Steppies’.

Map 56: North end of Castle (OS Map 1895)| Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
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Castle (south)

Considerable changes from the OS Map (1856) on which only the Post Office, Crown Inn and Parish Church were shown. Although the Post Office was relocated to the centre of the Castle, a letter box (L.B.) remained near the Crown Inn. The new buildings on the left, north of the Old Mill were the Royal Bank Building and later the Doctor’s House (initially called Glenafton and then St. Blanes from the turn of the century) and Surgery. Next door were Co-operative Buildings called Ladeside after the mill lead that run behind it. Beyond the parish church is the Town Hall built in 1888 and behind that the Bowling Green opened in 1870.

On the right hand side of the road is New Cumnock School , built in 1873, and the School House, while further along the road is the Police Station built in 1874. Next is the building named Inverafton, owned by Dr. Richard Gilbertson Herbertson which was tenanted by Thomas Love, flesher and Forbes Morrison, druggist.

Map 7: South end of Castle (OS Map 1895) |Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

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In later years the gaps between south Castle and north Castle were filled with chiefly private houses on the west side and community ammenities on the east – Community Centre, Library, Tennis Court, Games Hall (although all of these are now gone) and a Swimming Pool. The Crown Hotel has also gone with plans for Social Housing on the site now progressing.

Although a number of buildings have gone, and a few are lying empty the New Cumnock Primary School, Town Hall, Swimming Pool and Loch Park home of Glenafton Athletic have all undergone major transformations while plans are afoot to redevelop the Castle Hotel and Trotters shop.

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The place-name Castle, in the context of a village, emerged as properties began to be built on the castle-hill where once stood Cumnock Castle, the seat of the Barons of Cumnock from 13th-16th century. In 1650 the parish of Cumnock was divided into the two new parishes of Old Cumnock and New Cumnock and in 1659 the parish church of New Cumnock was erected on the castle-hill. As discussed above some of the addresses a .

The place-name Castle, in the context of a village, emerged as properties began to be built on the castle-hill, the site of Cumnock Castle. It appears to have fought off competion from the Kirkton/Kirktown of New Cumnock given to the properties built near the original parish church, which was also built on the castle hill. The village began to expand with properties being built on the lands of Little Mains (of Cumnock), however as discussed above the name Little Mains and Castle were interchangeable for a period before the latter persevered. Not only did the name Castle village triumph over a potential Kirktown village and Littlemains village but Castle village stretched out a long tentacle southward toward the Old Mill with properties built on either side of the road. Eventually Castle village was often simply referred to as New Cumnock, while Castle is the name applied to the main thoroughfare thrown the town.

2. Castle Inn

In the 1780’s the Castle Inn was kept by Mrs Moore who had previously served as housekeeper to Captain Gilbert McAdam at Laight. He was the father-in-law of John Logan of Knockshinnoch, who would later acquire the lands and house of Laight where he and his family would settle. By this time Mrs Moore was inn-keeper at the Castle Inn and it was to the care of Mrs Moore (More) that Robert Burns sent a letter to his friend John Logan on 7th August 1789 to inform him that he had completed his poem ‘The Kirk’s Alarm’ [9].

New Cumnock Burns Club plaque of Castle Hotel (Robert Guthrie)

It is not clear when Mrs Moore gave up running the Castle Inn or who took her place.

In 1804 William McKnight and his wife Agnes Crichton began their tenure as inn-keepers at the Castle Inn.  William was the son of George McKnight and Betty Mitchell, his mother also kept an inn at the Old Mill farm while Agnes was the daughter of John Crichton and Margaret Baird, her father was the innkeeper at Cross Keys Inn, Pathhead.

The Pigot Directory of 1825 lists the innkeepers of New Cumnock as – Thomas Bairdow, James Brown, John Crichton and William McKnight, Castle Inn [20].

William McKight passed away in 1831, ′LATE IN CASTLE INN FOR 27 YEARS’ and his widow Agnes had the wisdom to have the Crown Inn built, adjacent to the new parish church, erected in 1833, to catch the passing trade. Agnes appears in the Pigot Directory of 1837 under the list of Innkeepers & Vinters in New Cumnock as – James Brown, John Crichton, Alexander Dalziel (Castle), Alexander Kirkland, William Laidlaw , Agnes McKnight (Crown), Agnes Murdock and David Wood [21].

