Suggested Meaning:Richard’s holm
First element:Brittonic dol- Gaelic dail ‘haugh’
Second element:Personal name: Richard
Blaeu Coila (1654):No Entry
OS Names Book (1855-57):
Location:Ordnance Survey (1892-1960)
Other Early Forms
Dalrikart (1521), Dalricart (1524), Dalrechart (1532), Ricard (1535), grain mill of Nith (1549), Dalrickout milne (1671), Dalriketmilne (1684)

Dalricket holds a special place in sparking my interest in local place-names. As a teenager in the New Cumnock Local and History Club I had for the first time become aware of the two Covenanter memorials in the parish which in turn necessitated a trip to the local library (yes, we had one then!) to take out the Reverend Robert Simpson’s “Traditions of the Covenanters” [1], the number one book in the club’s reading list. After working through the numerous New Cumnock Covenanting traditions my attention was drawn to the appendix and the ‘Glossary of Celtic Names’ and the New Cumnock names including the unforgettable –

DALRICKET, field of king’s slaughter.

Robert Simpson’s ‘Traditions of The Covenanters’

However, a place-name lesson was quickly learned after another trip to the library to take out Hugh Lorimer’s, “A Corner of Old Strathclyde’ [2], second book on the club’s reading list. The main thrust of the work was to associate the ‘family tree’ of the Dark Age king Urien of Rheged with the place-names of the parishes New Cumnock and Old Cumnock. Key to this was Lorimer’s view that Dalricket was the equivalent of Dunragit, Wigtownshire and was a Rheged name.

DALRICKET, Dal– ‘a hold, a portion’ and –Ricket ‘Rheged’.

Hugh Lorimer F.S.A ‘A Corner of Old Strathclyde’

The lesson learned – one place-name can have two different meanings, unless of course in this case Dalricket was the place that Urien had his head cut-off by Llofan Llaf Difo!

The Reverend Simpson did not expand on his derivation of Dalricket which presumably was –ricket is Galeic righ cath ‘king’s battle’?

The name Dalricket does not appear on Blaeu’s Coila Province (1654), although there is a ‘mil‘ , albeit on the opposite bank of the Nith and further east. On William Roy’s Military Survey Lowlands Map (1752-55) there is a ‘mill of Dalrichle’.

Map 1: Mill of Dalricket | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

The Ordnance Survey Name Book (1855-57) entry for Dalricket reads

A good farm house with a water mill for thrashing [threshing] attached occupied by James Kennedy, the property of Mr Ranken, Glenlogan. There was a Corn mill here at one time, but is now converted into a Thrashing [Threshing] mill

A reference to the ‘grain mill of Nith‘ can be found in a charter of 1549.

Disused Dalricket Mill | (photo Robert Guthrie )

Sadly, Dalricket Mill has not functioned as a mill for many years while the farmhouse has since been abandoned, another casualty of the opencast operations in the vicinity. The buildings sit on the south bank of the River Nith and a few hundred yards upstream the dam and sleuce once stood there to divert the water along the mill lead and onto the mill. In 2011 as part of opencast operations diversionary work was carried out on the River Nith at Dalricket in order to construct a new river channel and flood plain [3].

Map 2: Dalricket and haughland | Reproduced with the permission of The National Library of Scotland

First element: Brittonic dol- Gaelic dail ‘haugh’

Place-Name Element:dal
Meaning:1. Brittonic dol ‘haugh’
 2. Brittonic dolchurch-land
 2. Gaelic dail ‘haugh’

The now abandoned Dalricket Mill stands on the south bank of the River Nith while less than a mile upstream, on the north bank, stood Dalgig farm, now lost due to opencast operations. The haugh lands on this stretch of the Nith put the dal- in the name of both these properties. It is worth noting that unlike the other dal- names of Dalhanna and Dalleagles which have named holms, i.e. Dalhanna Holm and Dalleaglesholm there are no equivalent named holms on this stretch of the River Nith.

The challenge remains to determine if the first element of Dalricket is of Brittonic dol- or Gaelic dail- origin, which may be influenced by the origins of the second element.

Map 3: Dalgig and Dalricket | Reproduced with the permission of The National Library of Scotland

Second element: Personal name ‘Richard’

An alternative to the aforementioned Dalricket -‘field of the king’s slaughter’ and ‘dale Rheged’ emerges through consideration of the early forms of the name. Fortunately there are a number examples dating from the first half the 16th century including –

Dalrikat (1521), Dalricart (1524), Dalrechart (1532) and Ricard (1535) –

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 Blare-
ene, 2 merk lands called [Dal]Leglis, Quhithill, 2 merk lands of Chang, Litill Merk (bar
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 Corresondence, Registrum Secreti Sigili Regum Scottorum, Vol. II , No. 1681

First impression from these early forms is that –rikart, –ricart, –rechart and Ricard are all variants of the personal name Richard. W.J. Watson notes dol-, dul– place-names are ‘found not uncommonly with saints names‘ [4], however a search for a St. Richard only revealed St. Richard of Chichester!