Although the Castle Inn does not appear as an address in the 1841 Census , Alexander Dalziel is recorded as an Innkeeper living at Castle. So too, is James Brown while in the 1851 Census his widow Jean Brown (nee Muir) is recorded as innkeeper, at Castle.

As discussed above, the 1855 Valuation Rolls identified Neil Snodgrass Buchanan Esq. as the owner of Castle Inn and John Bryan as atenant, i.e. innkeeper.

The entry in the Ordnance Survey (1855-57) for Inn [Castle] was not very encouraging –

A very poor inn, neither the best nor the best supported in the village

The ‘Authorities for Spelling’ were Mr Johnstone, schoolmaster Bridgend, Mr. Hunter, Castle as well as Mr. Bryan, Castle Inn.

John Bryan was born in Old Cumnock, and following the death of his wife at an early age, he settled at Castle, New Cumnock initially finding work as a Carrier & Cheese-merchant. There he married his house-servant, Jenny Oliver and together they had a daughter Janet, born on November 1854, at the Castle Inn. However, it appears that not only was the Castle Inn in a bad way, but so too was Bryan, his name appearing in the list of Scotch Bankrupts regularly published in the newspapers at that time [24] –

SCOTCH BANKRUPTS, Sequestrations: John Bryan, innkeeper, and grain, cheese and wool merchant at New Cumnock. Henry C. Gray, Sheriff-Clerk-Depute at Ayr, has been appointed interim factor, and the meeting to elect trustee and commissioners will be held in the Castle Inn, New Cumnock, 13th September, at two o’clock afterrnoon.

Greenock Advertiser, Friday , August 31, 1855

Other newspaper reports indicate creditors met at the Castle Inn on 13th September, 20th Ocotber and then again on 12th November 1855.

Matters seemed to have improved for John Bryan in the years ahead. For example, in November 1859, about 20 gentleman of the Conservative Party, chaired by John Hyslop Esq. dined together at the Castle Inn and ‘The evening and dinner reflected the greatest credit upon mine host and hostess of the Castle Inn‘ [25]. However, although John Bryan, innkeeper and his family were still in the Castle Inn, at the time of the 1861 Census they were soon on the move with Bryan returning to his family home in Old Cumnock while his wife returned to her native Dumfriesshire along with their daughter. It was thedawn of the Young dynasty at Castle Inn.

Youngs of Castle Inn

James Young, was the son of John Young farmer at Lowes, New Cumnock and Mary McMillan. He left the farming life and at the 1861 Census, James 30, lived at Castle where he worked as a grocer & china merchant . Nearby, lived Mary Walker, daughter of Mungo Walker, carter, Castle and Mary Walker. She worked as a house-servant to Margaret Gilbert, innkeeper at Castle (but not specified as Castle Inn). The following year the couple were married at the Castle Inn and the year after that their daughter Mary was born in Castle Inn. In the 1865 Valuation Rolls (see above) James Young, innkeeper is recorded as the tenant of the House & Castle Inn and by 1875 also the tenant of Curling Pond Park – the roaring game always helps with a roaring trade!

Together James and Mary Young had 4 daughters – Mary, Jane (Jeanie), Jessie and Agnes and 4 sons – John, James, William and Alexander.

James Young became a hugely influential figure in the parish. For many years the people of New Cumnock had been crying out for a public hall and it was thanks to ‘our energetic and public spirited townsman, Mr James Young, Castle Inn‘ that this became a reality. At the laying of the memorial stone on 26th April 1879, Dr. Herbertson, as acting as Right Worshipful Master of the St. John’s Lodge paid tribute to James Young [26] –

Mr Young has always shown himself deeply interested in whatsever benefited or tended to increase the comfort and convenience of the district, and in projecting this hall I hesistate not to say that he is conferring one of the greatest benefits on the parish, and I trust that it may not prove unprofitable to himself.

The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, May 3, 1879

The Castle Inn Hall was formally opened on Friday 17th October 1879 ‘with much success and with a gand amateur concert under the auspices of the New Cumnock Bowling Club. The hall was filled in every part and it is computed that about 500 persons were present, including Lady Stuart Menteth from Mansfield House [27]. A fortnight later, William Rushbury’s touring Concert Party played in front of ‘a hall filled by a large and appreciative audience, who testified by repeated encores, the approaval of the whole proceedings.’ [ash nov 1 ,1879]

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 15 July 1882 [29]

Castle Inn to Castle Hotel

Mary Young died in 1886, aged 47, and in March 1901, her widower James Young, innkeeper, aged 77, passed away at the Castle Inn. It is very likely that Young owned the Castle Inn and the adjoining buildings at that time (although he was still recorded as a tenant in the 1895 Valuation Rolls). Sadly the headstone of Mary and James Young in the Auld Kirkyard is badly damaged and rests against the upright stone at the lair of the Young family in Lowes.

Mary Walker & James Young , Auld Kirkyard (Robert Guthrie)

Whatever the case the Census Records of 1901 show that all but one of the seven siblings were living together at what was now known as the Castle Hotel. Meanwhile, brother John Young, posting master, is living in an adjoining house with his wife Jean Highet. Interestingly, the address of the houses adjoining the Castle Hotel is given as Castlegrove, perhaps a reference to the small group of large trees that grew round the south side of the buildings (see Castlegrove below).

The 1905 Valuation Rolls confirm that the Young family owned the Castle Hotel, namely – John Young and James Young, posting masters; Jeanie, Jessie, Mary & Agnes Young, Castle Hotel & Stables; William Young, solicitor, New Cumnock and Alex Young, Ironlosh, Balmaclellan, New Galloway. The Young family not only owned the Castle Hotel but also the adjoining houses, shops and office .

    Shops and houses with Castle Inn and adjacent house and the four Young sisters

    From left to right 1. and 2. shops and buildings 3. Castle Inn and William Young’s office 4. Castle Inn house with the four Young sisters posing outside.

    Through time the four sisters took ownership of the hotel and although brother William’s solicitor’s office was located in the adjoining building, he lived at Jubilee Cottage located on a small hill overlooking the north end of Castle.

    In 1920, William Young was one of driving forces in establishing a second cinema in New Cumnock (the current Afton Cinema, was located in the miners’ rows at Connel Park) and at the same time finding a new use for his later father James’ brainchild, the Castle Inn Hall [30].

    A private company has been formed under the style of New Cumnock Picture House Lt., and having a capital of £4,000 . A great part of the money is being subscribed locally , so there is considerable interest the new venture in the town. James Tweedie, motor agent and William Young, solicitor, both of New Cumnock are at head of the new company, and were the subscribers for registration purposes.

    Kinematograph Weekly, September 30, 1920

    Three years later, Victor Biddall was appointed manager, having prerviously managed La Scala, Dumbarton. Biddall from Annan, had a life-long experience in the entertainment business and the ‘Biddall’s Illusions’ show was known throughout the country. His interests had turned to cinema and ‘his past record of success, his experience as an exhibitor, and knowledge of public taste should stand him in good stead at New Cumnock‘ [31]. Some 15 years later ‘The New Cumnock Picture House Ltd.’ went into voluntary liquidation [32] and by the time of the 1940 Valuation Rolls, Victor Biddall had acquired the property and renamed it the Regal Cinema, although it was better known locally as Biddall’s.

    Regal Cinema adjacent to the Castle Hotel ( Courtesy Donald McIve [33]r)

    The tenants at the Young’s properties in 1940 were Michael Clark, shoemaker; Sarah Logan, spinster, who kept a sweetie shop; Alexander (Sanny) Gibson, grocer; William Young, solicitor’s office; John Young, posting master; Samuel Findlay, miner; Mrs Margaret Currie, widow; Marion Sharp, spinster, housekeeper; Thomas McMillan, carting contractor; Robert Steele, miner and of course Jeanie, Jessie, Mary & Agnes Young, Castle Hotel.

    Newspaper Clippings: Biddall’s (1954) & Castle Hotel (1983)

    The four Young sisters Jessie (d. 1950), Jeanie (d.1951), Agnes (d.1958) and Mary (d.1967) lie together in the family plot at Afton Cemetery alongside brothers Alexander (d.1940) and William (d. 1951) while brother John Young (d.1854) and his family lie nearby.

    Biddall’s closed in the 1960’s and the building later demolished after a fire. Similarly the two buildings (1&2) at the south-end of the Castle Hotel wer demolished in 1994 after being gutted by fire [33]. Thanks to New Cumnock Environmental Regeneration Volunteers (NERV) a wonderful mural, depicting elements of New Cumnock’s history, was painted on the now exposed gable-end of the building. Later, a garden was built in the gap area in memory of my late mother Mary Morrison ‘who worked tirelessly for the community‘ and later still a statue to Robert Burns was added to the garden [34].