A discussion on the Scottish Place-names Facebook Group considered possible examples of place-names of the form Dal- + Personal Name (excluding saints name). Examples included Dalpeder (Peter), Dumfriesshire and Dalmunzie (Mungo) , Perthshire although the association with saints of that name should not be overlooked. The ancient kingdom of Dalriata (Riada) may be another example. Also considered was Dalfarson in the neighbouring parish of Dalmellington (if it’s < dail a’ phearsain I.e. “parson’s haugh”) as having a non saint in it, albeit not a personal name as such. [5].

The personal name Richard, either as a first name or surname, does not immediately reveal itself in the records of New Cumnock’s ancient families.

In 1527 John Richart, is named as one of the parishioners in the election of the parish clerk of Auchinleck [6] while in 1531 Andrew Richart is names as one of the parishioners in the election of the parish clerk of Cumnock [7].

There are examples of the Richard surname in 17th century Ayrshire at Maybole and Barskimming [8] while in 1685, 80 year-old Covenanter Thomas Richard from Muirkirk was executed at Cumnock [9].

Of course the personal name Richard, as a first name, is found in Riccarton, Ayrshire some 20 miles north west of New Cumnock. Paterson [9] discusses the etymology of the place-name –

The parish is supposed to have derived its name from Richard Waleys of Riccarton, ancestor of the renowned Sir William Wallace. It is rather curious, however, if the barony derived its name from the Waleys family, that it was not called Waleyston.

New Cumnock, like many other places in Ayrshire, also has its own connection with Wallace, through the words of Blind Hary which suggest he held lands, as a crown-tenant, at Blackcraig at the head of Glen Afton [11]).

Although it has not been possible to identify the Richard of Dalricket it should also be noted that the Gaelic forms of the personal name Richard are Risteard and Ruiseart. Dalricket therefore may be Gaelic dail Risteard or Brittonic dol Richard – ‘Richard’s holm’.


Thank you to Linda Sutherland for the family photographs of Dalricket Mill. Linda’s family were in Dalricket
Personal Communication
Many thanks to Stuart Clarkson, Guelph, Ontario for information and sources associated with Craufurds of Daleglis and Leffnories which in turn refer to a host of properties in the parishes of New Cumnock and Old Cumnock including Dalricket.
[1] Reverend Robert Simpson ‘Traditions of the Covenanters’ (1867)
[2] Hugh Lorimer, F.S.A. ‘A Corner of Old Strathclyde’ (1951)
[3] CFA Archaeology, Greenburn OCCS River Nith Diversionary Works, Dalricket, New Cumnock, East Ayrshire Archaeological Watching Brief and Evaluation Report No. 1931
[4] W.J. Watson “The Celtic Place-Names of Scotland”
[5] Scottish Place-Names Facebook Group
[6] Scottish Record Society, Protocol Book of Gavin Ros (1512-1532) | No. 111
[7] Scottish Record Society, Protocol Book of Gavin Ros (1512-1532) | No. 1147
[8] James Paterson ‘History of the Counties of Ayr and Wigton, Vol. 1 Kyle part two (1871), p. 718
[9] Scottish Covenanter Memorials Association | Thomas Richard
[10] James Paterson ‘History of the Counties of Ayr and Wigton, Vol. 1 Kyle part two (1871), p. 636
[11] Robert Guthrie, New Cumnock History | Blind Hary and New Cumnock
Dalrikart (1521)Scottish Record Society, Protocol Book of Gavin Ros (1512-1532) | No. 499
Dalricart (1524)Scottish Record Society, Protocol Book of Gavin Ros (1512-1532) | No. 707
Dalrechart (1532)Scottish Record Society, Protocol Book of Gavin Ros (1512-1532) | No. 1364
Ricard (1535)Registrum Secreti Sigilli Regum Scotorum Vol. 2 (1529-1542), 1681
grain mill of Nith (1549)Register of the Great Seal of Scotland Vol. 4, (1546-1580) No. 327
Dalrickout milne (1671)Scotland’s People, Wills and Testament | Isabell Mitchell, spouse to Henry Kilpatrick, miller at Dalrickout mill, Cumnock
Dalriketmylne (1684)The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, Vol. IX (1684), p.544 Interrogations of parishioners. ‘Sarah Mudie in Dalriketmylne’
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
Map 1 |Roy’s Military Survey (1752-1755) | Mill of Dalrickle
Map 2 |OS Map (1885-1903) | Dalgig and Dalricket
Map 3 |OS Map (1858) | Dalricket
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49 | Dalricket