    Sadly the building fell into a further state of disrepair and the building, like one of a number in Castle, was left to stand empty and the mural was painted over to protect the wall.

    Castle Hotel and New Cumnock Mural (Robert Guthrie 2011)

    Sadly the building fell into a further state of disrepair and stood empty for a period while the mural was painted over to protect the gable-end from further damage. Thanks to the efforts of the New Cumnock Development Trust (NCDT) the building has been acquired and a plan for its future in place.

    Castle Hotel renovations (Robert Guthrie 2022)

    3. Castlegrove

    In the 1901 Census, the houses and shops adjoining the Castle Hotel were addressed as Castle Grove. The tenants at that time were John Young (son James Young), coach hirer and his family; David Ferguson, general labourer and his family; John Wilson, confectioner and his famiy; James Smith, ostler; Thomas McDonald, coal miner and family; William Sharp, blacksmith and his family, including sons William, grocer’s vanman and John, grocer’s apprentice; William Dickson, coal miner and his family and 76 year-old Janet Young, confectioner.

    The name also appears in the form Castlegrove on the headstone of ‘Jean Highet, wife of John Young, posting master, who died at Castlegrove on 19th February 1937‘. The name is less well known today, however it appears have survived for some time.

    In the summer of 1958, four teachers from the town – Betty Lees along with her sister Phae, Betty Turner and Jessie Highet Young (daughter of Jean and John Young) set off on a Highland Tour. Betty took it upon herself to capture their adventure in verse and on their return home she penned this verse, in which Jessie at Castlegrove was first to depart [35] –

    Noo the unloadin’ has tae start;
    Wi’ Jessie at Castlegrove we part;
    Glendyne sees Phae hop oot o’ the cairt
    Then tae the Coupla we came
    Sir Mortimer an’ Betty remain in that airt
    An’ wi’ Billy I gae hame.

    Betty Lees, August 1958

    The place-name grove is probably a reference to the small group of large trees growing round the southside of the building and the adjoining garden of what was the Church of Scotland manse at the time.

    Castle Hotel and adjoining houses, shops and office with trees to the south

    4. Castlefarm

    The place-name Castlefarm appeared in the aforementioned lease between Charles Buchanan Esq. and John Hair in 1837 in order to establish ‘a village common or green’ and a brief extract of the lease is repeated here [18] –

    All and whole that piece of land measuring two roods and thirty two falls being part of the lands of Castlefarm adjacent to New Cumnock lying on the east side of said village of New Cumnock*

    Knockshinnoch Estate Feu Book, No.2

    *village of New Cumnock at the time was synonomous with village of Castle.

    Parts of the lands of Castlefarm between Castle Green on the east and Castle Hotel on the west (Robert Guthrie 2013)

    Castlefarm also appeared in the Valuation Rolls of 1865 associated the following tenants – George Pagan, farmer; James Young, innkeeper; George Milligan and an unnamed season tenant.

      Chris Rollie in ‘Robert Burns and New Cumnock’ suggests that ‘the oldest part of the Castle Inn appears originally to have been a farmhouse and was probably built at some time in the early to mid 18th century‘ [9]. The oldest part, is the building to the right of the inn with the gable-end, and its ornamental roundel, facing east.

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      It is reasonable to assume that this was farmhouse of Castlefarm. Furthermore having established that the names Castle and Little Mains were interchangeable, then it is also reasonable to assume that oldest part of the Castle Inn was Little Mains farmhouse.

      Although it doubless has gone through many modifications since Charles Logan of Lityl Maynes of Cumnock and his family lived there in 1684, it is still possible to visualise the landscape of that period. The ruins of Cumnock Castle on the castle hill alongside the Parish Kirk, now 25 years old, while nearby is Little Mains farm from which runs a track down to the Afton Water and the ford to the Maynes of Cumnock.

      It appears that post-division of the parish name of Cumnock into the two new parishes of the Old Cumnock and New Cumnock that those place-names containing the place-name element Cumnock were considered to cause confusion. Little Mains of Cumnock became Little Mains and then changed to Castle, while Maynes of Cumnock became Castle Mains [35]. Similarly Mylne of Cumnock became Old Mill [36] while requests to change the name of New Cumnock fell on deaf ears [37].

      Maps
      Reproduced with the Permission of National Library of Scotland
      https://maps.nls.uk/
      Images used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.
      Map 1: Ordnance Survey Maps – Six-inch 1st edition, Scotland, 1843-1882 (1857) | villages of New Cumnock
      Map 2: Ordnance Survey, One-inch to the mile maps of Scotland, 2nd Edition – 1885-1900 (1895) | William Logan’s Lands
      Map 3: Ordnance Survey Maps – Six-inch 1st edition, Scotland, 1843-1882 (1857) | Knockshinnoch Feus
      Map 4: Ordnance Survey Maps – 25 inch 1st edition, Scotland, 1855-1882 (1856) |John Hair & William Pagan feus
      Map 5: Ordnance Survey Maps – 25 inch 2nd and later editions, Scotland, 1892-1949 (1895) |Castle (north and central)
      Map 6: Ordnance Survey Maps – 25 inch 2nd and later editions, Scotland, 1892-1949 (1895) | Castle (south)
      Ordnance Survey Name Books
      By Permission of Scotland’s Places
      scotlandsplaces.gov.uk
      Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Castle (a village)
      Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Inn (Castle Inn)

      Scotland’s People
      https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
      Old Parish Records, Births, Marriages, Deaths, Census Records, Valuations Rolls, Wills & Testaments, Farm Tax Rolls.
      References
      [1] New Cumnock Place-Names | Black Bog Castle and Moat
      [2] The Statistical Accounts of Scotland 1791-1845, New Cumnock, County of Ayrshire, OSA, Vol. VI, 1793
      [3] Proclamation ‘for the apprehension of persons, who were supposed to have been under arms, or to have harboured those who were’ issued on the 5th May, 1684, by Charles II
      [4] Privy Council for the apprehension of notorious Traitors and Rebels against Us and Our authority
      [5] Henry Paton (Editor), The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, Third Series, Vol IX, A.D. 1684, P.543-547
      [6] James Paterson, ‘History of the County of Ayr and Wigton’, Vol. I Kyle, Part Two
      [7] William Robertson, Historic Ayrshire Families
      [8] J.M.H., Logans of Knockshinnoch (1885)
      [9] Chris Rollie, ‘Robert Burns and New Cumnock’
      [10] David McLure, Ayrshire Notes, History Antiquities Archaeology Natural History, Autumn No. 5, 1993, ‘William Logan of Castlemains’,
      [11] An Act for vesting the Estates of John Logan, late of Knockshinnoch’
      [12] Rev. John Warrick, A History of Old Cumnock
      [13] Knockshinnoch Feu Books 1 (personal copy)
      [14] New Cumnock Place-Names| Greenhead (in progress)
      [15] New Cumnock Schoolfellows’ Annual Magazine (1899)
      [16] John Muir Diary (personal copy)
      [17] Family History Patches, The Logans
      [18] Knockshinnoch Feu Books 2 (personal copy)
      [19] New Cumnock Place-Names | Castle Green
      [20] Pigot & Co.’s new commercial directory of Scotland for 1825-6 | New Cumnock
      [21] Pigot and Co.’s national commercial directory for the whole of Scotland and of the Isle of Man for 1837 | New Cumnock
      [22] British Newspaper Archive |The Scotsman , Saturday, 25, 1858
      [23] British Newspaper Archive |Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, February 17, 1876
      [24] British Newspaper Archive |Greenock Advertiser, Friday , August 31, 1855
      [25] British Newspaper Archive |The Kilmarnock Post, November 12, 1859
      [26] British Newspaper Archive |The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, May 3, 1879
      [27] British Newspaper Archive |The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Oct 25, 1879
      [28] British Newspaper Archive |The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Nov 1, 1879
      [29] British Newspaper Archive |The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Jul 15, 1882
      [30] British Newspaper Archive|Kinematograph Weekly, September 30, 1920
      [31] British Newspaper Archive|Kinematograph Weekly, March 15, 1923
      [32] British Newspaper Archive|Kinematograph Weekly, November 24, 1938
      [33] Donald McIver, Old New Cumnock (1997)
      [34] New Cumnock History |Burns Statue and New Cumnock Mural
      [35] New Cumnock Heritge|Betty Lees, Highland Holiday 1958
      [35] New Cumnock Place-Names| Castle Mains (in progress)
      [36] New Cumnock Place-Names|Old Mill (in progress)
      [37] New Cumnock Place-Names|New Cumnock (in progress)